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‘The child is father of the man’ – Wordsworth

Wordsworth venetrated childhood. He saw a deep meaning and mystery in it. He formulated the view that ‘ the child is father of the man‘.  When he say this, he means that “the childhood shows the man as morning shows the day“. In other words he means that all those qualities and talents which we find in grown up man may be supposed to be latent in the child. The future tree is there in the sprout, so the future man is there in the child. The bent of mind of a child, his love for certain thaings, his tastes, interests, sympathies, his likes and dislikes all tell us beforehand what sort of man he is going to be. All great persons showed sign oftheir future greatness in their childhood.

The boy Napoleon building forts of snow or storming or defending them became the greatest general of France. The child Nelson who never knew fear became a fearless and courageous admiral. Shivaji’s childhood tells us the same story.  But there is exception to this rule. Georfe Bernard Shaw was ahopeless child at school. Mahatma Gandhi as a boy wasn’t remarkable for anything.

But these exception should not be given undue importance. Sad influence, bad examples and bad surrounding may hamper the mental growth of a child and it may grow up with a strange twist. Hence an attempt should be made to give the child proper guidance and encouragement. We should remember, “As the twig is bent, so the tree will grow.” We should, therefore, not impose our design of life on a child. On the other hand, we should carefully guide and foster the child’s talents and inclinations.

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