When you are a child, you take your life for granted. You know of no other kind of life; you assume all lives are lived like your own. If you have happy parents, all your playmates do. If your father strikes you, all fathers strike their children. If your parents are white, all parents are white. If you have enough to eat, all children do.
If you are only allowed to whisper when your mother or father is in the room, all children are subject to the same rule. If you spend your Saturdays cleaning the corners of the house, where the walls meet and dust gathers, then all children must have these tasks to perform. If your home has no books, no home has books. If you spend one and a half hours at Sunday school each week, then so do your friends. If your pastor scares you so that you sometimes cry silently, inside your head, then it must be so with all pastors.
If the only book you find in your home besides a Bible is a worn paperback book in the drawer of your father’s bedside table called The Lustful Professor, then all fathers have secret reading. If this book is confusing and strange, then all books are such.
If you find a friend who is as lonely and isolated as you are, then all children find such saviours. If you come to understand that your life is not the same as other children, then all children learn to rise above the circumstances of their life.
And if you want your voice to be heard, so do all the people in all the world.
- Image: “The Difficult Lesson”,1884. Bouguereau.