Maybe some day people will create a world that doesn’t require fixing. Once things are made they would serve well. Once a man is grown up he would just live. The world would develop without even the idea of having to repair things, to correct mistakes, or to re-educate children.
We all have a natural tendency to make order. If the coverlet of a couch is messed up we tend to set it right. If the tap leaks we need to repair it. If the clock doesn’t work we need to bring it to the shop to be fixed. It seems that this rule applies to people as well: a man can be mended or fixed; we simply must try. The watch that doesn’t work correctly and a son that forgets to say “thank you” seem to us matters of the same sort.
But a man, or a child, is not an object, not a coverlet, and not a clock. He, in principle, can’t be fixed. A family is not a repair shop, and a school is not a repair service of a family’s failures. We can’t look at children as at things that require fixing.
Thousand of times I had to answer questions about upbringing, and all of them – all! – were of a repair sort: how to correct?
All my life I have never been asked: how to make?
“How to correct?” parents ask, but one and only one answer is available for that question. “No way. Leave your child alone. Let’s talk about how to make upbringing so that a child would not need to be corrected.”
They sigh. Yes, yes, of course… But it takes so long! It takes understanding and moral efforts. It takes changes in views and in parental faith…
There is the fixing approach to upbringing, to life, fixing psychology (“it’s okay if done somehow; later we can fix it”), an attitude of repairing toward a child, a genuine faith in upbringing as a permanent fix…
Let’s raise our child – whatever age he is, sixteen or eighteen – so that he would not need educational repair.
The expression “It’s never too late” is seldom applied to things, but it is the absolute truth when applied to children: it’s never too late.
Parenting For Everyone, by S.Soloveychik, Book 2 Part 1 Chapter 1