This is an excerpt from Christina Schwarz's article in the April 2011 issue of The Atlantic --- Leave Those Kids Alone - Childhood is more than merely a springboard to adulthood.
But childhood is not just preparation for “real life,” it’s a good portion of life itself. If the golden years of childhood are from age 3 to 12, they encompass more than twice the time people spend in what is generally regarded as a focal point of life: the college years. As Smith’s memoir demonstrates, childhood—those first, fresh experiences of the world, unclouded by reason and practicality, when you are the center of existence and anything might happen—should be regarded less as a springboard to striving adulthood than as a well of rich individual perception and experience to which you can return for sustenance throughout life, whether you rise in the world or not. Children have a knack for simply living that adults can never regain. If they’re allowed to exercise it a bit, perhaps they’ll have childhoods, like Smith’s, worth remembering.