“The child is father of the man” is a proverb that was first used by a British poet William Wordsworth in 1802. The phrase beautifully establishes a psychological relationship between childhood and manhood of a person.
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Inference and Teachings of the Proverb (250 Words)
“The child is father of the man” is a phrase used by British poet William Wordsworth, in his poem titled “My heart leaps out”. The small poem is about his childhood fantasy and the joys that he felt on spotting a rainbow.
In the poem, Wordsworth stated that he was immensely overjoyed as a child, whenever he spotted a rainbow. He further added that this feeling has accompanied him to manhood and even as a fully grown-up man he felt the same joy on spotting a rainbow. Therefore, in a broader perspective, it could be inferred that a man is nothing but only a manifestation of his childhood thoughts and behavior. Though, philosophically it can be said that ‘the child is father of the man’.
Other Teachings of the Proverb
The proverb “The child is father of the man” teach us many more things as described below-
- The basic character that one has as an adult is most likely inherited from the childhood.
- It therefore becomes necessary to inculcate good habits and behavioral traits in a child.
- Values inculcated in the early stages of life will shape the future of a child and his conduct as a man.
- However matured a man may look, deep in the heart there is a child somewhere.
The real beauty of the phrase is that it can be used in several different contexts, yet every time, the real message remains the same. It defines a beautiful relationship between childhood and manhood.
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Meaning and Interpretations of the Phrase (400 Words)
The phrase “The child is father of the man” first appeared in a poem written by British romantic poet, William Wordsworth, in 1802. The poem was titled “My heart leaps up”.
Meaning of the Phrase
The phrase “The child is the father of the man” contains a hidden psychological message. Analyzing the poem, it appeared that, Wordsworth tried to relate his childhood joys to his adulthood. In the poem, he states that, as a child, he was joyous over spotting a rainbow; a joy that has accompanied him even during his manhood. That is, as a fully grown-up man, his heart still leaps out, when he spots a rainbow. Bottom line is that childhood is the genesis of manhood and a man inherits his qualities from his own childhood.
Since it was first written in 1802, the phrase has been used several times by people throughout the world. Though, it is used with different interpretations according to the context.
Various interpretations of the phrase are as given below-
- Basic character of a person doesn’t change with time.
The inherent character that one has as a child remains intact and is carried over to adulthood. If a child is intelligent, it is more likely that he will grow up to be an intelligent man. If a child likes traveling, then there is a strong possibility of him growing up to become a travel buff. The same applies to other aspects as well.
- The behavior of a child indicates his future conduct.
How a child behaves in present, indicates how he will behave when he grows up as a man. A shy and introvert child will grow up to become a shy and introvert man. A child, who is living amid fear and insecurity, is more likely to inherit those fears till his adulthood.
- Adulthood is nothing but a consequence of childhood habits.
Another inference of the phrase is that a man inherits his habits from childhood. For example, if a man loves swimming, and often swims; it is much possible that his affinity for swimming has been there since when he was a child.
The most popular inference of the phrase “The child is father of the man” is that – a man inherits his qualities from his own childhood. Qualities inculcated in childhood are carried over to the manhood and even to stages beyond that.