Gracy Olmstead writing on “raising babies in adult land,” or roughly speaking the effects of age segregation:
There are certain virtues that kids seem especially gifted to grow in us: patience and longsuffering are perhaps the first two that spring to mind (and they’re two virtues our society often sorely lacks), but there’s also generosity, gentleness, compassion, creativity, and many others. Of course we can learn many of these in the workplace, amongst family and friends—but children challenge and foster these virtues through their specific strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps the reason parents seem so timid around non-parents is because they know their child will be demanding these strangers to display their hidden, perhaps rusty virtues.
When I look into the faces of my brothers, hear what piques their curiosities, and engage with each of them over the course of a day, I see a deeper humanity in them than I notice in most peers.
It’s cliched to say that children teach us as much as we teach them. Maybe it’s better to say that children remind us of forgotten things, what Olmstead calls those rusty virtues.