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A Child’s Petition by Janusz Korczak

Updated: May 31, 2019

Janusz Korczak (1878-1942) was an educator, doctor, social worker, pedagogue, writer of novels for children and most important of all, defender of the rights of children.

He called for an understanding of the emotional life of children and urged that children be respected.

A child was not to be regarded as something to be shaped and trained to suit adults, but rather as someone whose soul was rich in perception and ideas, who should be observed and listened to within his or her own autonomous sphere.

"A Child’s Petition" inspired by Janusz Korczak's texts

  1. Do not spoil me. I know very well I should not have all I demand. I am just trying to challenge you.

  2. Do not be afraid of firmness. This is just what I need - a sense of security.

  3. Do not ignore my bad habits. Only you can help me fight evil while it is still possible.

  4. Do not make me a bigger child than I am. It leads me to adopt a silly, adult-like pose.

  5. Do not reprimand me in the presence of other people unless it is absolutely necessary. I care much more about what you say if we talk face to face.

  6. Do not protect me from consequences. Sometimes it is good to learn about painful and unpleasant things.

  7. Do not tell me that the mistakes I make are sinful. It threatens my sense of values.

  8. Do not worry too much when I say I hate you. You are not my enemy, it is just your overwhelming superiority.

  9. Do not pay too much attention to my minor ailments. Sometimes I use them to attract your attention.

  10. Do not grump. Otherwise I have to defend myself against you and stop listening.

  11. Do not make promises that cannot be kept I feel terribly surpressed when nothing comes of it all.

  12. Do not forget that I find it difficult to express my thoughts precisely. That is why we do not always understand each other.

  13. Do not check my honesty with obsessive persistence. Too easily, fear forces me to lie.

  14. Do not be inconsistent. It stupefies me and then I lose all my faith in you.

  15. Do not reject me when I torment you with questions. It may soon turn out that instead of asking you for explanations, I will look for them somewhere else.

  16. Do not convince me that my fears are stupid. They simply are there.

  17. Do not make yourself a pristine ideal. This image of you would be unbearable in the future. Do not imagine that you will lose authority apologizing to me. If we play fair, I can thank you with love you have not even dreamed about.

  18. Do not forget that I love all kinds of experiments. It's just my way taking life, so turn a blind eye to it.

  19. Do not be blind and admit that I am growing too. I know how hard it is to keep my pace in this gallop but do what you can to make a success.

  20. Do not be afraid of love. Never.

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