When I recently met with Shirley Temple Black, thegreat child star of the 1930s and 40s, we saidnothing to each other at first, we simply criedtogether, for she could share a pain with me thatonly others like my close friends Elizabeth Taylor andMcCauley Culkin know.
I do not tell you this to gain your sympathy but to impress upon you my first important point: It is not just Hollywood child stars that have suffered from a non-existent childhood. Today,it's a universal calamity, a global catastrophe. Childhood has become the great casualty ofmodern-day living. All around us we are producing scores of kids who have not had the joy,who have not been accorded the right, who have not been allowed the freedom, or knowingwhat it's like to be a kid.
Today children are constantly encouraged to grow up faster, as if this period known aschildhood is a burdensome stage, to be endured and ushered through, as swiftly as possible.And on that subject, I am certainly one of the world's greatest experts.
Ours is a generation that has witnessed the abrogation of the parent-child covenant.Psychologists are publishing libraries of books detailing the destructive effects of denying one'schildren the unconditional love that is so necessary to the healthy development of their mindsand character.