I’M AFRAID OF DYING BEFORE I PROVE THAT I’M SOMEBODY.
—TYONDRA NEWTON, A TEENAGER RAISED IN FOSTER HOMES
ONE OF THE clearest indications that we are—at least in some areas— already moving toward the dignitarian ideal is the remarkable evolution of child-rearing practices that has occurred since the 1960s. Well into the twentieth century, “Because I say so” was considered reason enough for forcing a child to submit to almost anything. But over the last several generations we have moved from children being “seen but not heard” toward an increasing parity between the young and their elders—not in knowledge or experience, of course, but in their status as persons.
“Kids are people, too” is the slogan ...