“Now, Tabaqui knew as well as anyone else that there is nothing so unlucky as to compliment children to their faces.”
– Rudyard Kipling, “The Jungle Book”
Somehow, this is the first time I am reading “The Jungle Book.” That quote jumped out from the second page, highlighting the differences in parenting from the 1890s, when it was written and published, to now when every child is a special unique snowflake. Perhaps English children are still protected from excessive compliments, but I doubt it.
Books written years and centuries ago are such wonderful repositories for the common thought of the time, especially ones such as this that were written to teach children lessons. Even this lesson is multi-layered: it reinforces common thought that too many compliments will lead to inflated self-esteem, but it also reminds the children listening or reading that they may be receiving compliments, even when they never hear them, and to not give up hope.