Posted by: Roseann Murphy | March 7, 2011

Magda Gerber’s Keynote Speech at the 1995 RIE Conference

We are so proud to continue to publish Magda’s work via the Little River School Online Blog.  This short article was published in the Educaring, Fall of 1996. It is meant for parents and caregivers

Excerpts From…..


Magda Gerber’s Keynote Speech at the 1995 RIE Conference

Many years ago, I read an article entitle, “The Joys and Sorrows of Parenthood,” which I thought was very well written.  It summarized trends in child rearing this way:

  • 1910’s – Spank them,
  • 1920’s — Deprive them,
  • 1930’s — Ignore them,
  • 1940’s –  Reason with them,
  • 1950’s — Love them,
  • 1960’s – Spank them lovingly.  That’s the time when parents would say, “It hurts     me more than it hurts you.”  To me, that was the worst.  All the other things I can accept better, but someone hits a child and says, “It hurts me more than it hurts you,” my answer would be, “then don’t do it.”
  • 1970’s—The hell with them.
  • 1980’s—Let’s not have them.

What do we say in the 1990’s?  “Let’s try again?”  “Listen to them?”  “Let’s send them to day care?”  “Let’s respect them?”  What does it mean to “respect” them?  Don’t abuse them?  You know it is not only physical abuse, there’s also an enormous amount of mental abuse going on.  When a child needs something and we do not pay attention, to a degree, that’s abuse.   Now this is a subject we could spend a whole day talking about, how not to abuse children!

How many of you are training people to be with children?  What can you do?  How can you prepare people?  “See what happens,”  is a wonderful way of thinking.  So many times we find out we don’t need to intervene because things resolve themselves if we wait and see what happens.

Why is it the world’s most difficult profession to be a parent?  For one thing, it is forever.  You think it is only with young children.  But I can tell you, I have grown-up grandchildren and after a phone call, when they tell me something, I have learned not to say anything, but do I feel!  It is forever, and it is so terribly important .  Often things we do or we don’t do, it is not as important as being a parent.  Also, it is the most guilt-producing occupation.  When ever something  doesn’t go perfectly, we remember that three years ago, when the children needed us the most we went to the opera instead.

So, how can we help the world and train good educarers?  By treating people the way you want them to treat the baby.  Is it easy?  No!  It is easier to  say the words than to consistently treat people with respect.  Is it important to keep trying?  Yes!


(This article ended with Magda’s signature.)


Post by: Roseann Murphy



  1. This is a great one, thanks.


    • Erica, Thank you so much for your continued support. Kind Regards, Roseann and Magdalena


  2. I´m so happy I found your site! I´ll keep reading and post my comments. Thank you so much for all what you share. Love,


    • Thank you Fernanda, for reading our blog your comments are always welcome. Gracias por comunicarte.
      – Magdalena


  3. Kia ora and thank you for sharing your knowledge. I am a Mother of two and a student studying ECE in New Zealand. I’m keen to learn more about the Pikler and Gerber philosophy’s. I find so much inspiration in what I have learned so far. I will keep visiting your site.
    Nga mihi mahana (warm greetings)


    • Maria, Thank you so much for your kind words. We look forward to your continued comments. We will post a Short speech that Magda gave in 1995. We hope you will read it and comment as well. Welcome to the Little River Blog and we hope wyou will join us on our facebook page and follow us on Twitter. Kind regards, Roseann and Magdalean


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: