Pediatrician Dr. Benjamin McLane Spock (1903-1998) was the parenting expert who "raised the baby boom generation and changed America," praised U.S. News & World magazine.
His famous book, Baby and Child Care (1946), which gave parents soothing words of practical advice, has sold nearly 50 million copies, with over 40 translations.
"In automobile terms," he advised, "the child supplies the power but the parents have to do the steering."
Born on this day in New Haven, Connecticut, the 6'4" Spock obtained his medical degree from Columbia University, then opened a private practice in New York in the middle of the Depression. Few could pay for his services, he barely covered expenses, but became known for his compassionate and kind bedside manner.
"Don't be afraid to kiss your baby when you feel like it," Dr. Spock urged, contradicting the time's existing child-rearing philosophy which he saw as "condescending, scolding, or intimidating."
Writing with a down-to-earth style, Spock advised parents to have flexible schedules and show plenty of affection. He honored the innate wisdom of parents... and child.
"Don't take too seriously all that the neighbors say. Don't be overawed by what the experts say," he wrote. "Don't be afraid to trust your own common sense.... You should not take too literally what is said in this book."
In 1967, the world famous pediatrician resigned from his position at the University of Cleveland to spend more time as a passionate member of the pacifist movement. Throughout his life, he remained an advocate for positive child development.
"Respect children because they're human beings and they deserve respect, and they'll grow up to be better people."
Trust that you know enough to find the solutions you need.