It's interesting that this is a theme of Charlotte Mason's, as well. Charlotte Mason's emphasis is different. While Miller's emphasis is on healing the damage done in the childhood years, especially by physical and emotional violence, Mason is approaching childhood from the perspective of an educator. She looks for testimonies of childhood (for example, Tolstoy's) as a way to understand the inner life of the child so that the parent and educator will not be so likely to make avoidable blunders.
There is possibly no known field of research in which so little available work has been done as in that covered by the word 'children.' The 'fair lande' lies under our very eyes, but whoso would map it out must write 'Unexplored' across vast tracts. Thoughtful persons begin to suspect that the mistakes we make through this ignorance are grievous and injurious. ... When genius is able to lift the veil and show us a child, it does a service which, in our present state of thought, we are hardly able to appraise; and when genius or simplicity, or both, shall have given us enough such studies to generalise upon, we shall doubtless reconsider the whole subject, and shall be dismayed at the slights we have been putting upon children in the name of education.Another book that I have been reading that speaks of the importance of the childhood testimony is The Making and Unmaking of a Dullard by Thomas Edward Shields. I read about this book in Poetic Knowledge, and found it was available in public domain online, and that it is much more readable than you might expect. It is written in a dialogue form, sort of like Charlotte Mason's book Character Formation, but it seems to me slightly less dated than Character Formation with its emphasis on new psychological science and so on; the book by Shields reads more like a real conversation between interesting people, at least to me. Here's the bit about the importance of remembering childhood rather than simply reading "about" it:
"I, too, have been looking forward to this evening," said Miss Ruth. "The child has come to be the center of all educational endeavor in our day, hence it is a matter of the greatest importance to all of us who have to deal with children to be able to understand how the child looks out upon the world, to recognize the elements in his developing mind and character that are valuable and that should be cultivated, and also to be able to recognize those other elements which we should as constantly seek to eliminate.""I quite agree with you," said the Doctor, "and while it has become the fashion for teachers to read many volumes on child study, I believe that every teacher could use some of this time to greater advantage in making excursions into his own childhood. If he learns to read and understand all that he there finds he will be provided with a private key that will give him ready admission to the minds and hearts of the children who are committed to his care.
I am not far into this book yet, but already am finding it interesting. The "Doctor" is Dr Shields, the dullard who became a professor. There is also a Judge, who was notable because he became speechless for 10 years during his childhood. He was a bright child who became so stressed at school that he stopped being able to talk, even to his own family; and even into adulthood he had a stutter which he worked hard to control.
The world of childhood is one that we often put firmly behind us; I think it is partly because it is so particular, immanent and emotionally powerful compared to our adult habits of generalization, distancing and rationality. But these authors seem to argue, in very different ways and from different perspectives, the same thing that James Taylor argues in Poetic Knowledge: that adult wisdom and knowledge builds on those early, particular, emotionally charged experiences, and that we do best to acknowledge that. Parenting from the Inside Out, another book I have been rereading recently, says that one way to integrate emotion and reason is to construct a coherent autobiographical narrative. That doesn't mean, necessarily, writing it out, but he notes that people who have repressed pain from their childhood often have an incoherent or "flat" narrative. That is, a person with unresolved issues will often ramble about their childhood, skipping from one thing to another without much perspective, or they will describe objectively painful or horrifying things with an odd cheerfulness or lack of emotions or over-analysis.