“My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky
So was it when my life began
So its it now I am a man
So be it when I shall grow old or let me die|
The child is father of the Man
And I could my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.”
Those words came from the renowned poet, William Wordsworth. What he meant probably was that everyone’s mature imagination faintly follows out the traces of the childish fancies and wonder visions. Everyone loves to look at a child. We are inadvertently drawn towards a child and its actions. Also everybody loves to look young. Why do we like children? And like then so much? Good question. Let’s try to seek answers on this. Childhood has been described as the period of human life-
(1) Between idiocy of infancy and folly of youth.
(2) Removed from the sin of manhood.
(3) Away from the remorse of age.
A child is a child, be it an American, a European, an Asian or African.
Children are innocent, pristine and beautiful souls in the garden of the Almighty. They have yet not been schooled into the hatredness and differences of sex, caste, creed, color, race or nationality. Their minds know no barriers, no borders and no languages; they understand and speak just one language-of love.
Nothing can escape a child’s guileless love- that equalizes all whether rich or poor, worthy or unworthy.
And mind you, this is one selfless, pure and virgin love… ever spontaneous and comforting; transcending all boundaries-real or virtual. But as the transition from a child to full adulthood is made this ‘lovely’ love tends to get overshadowed by almost too rapid a growth of a competitively trained adolescent intellect. As a child grows up, we say the child is gaining maturity. But at the same time it is loosing the qualities like innocence, purity of soul and selflessness. It is a known fact that with power and knowledge comes ego and in the growing process the child tends to become egoistic.
Looking at a child gives us immense joy. We just look at a child playing by itself and lo! Our lips crackle and a grin they blow! Isn’t it? A child gets as much joy and pleasure from a pack of cards costing 100 rupees as it does when looking at a worm in the garden. Children have ceaseless imagination power … unbounded, unhalted. I remember a short story.
A mother once brought in her home a little boy as a companion to her son. But the boy she had brought happened to have a hunchback. She cautioned her son not to mention the disability/handicap to the boy while playing. As the kids were playing, she overheard her son utter-“Do you know what you have got on your back? The companion was embarrassed, lot lot embarrassed but before he could speak a word, the lady’s son said. It’s a box in which your wings are… and some day God is going to cut it open and then you’ll fly away and be an angel.
You see, that’s a child’s imagination, free and positive.
We often see children hopping up and down the stairs and deriving great ecstasy from the act, which to us seems completely senseless and non-required. That’s where we lose to the kids! We can never predict a child’s thoughts. We grow up and we learn to be ‘exact’ and ‘proper’.
In fact our lives are so complicated or rather we complicate the things that we forget the basic essence of life. Most of the time we are so busy ‘existing’ that we forget ‘living’! A mere look at a child teaches us how to live. How to be busy yet stress free; how to be happy without any reason and how to demand something with all our might! The BOTTOMLINE- how to ‘live’ and not just ‘exist’.
At this moment, I recall another incident. An overworked businessman came home one night, hoping to read the evening newspaper in peace. But his son wanted attention. Tearing into pieces, a part of the paper which had a world map on it; the father gave it to his son and told him to put the map together. In 10 minutes, his son returned, the task completed. Since the boy had no idea of geography, the man wondered how it was done. The paper had the picture of the man on the other side. All I did “, said the boy-“was to put the man right. When I did, the world came out right!”
Famous words! I agree. And easier said than done. But you see what great moral the boy preached! A child’s perspective is innate and unique. A mere utterance of the boy made his father realize and marvel at his son’s words. Really! Sometimes children teach us enormous things.
Their innocence, non-hypocritical persona, far- fledged pure imagination, truthfulness and honesty teach the grown up amazing things! A child never faces pangs of jealousy or manipulation. He never does a thing to impress others but does what he feels happy doing.
We can never build those lovely designs and architecture that children build using building blocks. Can we? Coz we never have time and patience for such a game. It seems a monotonous game coz we are used to leading monotonous lives in this multifaceted world. Life to us seems a chore while to a child; it’s an unending journey of discovery.
Focus- another of a child’s trait. It’s a common sight in homes, a mother calling out to her son for lunch while the child is busy dismantling a car or catching a butterfly. Nothing can divert the child. It is said-“Once a man, twice a child”. You know, experiences of childhood build a man. It is even said that at some decisive points in life, we must let the child within us decide; half the complexities are already resolved.
Prahalada and Hiranyakashyapa’s mythological tell-tale teaches us that elders sometimes walk on examples left by children.
Children are quick learners too and great actors! Ever noticed the various facial gestures, that convey all they want to impart. Moreover a child has the power to make elders work on its whims. This unique power rests only with the kids, not us.
When a man becomes old, he takes the help of a child to walk. Children are ever supplying source of strength and inspiration for all. Their curious and expecting eyes hugs inspiration for al. Their curious eyes sometimes inspire elders to leave bad habits too like smoking or drinking.
So, a child has all the power to drive a man. We say children are immature. How? Where? When?
Children toh… teach us the true meaning of life na? They are ever-tending sea of love and affection. Their tiny hands become our lathi in old age while their sparkling eyes inspire us to achieve the best for them in our youth. Their cute smile dissolves all our tensions without any need of comforting words. Their existence gives meaning to our lives. Then how do we say that wiser are men and not children.
Every year 14th of Nov comes and goes we talk up to great lengths about celebrating childhood, its spirit, its power, its enthusiasm but, things never really get materialized.
Come let’s do this just once!
Break the rules once and think out of the box. Shed our inhibitions and dance like a child. Look into things with a child’s vision and realize-‘everything, everyday is a discovery’. Realize, that we do not always get what we want; instead, we ought to be thankful for what we have. Live in the present and treasure each moment.
Take time off to appreciate nature. Let our hearts do the thinking sometimes and love anyone, anything -unconditionally. We’ll feel the change.
It is said that a men never bends his head but, in front of a child. Of course. He has to. Afteall, it’s a child’s wisdom that steers a man’s life. After all, “child is the father of Man.”