Friday, July 30, 2010

Children Versus Adults

Do you have nephews and nieces? do you have children between the age of 2 and 5? Do you pay any attention to how easily they're amused and how simple it is to entertain them? There's happiness in children that you can't see in adults. That happiness is always there, in their eyes, in their smiles and it's real.

Children love participating in everything, especially with the adults they live with. You say let's go to the supermarket and they scream their hearts out and declare in triumph that they're going to the supermarket. So imagine the noise they would make when you tell them that you're taking them to Disneyland or six flags. Their whole world is in the 4 walls of your house, their safety, their references, their little history. They're happy with the small back yard that you always wish it was bigger. They love the neighborhood that you keep telling yourself that it is not where you belong, it's temporary. They love the bathtub that keeps on reminding you that it's time for renovation. And they love you in all your moods, and all your looks and they really want nothing in return more than you getting down to your knees to play for a little while with them or listen to their adventures.

But what's most fascinating about children is the freedom they have. Those free spirits are wild because they don't care about the past or the future. All they care about is the moment. That's where their freedom comes from. Today they want to eat, play, rest and play and eat again. Tomorrow? oh well, tomorrow sounds like ages away. Yesterday? we fought? oh, here you go, I don't want that little car anymore, you can have it.

There's no one, children need to impress, other than mom and dad. Even those, impressing them is not a constant complicated work in progress. It's a simple gesture to get their attention. They don't have to dress up for a client, or wear a certain brand to impress the interviewer or go to a certain restaurant to be seen by certain people and get the approval of a certain "popular" society. They go anywhere, wear anything, care less about what the neighbors might or might not say. They just want to be. But then you come and domesticate those free spirits and teach them valuable lessons about life. You start using the word "wrong", "unacceptable", "SHAME" and "bad" and they learn to be less of themselves. With that powerful knowledge, they start clipping the freedom they have. Then the older they get, the less they participate in certain activities, the less they go to certain places, the less they want to eat certain kind of food, and the less they want to wear this and that color. And you wonder and even tell them "Who do you think you are! We are doing this and we are going there" but you don't remember that it's all the "appropriate" behaviors that you implanted in their circle of freedom, in their "be"ing. So the older they get, the less they participate in..... life.

It doesn't take them long before they're a copy of what we want them to be, slaves to society, blind folded and led like the rest of us to play the boring Adults" game. And it's simple, just repeat those words about "Shame" and insert more if the "Guilt" in them to play along. You take more and more of their spontaneity and tame them from wild to well behaved. And it's okay because you didn't know any better and you were brought up the same way. The constant need of being "Accepted" in your society.

But the question that made me want to go back to being a child again is, has it ever been enough? Does the "game of being an adult" ever satisfy that constant work in progress and leave us content and wanting nothing else, or do we always want more? are we ever happy and filled with joy the same way we had when we were kids? Are we ever where we want to be? Is any of it real? does any of it last?

Children, the dream of life. The look of jealousy we have when we see their happiness, knowing that it's a work of perfection.
Children, the constant reminder of what we failed in, to get a second chance to realize and achieve, only this time not in us, in them.
Children, the wild and free spirits running around us and being themselves with no shame, that make us more ashamed, not of their behaviors really, but of ourselves.
Children, an opportunity to get even with life. Let's domesticate them too.

There's a child still in you, don't domesticate your children, but reach within and un-domesticate the child in you. Set him/her free to play with the children you have. Make peace to yourself and achieve the dream of "Simplicity, Innocence, Freedom and Happiness"

"That cold morning, was the end of my mourning, for when I reached deep inside, I got in touch with the child, who whispered good morning, the snow will keep on falling, but it will make peace and turn all white" Tony Rabbat