My kids had their friends over at home, playing board game indoors, since it was hot outside. I thought of engaging the friends of my younger one, who is about 4 years old, in some interactive games as they were creating quite a racket. I drew random figures on the board that didn’t mean anything and asked them what it was. The number of creative things they came up with had me awestruck!
I drew a red circle with tentacles on the head and a stem below it, and asked them to think of what it looked like, and this is what they had to say- scarecrow, a boy who doesn’t have hands or feet, an apple that has thorns, a candy, a girl having bad hair day, someone shot arrows at the sun, the answers stretched my thoughts to their limits!!
I repeated the game with the older lot, who were between 8 and 12 years old. The results were good, but not as creative as with the younger ones. When I was discussing it with my friends in the evening, I showed them those pictures and asked them to tell me what they thought the pictures were. The senior group had a tough time, trying to come up with even one or two things.
So what really happened? The answer is, as we grow up, we lose our child-like innocence and with it the creativity attached to it. We lose our ability to think like a child. This applies to so many aspects of our life. Let me list ten reasons, why I think not losing that child-like innocence is so important. There may be more reasons; perhaps you might be able to list a few as well. Here are my ten-
Holding grudges- Have you ever seen children hold grudges? They never do! They may be all over each other fighting and the very next moment they are friends with each other. All is forgotten and forgiven no sooner than it happens. But as adults, we cannot let go so easily. Our egos come in the way.
Fear- Kids are not afraid. They take risks because they are not worried of what lies beyond. When a father throws up his child in the air, she squeals with delight, savouring that moment of flight, she is not thinking- oh, dad will catch me and I will land safely in his arms! But think about us...we are fearful about almost everything. Has too much knowledge made us fearful? Truth happens in a state of not knowing, truth happens in innocence. When the clouds of thoughts don’t keep moving about in your sky of consciousness. Perhaps when your sky is absolutely clear!
Showing emotions- Kids cry as wholeheartedly as much as they laugh wholeheartedly. This unabashed show of emotions is actually therapeutic. We have been gradually trained to have control over our emotions, and so we cry alone, and we laugh less! How much cathartic would it be, if we could unleash our emotions as freely as kids can!!
Creativity- That I have already talked about. So next time you look at something, think like a child. You’ll be surprised at what you can come up with! Don’t look at the boundaries that will limit your potential.
Curiosity- A child, you will agree, is always curious. Their hows, and whats and whys probably drive us insane!! As annoying as they might be with their questions, they learn a lot that helps them make decisions better. But as we grow up, we lose that ability to question, and make decisions based on assumptions and presumptions! We are afraid to ask. We don’t want people to think we are stupid.
Getting what you want- Anyone who has handled a child will agree that a kid always knows how to get what he wants, he knows how to demand, and demand with all his might till he gets it!! So why do we lose that passion towards our goals, and give up easily as we grow up?
Being busy – A child is always busy with something. Isn’t that amazing? She is always occupied with one thing or the other, and when there’s nothing to do, she will make up imaginary things to play with and keep herself busy! She enjoys every moment of it too! We are busy too, but in a very different way. We are actually more occupied with our lives to notice anything else, far less enjoy any moment of it. We cannot be busy and enjoying that moment too....for us enjoyment is when we take a break from being busy.
Thinking about the future- Children simply do not think about the future, and so they are able to live in the present. Most books teach us exactly that! I know this may not go down well with so many of you, but worrying about what will happen in the future is not going to make your present better in any way!
To Love and be loved- the love that children exhibit is pure and unconditional. There is no selfishness, no adulteration, it is pure love. We always have the tag of expectations tied to the love we show. You may deny it, but think about it again. Whether it is love between a man and a woman, or between friends...expectations always come in between, the love becomes selfish, or else how do you explain the constant fights between people?
Equality – For a child, everyone is equal. They have purity of vision and heart. You try asking that to a child, who is your favourite, mom or dad? In all probability, she will say both! You look at her circle of friends, it doesn’t matter if they are fair, dark, fat, skinny, differently-abled, it never makes a difference to them. To us grownups, everything matters. We make choices differently, we differentiate, and we create walls.
There is a lot of power in innocence. The feeling of helplessness is often our safeguard. With their innocence, kids teach us to be happy for no reason. Knowledge should teach us to be smart, but not to give up our innocence.