Being a child is entirely different from being childish. Often most children behave like mature adults and a majority of adults are down right childish in their beliefs, opinions and behaviour.
All said and done, child is the Father of Man. This Wordsworthian wisdom is often touted as an ornamental quotation but never thoroughly explored or understood.
What are the attributes of a child?
Every child is breathtakingly beautiful. The beauty of the child stems from the perfect harmony of the body, mind and soul. Somewhere along, the mind is lost through fallacy and the soul crippled through irrational beliefs. No doubt adults by comparison look uglier than children.
To be a child, an adult has to have mindfulness and soulfulness. One should remember that like the body, both mind and soul are prone to pollution. The Child’s beauty pours forth from the sheer purity of mind and soul. A child treats humans as humans. He is not yet corrupted by the lures of power and hierarchy.
A child is always alert, restless, curious and exploring the ambience of existence. He has questions and wants answers. Not just any answers, only logically satisfying answers. He has an open mind and all his five senses work overtime as input consoles, and his brain, the super computer continuously records the data.
The child does not accept all data as true, he expresses doubts, thinks about the inconsistencies and contradictions and validates his data only after his doubts are satisfied properly. The child is a good listener. Because of limited vocabulary, the child is brief, focused and clear in his speech.
Sometimes the child is brutally frank. Not yet shackled by inhibitions, protocol, code of social conduct, he gives free vent to his emotions. He has no adverse hiccups arising out of suppressed emotions and concealed feelings.
A child is always honest and transparent. Oliver Wendell Holmes observed, “ Pretty much all the honest truth – telling there is in the world is done by children”.
The child enjoys whatever he does, little pranks, play, and even learning. The child is always alive and observant. The child’s first response in any human transaction is affection. No doubt, he is the Father of Man.
Somewhere in our evolution into adulthood, the child is lost forever, though a bit of childishness is retained. Yes, all of us ought to learn a lot from the child. Best is to be like children. How simple? But as difficult as a reversal of evolution! Most of us prefer to go back to an earlier evolutionary phase when monkeying with life becomes a religious ritual.