Sunday, June 16, 2013

Lessons from a little girl

Very recently, I was on a plane, an experience I always enjoy (notwithstanding the process of getting into, and out of, the plane). I always hope for non-intrusive, relaxed passengers to have taken the seats surrounding mine, but this time I found myself sandwiched between the window and a cute little girl of around 5 years.

Unlike a great many number of people, specially around my age, I am always fascinated by, and fond of, children, their behavior a serious food for both mind and soul. Thus, I found myself in a figurative gold mine of observation and reflection.

The first thing that always hits you about kids is the persistent curiosity, because we are all curious about somethings, but when we find an answer we stop right there. We don't think about alternative answers or the question that the very answer produced in the first place. I suppose childhood is the time when you get continuously disappointed by answers that are less than your ambitions of the magic that might be behind the question, eventually just killing curiosity altogether.

The second thing that can be observed is the boldness. When a child wants something, s/he doesn't attempt to sugarcoat it, nor use any form of polite or small talk; a demand is a demand. For a kid, there is no shame of wanting what you want or asking for any form of help. The type of person being asked, whether his/her tongue local or foreign, is black or white, male or female, young or old are not even considered.

Thirdly, and most importantly, is the mindless happiness. For no apparent reason, children are just happy little people, always finding something entertaining. If there is nothing shown on TV, they just imagine things: being a princess, meeting cartoon characters, flying a jet, fighting evil forces or whatever, it doesn't matter. All that matter's is that they are carelessly happy - creating happiness if it isn't around them.

The when, how and why of losing all these magnificent abilities are of little importance when compared to how we can get them back. The innocence and brilliance of childhood, its unknowing honesty, where you don't even consider on whether the information to be passed should be a truth, a half-truth or a lie, and its knowing, sheepish, bad lies; these are all priceless traits.

How much do we compare ourselves to others? How much do we lie? How much do we sneakily wrap up demands in ridiculous conversations? How many times do we find ourselves sad & depressed for reasons stupefyingly meager? How often do we look at the past and float in it for a while to escape reality?

Why do we stop asking questions? Why do we stop answering old questions? Why do we not imagine half as much as we used to? Why do we care about what others think about us? Why do we care so much about material? Why don't we have as much fun? Why does so much of our fun need effort to be produced? Most important of all: why all the drama?

In all truth, we need more childhood in both our characters and personalities. Thank you, little girl. I needed the metaphorical slap.

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