February 10, 2011

Child-like Simplicity

When I was a kid, it struck me as odd that adults would frequently ask what I "wanted to be when I grew up".

"Uh," I would think, "do I really need to declare that now? At age 8?" I wish I knew about J. Krishnamurti when I was in grade one. He said, "We all want to be famous people, and the moment we want to be something we are no longer free." If I could have quoted that when the teacher asked me 'what I wanted to be when I grew up' I could have expressed what I was feeling inside.

I could have used a good quote back then when I found out that there were 'right' and 'wrong' answers to the Big Question. Anyone answering in the wrong way would elicit peals of laughter from fellow students, and often the teacher as well. Laughable answers would be anything out of the mainstream. If I had yelled out, "I just want to be free," that probably would have done it.

What I wondered though, was what was wrong with what I already was - happy, contented, and free. That was what I wanted to be when I grew up.

We shouldn't ask kids to limit their boundless creativity, to needlessly complicate the simple the beautiful, and the innocent. We can choose to let them be free. To let them enjoy being what they already are.

If we allow our children to keep it simple, all the other stuff will resolve itself without worry. And if we are open to it, along the way the children will help us to understand life once again. They are models of simplicity.
"If my heart can become pure and simple like that of a child, I think there probably can be no greater happiness than this."   - Kitaro Nishida 

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