Our child is Our Teacher
Encouraging adults to think and behave like children as a psychological tool can sometimes be used to teach them to fully live life and let go of the various problems we sometimes cannot handle or wish to escape. There are various reasons for this. Children are innocent, pure and determined to get what they want. They have a focus and an infectious enthusiasm that can put life into morbid adults who are tired of how phony the world is. Children are blunt and non-judgmental and immerse themselves in life. They have a fearless attitude towards the future or towards uncertainty but are scared of the dark or imaginary ghosts etc. Parents often find strength from the consolation their kids give them. It is as if they are parenting us to be strong and self-confident.
Children have a curiosity and desire to understand things the way they wish to. They have unflinching faith in us, their parents and teach us the value of supreme faith, child-like trust in our own belief system be it God or ourselves. In other words, their simple trust teaches us to stop doubting and is one very important lesson from our scriptures to end self-doubt. The Gita says doubt is the biggest enemy of man. The Bible says doubt ushers in depression and then the Devil into our life. So the mental strength and will power to accomplish something requires faith. This is one amazing quality of children to console parents with their innocent but very strong faith. Their desire to help is beautiful for it is self-less.
Honesty and truth are other virtues that children have. Adults lie, gossip and feel insecure all the time. A popular advertisement shows a child sharing his biscuits with another child who finds a gold coin inside the packet and gives it away to the rightful owner (despite his mother getting tempted not to return the gold coin). The certainty of finding free gifts inside biscuit packets is not there but the statement made is very clear. Children do not covet money or valuables that belong to someone else. They do take what is not theirs because a child does not understand the concepts of private ownership. He/she feels that everything belongs to everyone in their simple idealistic hearts that believe in equality and freedom and justice.
Children have another quality that is mesmerizing. They are always in the now, and a fight with their best friend today will be erased tomorrow. A boy and a girl, both aged 7 are playing on the sea-shore. The girl builds a sand-castle when the naughty boy kicks it and breaks it. The girl is heart-broken and cries. The boy tries to make up to her but the small girl remains angry for a while. The boy then builds another sand-castle for both of them. He tries to coax the girl to stop being angry. She laughs and their fight is over when she too kicks and demolishes his sand-castle. Both children then start laughing.
Children do not dwell too long in the past. They know that the sand is going to get washed away in the waves and so they play, fight and make up without any guilt or regrets or any of the psychological emotions we go through. We have to look towards the scriptures or try and meditate to understand the transience of this world and the impermanence of man and stone. Children are born with this knowledge. They are truly our teachers, if we let them be.