As I sit in my yoga pose searching for my zen and trying to still my mind which is trained to run parallel errands’ lists, I happen to look at the children in the playground near my home.
And I realise that as adults we are duty-bound to teach children so many things, but isn’t it amazing what children can teach us in return?
Here are some things we could all stand to learn from them.
A child knows no fear. He’ll jump two steps at a time. Always. He’ll run at the top speed his pudgy legs allow. He’ll tell you on your face if what you have cooked is tasty or not. He will call you “fat” without any malice. Children have no fear—
physiological, psychological, or social. They embrace and emit what is, as is.
The beauty of self-centredness
Children laugh for no one but themselves. They dance for pleasure and it doesn’t matter if anyone’s watching or not—or even if there’s music or not. Their universe is inside them.
Living in the moment
They do everything whole-heartedly, immersing themselves in the act, whether it’s eating, playing or horsing around. They don’t remember what happened five minutes back (unless you took away their candy and they are in the middle of a tantrum) and are not concerned about the future. The present moment is where they live. Happily. Always. Giving it their best and their all.
They feel from their heart and their happiness is pure. Simple things like a splash in the puddle, or being able to stand on their toes to press the elevator button which three months back was out of reach, or an unexpected tickle can make them happy. They don’t need materialistic things to give them joy.
Limber like a yogi
Children are born yogis. Up to the age of four, most children will naturally choose to sit in poses which also happen to be complex yoga asanas. Most of their games are stretches and bends which we adults need to perform under guidance lest we invite injury.
Children laugh straight from the belly. They can laugh till tears stream down their cheeks. They gurgle with laughter which they can’t control. It’s contagious and the most beautiful thing to witness. The silliest little thing can reduce them to giggles and they laugh umpteen times in a day. On the other hand, we adults are far more parsimonious with our mirth, which in any case is usually brought on by a WhatsApp forward or at someone else’s expense.
No concept of time
Children aren’t ever in a rush. They will kick each and every stone on their way between home and the bus stop. It’s your problem if they miss the buss, not theirs. They don’t multi-task, neither physically, nor in their heads.
Playing because it’s fun
If necessity is the mother of all inventions, then play is definitely the father. I read this in my children’s school. And how true is it! Children don’t play to win, to score, or to improve their skills. They play because it is fun to go whooshing down a slide. Maybe fall in the process. But that’s fun too.
The joy of eating
They eat because they are hungry or because they enjoy it. They don’t see an Instagram opportunity or potential Zomato rating when they look down at their plate. They’ll close their eyes with every mouthful of the ice cream as if it was their first, or their last. They will eat it with greed, with pleasure and with satisfaction.
They know how to forgive and forget
They don’t hold grudges. A minute ago they may have hated you (yes, their emotions are quite strong) for taking away the remote, but just now they love you. They don’t bring up old incidents time and again. They don’t keep records of fights. They only care how much you love them now, in this moment.
They can become anything
Children have boundless imagination! They can role play effortlessly, become a tree, a dog, weave stories, have weird names, games… the list is endless. They can imagine themselves as anything. They don’t know the concept of capabilities defining/limiting opportunities.
Magic is real
Children believe in magic with all innocence and honesty. They believe in fairies and fairytales, in superpowers and transformations. To me, magic = boundless imagination + unmoving faith—which is also the formula for success.
Children are filled with passion. Ask a toddler to describe his favourite toy, and behold his animated five-minute description. They give their all to whatever catches their fancy.
Children love purely. Not because they want something in return. Not because it is a social requirement. Not because they feel inadequate. They love because they just feel it. They don’t need to show it with fancy cards or presents but with a simple hug and an “I love you.”
As parents we are in such a rush to get over the difficult, tiring, diaper-changing, feeding and dependent years. We want our children to grow up fast. We feel we have earned the right by becoming parents to teach them everything we have garnered as wisdom and experience. But I think it should be the other way around. With children, we have an opportunity to unlearn everything that has cluttered and blocked us up. We can become free and wild again. They are the true teachers.