Once upon a time there was a little person living in a magical town where everything was possible! Raindrops were pearls, rainbows were ladders, pebbles were diamonds, and sand was gold. Feathers in the wind were untold stories from faraway places. A stick – a sword, woven leaves – a crown, where a prince and a princess rule the world. This is what made childhood so special! Everything was magic and there were infinite possibilities in almost anything. With curious eyes and an excited heart, they hold in their tiny hands their fate, of becoming anyone who they want to be.
Every so often though, this gets taken away. They get jostled into society’s ways of how they should be and what they should do. Certainly for a society to function well, rituals and orderliness are needed. Discipline is a base that spurs understanding of what is right and what is wrong, an absolute necessity for growth. But then there are some whims and fancies of society for the ease of control, for grouping, for fitting in with a crowd that can possibly crush their large little souls, making them feel inadequate for no reason.
Among parents, there is judgement. Among neighbours, there can be labelling. Call it a human tendency, but children are most often quickly pocketed into names based on some of their innocent acts – ‘a bully’, ‘a fighter’, ‘a scary cat’, ‘an introvert’, ‘a spoiled brat’, ‘a cry baby’ etc etc. These labels then define them and sadly most often they make their way to those tiny tender ears and minds of the children themselves – children, who are just about, learning to know who they are. There can be a downward spiral, where they try to live up to their names, no matter if it was just one mere compulsive act that got them that name!
One of my friends recently reminded me of the proverb ‘it takes a whole village to raise a child’! And this certainly is the mind-set we need, hand-in-hand and not crossed against each other. The soil needs to be harvested with the right ingredients to get the full crop! Lots of love, compassion and patience mixed in and with encouragement and praise constantly showered; with jealousy, ridicule and shame weeded out, to give those little ones those infinite possibilities of blossoming to whomever they are meant to be and not mastered or orchestrated to be. And certainly with a protective shield to fence out the negative energy that can de-spirit and empty the life before it even has a fair chance to begin!
We need to support each other as parents, as guardians, as care takers and as educators. We need to let kids be kids. They don’t need to ‘grow up’, as this is surely a natural process that happens with time. They need to enjoy and have the full freedom to explore their passions, their world and themselves, having no worries over who is better than whom! They need recognition of their individual personalities. We need to let the shy be shy, let the social butterfly flutter away, let the thinker do the thinking, the adventurous go on adventures, the artist be creative and the only child be the only child! That space and understanding as a child surely will go far when they become well-functioning self-assured adults.
And each child comes with his own pace, rhythm and rhyme and certainly some unique magic. Above all it’s THIS magic that needs to be protected and even harnessed; the differences respected and applauded as opposed to being pushed to conform to clones.
And let us not forget – there is also magic that lies in each one of us, since we ourselves were children. This too needs to be sparked once in a while. We shouldn’t allow this magic to ever die in pursue of our everyday existence. Where then, will be the joy? There is pure joy in believing in life’s magic, the exhilaration that comes with seeing things through a child’s eyes and awareness and being awed – awed at the simplest of joys, be it sunrise or sunset! Yes! At any age, you can choose to conjure that magic!
If we can ‘grow up’ keeping that magic alive, letting our children also not lose their own magic, then I think we’ve got it. Got what it takes to get through this journey. And what a happier journey that would be!!