When asked about the age of his grandchildren, grandpa explained, “The doctor is five years old, and the lawyer, four”. Today, on “Children’s Day”, instead of moulding our children and grandchildren into clones like us, couldn’t we learn to be a little more like them?
Said Jesus to his disciples, “Unless you change and become like children, you will never enter heaven”. Then, pointing to a child, he added: “Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the sight of God.” Humility is the hallmark of children. Purged of ego, children think little of themselves; at most they’ll brag about daddy’s muscles or mommy’s cooking.
Children are avid learners. Psychologists tell us that children learn more quickly in the first four years of their life than at any other given time. The love and care received during childhood makes them develop a healthy sense of self and security, reaping lifelong benefits.
Children never bear grudges but forgive and forget easily. Growing up in Mumbai, an unwritten rule among all our parents was: “Do not interfere in children’s fights, for they’ll soon be friends!” Indeed, while many boyhood games ended up as boxing bouts, the next day the “fighters” would be the best of friends.
Unless scarred by violence or abuse, children are happy and hopeful — totally trusting in tomorrow while treasuring the here-and-now. Kids know how to celebrate life and love others without prejudices of class, creed or caste. Differences don’t matter; everyone is family and friend.
Let’s ask ourselves: Am I humble, receptive to learn, forgiving, trustful, happy, hopeful and untainted by toxins of manmade divides? If the answer is “Yes” there’s cause to celebrate the child within. But, if it’s a “No” on any of these counts, shouldn’t we strive to become more childlike?
The “CRY” — “Child Rights and You” — organisation provides heartrending statistics of millions of Indian children who are poor, hungry, malnourished, abused, illiterate and slog under inhuman conditions to support their families. If God is Father and Mother of all, are not these little ones my children and yours? Wednesday, November 20, is “Child Rights’ Day”. May we be proactive in advocating children’s rights, worldwide.
Chacha Nehru — whose 130th birth anniversary is celebrated today — said, “As children grow up, unfortunately, their natural freedom is often eclipsed by the teaching and behaviour of elders”. So, instead of browbeating them to be doctors and lawyers, let them be our teachers.
Nehru also said, “I may not have time for adults, but I have enough time for children”. Let’s spend “more” time with all “our” children with “less”: foodless, homeless and hopeless. May every child — including the one within you — be happy and healthy. Happy Children’s Day!...