Lessons to Learn from a Child

By Christina Kim - June 02, 2014

The little boy ran around the living hall, chuckling to himself all the way as he seems to have lost himself in his own imaginary little world. His mother called out to him, telling him to stop and sit down beside her as they are in someone else's home and he should behave himself. 
He gave his mother a cheeky little smile, and continued running. 
His mother then got up from the sofa, excused herself and put her hands on her hips to signal to her son that she is in a serious mode.
The little boy then stopped running, and stood at the other end of the hall; in a seemingly staring match with his mother. There was a glint in his eye, and as his mother took the first step, he ran in the opposite direction and tried to hide behind the couch. Before his mother could call out to him, he slipped behind the couch and fell, knocking his head softly against the side of the couch but he landed on his knees. He did what a three year-old would do, and started crying.
His mother rushed to his aid, and comforted him, while softly telling him that he should have been more careful and at the same time, rubbing his knee caps as he wails loudly.
His mother then looked at him, then tickled him, and he started laughing, forgetting all about the pain earlier and then he couldn't stop laughing as he wiggled to get out of his mother's arms.
In an instant, he was on his feet again and he started running around the living hall and now, extending his venture to behind the couch; that very spot he fell down as I looked with much amusement.

This must be such a common scene we have seen many times, and perhaps went through that very same scenario when we were at that age though we might not remember it anymore.
The boy and his mother was our visiting relatives who came to our house a while ago, and I remembered smiling at the little boy's antics and also his unceasing energy levels as he ran around the whole house countless times. He fell down a couple of times, as his bare feet frictions with the smooth marble floor but he got up, chuckled a little and then got up again, continuing with his run as though nothing happened. The major fall was in the scene above where he almost knocked his own teeth out, but thankfully, he just bruised his knees and some parts of his arms and legs and also his forehead. That was when he actually cried out, wailing loudly, but then in less than a minute, he stopped and laughed.

I was amazed that he could heal so quickly, as I watched him fell, and it was not exactly a minor fall for a kid his age but just a tickle and he could forget the incident which caused him pain, and the best part was, as he got up on his feet to run again, he even boldly went around the couch which was the main culprit for his mishap and ran around that area.

We were all like that at that age, and we definitely have all been through the stage of childhood where we wailed and moaned when things do not go our way; something which we have grown accustomed to and were slowly growing out of since the day we were born. We can get away with crying when we were just a baby, and then when we do it 2-3 years later, we realized, "Hey, I am not getting it" and Mummy and Daddy would even give us a stern look in return. We learnt from that and then we moved on to other ways to get what we want. We start to learn to ask politely, and we learn that no means there is no chance of getting our desire.

We went through our own learning process, along with tips and teachings from our parents; but the experiences taught us more about what works and what doesn't in life. A hot kettle burns our hands, a puddle of water on the floor can cause one to slip, fall and hurt ourselves, too much chili sauce can make the food too hot for consumption, and prickly thorns do prick (ouch!), and the list goes on. We have gone through these experiences by our very own rounds of tests and trials as we learnt our lessons; sometimes by defying the advices given by the elders.
The key is, we Learn from each and every little thing that happened to us since the day we were born.
Our tests and trials have led us through the early tastes of successes and failures; and the spirit to strive on even when we fail. It is as simple as ABC, and a child can tell you easily so.

Then why is it easy for us to accept our failures at a young age, and learn to move on, but it seems like a mission impossible as we grow older? Is it because we stopped learning, or we are just in denial? There are a lot of things which could contribute to this; from our upbringing to our living environment, past experiences, achievements, pride, peer pressure and social expectations, just to name a few which bring us to our very own mental state we are in today. It is interesting still, but it is also baffling at the same time that we tend to forget what we used to learn when we were children.

We fall onto the floor, probably bruising or injuring ourselves; but after the tears dried up and a few words of reprimand from our parents, we get up and leave the incident behind us. However, as adults, we fall along the way, but then it becomes more and more difficult to get up each time and sometimes, some of us will just opt to give up and remain in that fallen position for some time, or even choose to be in that position. There is no longer any spirit to strive or to even attempt to get up. It could be a bad experience; or a really traumatizing episode, which can be nothing compared to a child's really bad fall and is not subject to anyone's judgment in any way. However, turn the situation around and be like child, if you were to have a really bad fall which hurts, so very badly; with serious bleeding and stitches or even hospitalization, what happens next?
The child would definitely cry, develop a phobia but then in the company of friends and families, they would then hope to recover and remember that incident. It was a lesson learnt, but when they heal, they would get on with their lives.

It is a precious lesson in life; and it is something which I see that is so simple in a child's mind.
A child perceive a complex situation as simple, but as adults we choose to perceive a simple situation as complex and it is just so perplexing. The reason is simple; we have developed boundaries along the way while a child is still learning the ropes in their early stages of life.
I remembered a famous speaker, whom I once attended his training; shared this analogy and experiment which he tried with us.

He gave us a piece of white paper, and then told us to focus on the slides he was about to present on the projector. The slide would go on for a minute or so, and after it is shut off, we have to draw the objects we saw on the slide. There were only two slides; and the first was a bunch of mixed geometric objects which were scattered around the entire slide. The second showed three rows of geometric objects, placed in a neat and organized manner according to the types.
Needless to say, everyone did better with the second slide; while the former ended with only a few objects caught on paper. The surprising thing is that the speaker revealed to us; the children below 5 years of age, did much better with the first slide.

The reason is; children think freely and there are no boundaries at a young age. These boundaries are slowly introduced into our mind as we grow older; and these boundaries refer to the rules, the rights and the wrongs, the morals, and all the lessons. Young children never cared about the rules; all they loved was to imagine all the wonders and also conjuring images of all sorts of possibilities. It is a world where fantasy and magic works for them. There are just simply endless possibilities to what could possibly happen in their world. As adults, we start learning the ropes, and the result? We start to create invisible walls; and limitations to the things which can be done. It is not wrong either, but sometimes, are we simply creating too much excuses for things which cannot be done or just being mere pessimists?

Two children were playing with each other; when suddenly one of them snatched the toy away from the other which result in the owner of the toy to cry and wail. The parents reprimanded the first child who took the toy, and he bowed his head in shame, but still refused to return the toy; causing the second child to cry even louder. The parents exercised a more harsh tone, threatening to punish the boy, and the first boy shed light tears; reluctantly returning the toy to the second girl, who took the toy swiftly and is instantly subdued. The first boy started crying softly, and turned his back on the girl, refusing to speak to her. The second girl turned her back too, ignoring the boy whom she know was wrong. The parents told the boy to apologize to her, and he refused at first. When the parents pacified him again, he then turned and said, "I am sorry I took your toy". The little girl, then turned, and with a big smile, "It's okay, let's share and play together, and not fight, okay?" 
They then shake hands, and burst into laughter, and continued playing with each other like nothing ever happened before.

Children can be such forgiving creatures; they easily forget and forgive each other.
While the first scenario was about forgetting the bad experiences, this second scenario depicts the nature of children in forgiving and letting go of wrong doings. They learn to admit their mistakes, and to apologize sincerely, and to learn to accept apologies, forgive the mistakes and then be friends again. It is again, just another simple thing to the children. They will never keep their resentment for long, and will instead choose to bury the hatchet for things to move on, so that they can enjoy playing together. They want their playmate, and they love the fun times; so they choose to just ignore the bad times.
If you have watched children play before, you definitely know that the above scenario of wailing and fighting is a recurring cycle and there is no stop to it, but they always make it up to each other.
So, why is it any different when we grow up and become adults?
Do we forgive, forget and move on easily?
Do we accept the fact that we make mistakes, own up to it and make it up for our faults?
Do we accept our failures, and learn the lessons from our failures and then choose to get up and rebuild ourselves, moving away from the past and looking forward to the future?
Do we remember all these lessons we learnt as a child?

We do not; instead we choose to dwell on our failures, our mistakes, others' mistakes, our past and things we cannot change.
We do not look forward to new, but often focus on things that had happened and brood over the history.
We hold grudges; no longer forgiving others, even to the extent of lifetime resentment despite going to churches and temples and saying our prayers every week which often preach on the importance of forgiveness.
We are no longer looking at the wide possibilities that are open out there in the world, but we constantly stay fixated on the black dot of impossibility and think of all the barriers which we would face to achieve something.
We make mountains out of mole hills, and we look at everything in a more complicated manner.

Perhaps it is good to recall the lessons we learnt from our childhood; to live, laugh and cry simply and then move on to look at the future with hope and anticipation.
Like a child, it is a lot easier to choose happiness over everything else.
Choose to be happy, choose to forgive, choose to forget, choose to accept each other, choose to just be simple, because it is just simply easier to be happy.

We deserve to be happy, and Life will definitely look a lot more hopeful and beautiful, from the eyes of a child.
Sometimes it is good to revive that little kid in us; and to look at things in a simple way, just like a child.

Who says we can't enjoy simple pleasures like ice cream, lollipops or just a ride on a carousel?

The choice is ours....

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