In today’s stressful world, we must have often heard people saying, ‘Spend time with a child to realise life’s true meaning. Look at life from a child’s perspective to be happy.’ Have we ever wondered about these words of advice? Why are children synonymous with happiness, hope and peace? Weren’t we all children once? What changed, as we grew up? Did our lives change, or is it just we, who changed?
To answer these questions, let us start by reflecting on our lives before we reached adulthood. First, we were carefree infants and toddlers, with all our needs taken care of. Then we grew into children filled with questions and enthusiasm for the world. Our imagination was boundless, and the possibilities we saw were endless. Slowly, we developed into teenagers, and were excited to discover newer experiences that life had to offer. Sadly, this phase of ‘growing up’ was also governed by stereotypes, to a large extent. We had to inevitably conform to unwritten rules—in what we did, what we spoke, and even in what we thought.
By the time we reached adulthood, we had gotten so used to being ‘grown-up’, that we left the child in us behind, and did not even realise it. While we were children, we sought comfort and joy in little things in life. Now that we are adults, we are induced into a world of more expectations and roles to fit into. We have set new, ‘bigger’ goals for ourselves, such as getting a promotion, buying a car, building a house, having children, and so on. We are led to equate our happiness with achieving these goals.
We may think, “This is how life progresses. We move past childhood, and our definition of ‘happiness’ changes.” Yes, adulthood brings maturity and purpose into our lives, and that is necessary. However, as adults, we also tend to take life too seriously and complicate day-to-day issues. We revolve our entire lives around our new roles and forget to be our true selves. This is where the problem lies. We must remember that achieving bigger goals in life is not the only route to happiness. Happiness lies in the little, seemingly ‘unimportant’ things as well.
How often have we, as adults, indulged in the little joys, such as colouring a picture, learning to play a new instrument, or riding a bicycle? We stop ourselves from doing the things we used to love as children, thinking that it is ‘a waste of time’ or that it may create a ‘poor impression’ of us in front of others. We brand such activities as ‘kiddish’. However, the happiness which we can get from these ‘kiddish’ things is the kind that we can truly rely on. Hence, we must seek it and embrace it whenever we can. It is in times like these, that we need to learn from a child’s approach to life.
So, does a child’s perspective of life only include indulging in our passions? What does it really mean, to be a child at heart? How does it help us be happy? Moreover, how can we as adults, adopt a child’s point of view?
Firstly, being a child at heart means simplifying issues. This brings greater clarity to our day-to-day life, giving us energy to focus on the things that really matter. This perspective also means that we should be content with what we have. This gives us peace of mind. It means being optimistic, to fill ourselves with hope. It means reminding ourselves not to expect too much from life, to give us satisfaction. It means surrounding our lives around our loved ones, giving us strength. It means not bothering too much about what people say, giving us freedom to pursue what we love. It means resolving differences and staying away from hatred, giving us solace. It means being curious and learning forever, enhancing our knowledge along with our wisdom. It simply means enjoying life more. Isn’t this doable?
Thus, childhood—the best phase of our lives—does not have to end with the onset of teenage or adulthood. We need not wait to be in the company of children, to experience childhood second-hand. All it takes is for us to remember to carry a part of our childhood throughout our lives. This is also something we must teach our children—to let the child in them grow, as they grow into adults.
Happy Children’s Day!