The questions stay the same but we believe we have all the answers
We make our minds up and remain resolute of our beliefs and convictions. Even the things we don’t know see’s us posture like we do as we learnt long ago that indifference and not knowing is a weakness to be avoided. Children are constantly asking why. Their well of cumulative knowledge is consistently being filled and kept fresh while adults have grown stagnant by forgetting how to and what questions to ask.
We evolve from a process of continuous discovery by retreating into a position whereby we fiercely defend the opinions we have built up, fortified and proudly worn for years. These become unchangeable due to the emotional damage that conceding we were wrong would bring. We fail to recognise this in others though and become convinced we can alter their when we ourselves cannot be changed. Children are like plasticine, they can be moulded into any shape, they can experience growth and refinement. Adults though are more fixed in their mindset, they have hardened and change requires destroying part of themselves. Children don’t recognise change as an obstacle, they embrace it as an opportunity for discovery.
Black and white are replaced by shades, tones and tints of grey while we become aware that the flatness of the world is home to dissenting voices and depressing narrative. Simple pleasures are replaced by cognisance of senseless death, illness and the inhumane conditions suffered by some of the words people. Thoughts that are incomprehensible to children are commonplace in the mind of adults.
Adults are exposed to realities of the world while children experience the ideals. Where children hear the singing of the birds and are treated to the happiness of songs and praise adults are polluted by a thick smog of noise. The definition afforded by a lack of knowledge is interrupted by experience, which detracts from the things we want to listen to, detrimentally affecting our perception and clarity of thought.
Adults are left to their own devices. Instead of following the yellow brick road prescribed to us by parents, family or teachers we must build it without any instructions as to the direction it must go in order for us to reach our destination. Adults must forge their own path while the sense of children’s lives is ensured by their routine.
Falling over is simply part of growing up. Children recognise that iterative development is part of the process of getting to where they want to go. Adults have had it criticised out of them. To children failure isn’t fatal, it doesn’t paralyse them from acting. To adults it is demoralising, it has been utilised as a weapon by teachers or bosses to ensure conformity bludgeoning them out of taking risks.
Children’s lives make sense because they are singularly focused. They live for each day and experience it through play without the weight of dependencies, responsibilities or expectations. They haven’t yet been burdened with the requirement of working a job to pay for all the things they want or need; everything is just there for them to use and enjoy. Having failed to conceptualise where things come from and that they must be paid for they aren’t slaves to the realities of economics. Instead, their joy and happiness are unbridled, it hasn’t been tempered by expectation or life experiences.
Their lives make sense because they haven’t been shackled by a fear of the unknown future or they aren’t dealing with any negative consequences of the past. They are present in the moment and have no worries about providing for tomorrow.
Their lives make sense because it is only constrained by a lack of imagination, and their imaginations are infinitely boundless. Their world becomes anything that they can dream. It makes sense because it doesn’t have to. 2 + 2 doesn’t need to make four if they want it to = giraffes. Books can talk, cars can fly and the water in the sea can be a milkshake which feeds the talking fishes from finding Nemo. Their sense is derived from their own vision of reality which hasn’t been clouded by what we have learned to be true.
We could all benefit from embracing a child-like view of the world. Our creativity would increase because we wouldn’t be shackled by the conventional wisdom which is forced down our throats. Things that on reflection are only true because they are things that have only been done a certain way. I’m not talking about universal laws of physics but learnt limitations. Our understanding that a car has to look like car or that school is the only way to learn. The world is only the way it is because it was made up and created by people that were no smarter that you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build you own things that others can use. This makes sense to children. Where we would forge a house out of playdough their creations don’t fit any mould yet it is infinitely more vivid in their minds.
Things make sense when we believe we can make a difference. Children aren’t put off by the scale of the world or the size of the problems we face. Instead, they boldly march into the middle of the playground and embrace all children like family, sharing their toys and views of the world with simultaneous reckless abandon and lack of judgement of what others believe. How much better would the world be if we didn’t grow out of our own selflessness nature and mature into beasts governed by greed. That’s what makes sense to children.