Simple life lessons

Recently, three funny, simple yet significant encounters with children presented me with a fresh uncomplicated perspective towards life. While going for a walk one evening, I noticed a little boy pulling up on his toes, trying to reach a doorbell. I decided to give him a helping hand and rang the bell for him. Imagine my shock when the bugger turned around and ran saying, "Thanks Aunty, now run!" The scowl of the grumpy old man who answered the door did nothing to mitigate my embarrassment. Later, I did, however, find myself smiling at my own gullibility.

My second interaction was with a little girl who was walking alongside her mother, an acquaintance of mine. Both mother and child were pushing their own prams. I spoke to the new mother about the baby and thinking that the little girl would feel ignored, I bent down to her pram and politely looked at the doll she had placed there. "Oh! How lovely. Is this your baby?" I asked. "No!" she exclaimed with some derision and looked at me curiously. "This is my doll," she said. When I stared at her stupefied, she kindly explained, "They are a lot less trouble than babies." My eyes met her mother's and both of us smiled in agreement.

For the third interaction, I didn't have to go too far. My younger daughter was taking her own sweet time over her favourite book and snack while I fretted over her incomplete homework. I pulled her up and gave her a talk about all that I did around the house when I was her age. I spoke to her about responsibility and time management while she sat there unimpressed.

As soon as I finished speaking, she said, "What about fun, Ma? Just because you didn't have fun during your childhood, doesn't mean that I don't get to enjoy myself either." I knew she was being cheeky and yet words deserted me and, despite myself, I smiled.

As we mature into adults, we forget our childlike ability to have fun, to speak our mind and to take life at face value. We become cautious, look for hidden agendas and value the politically correct over truth. We use euphemisms, polite conversations and reason to tide over situations that wouldn't be so complicated in the first place if we had kept things simple.

Children don't see the world as complicated as we adults do. They forgive easily and quickly, they dream, they explore, they believe and, best of all, they dust themselves after a fall and run again. They usually find magic because they go out looking for it.

We adults must bottle their childlike enthusiasm, simplicity, candour and cheer and carry this potion in our practical pockets at all times. Whenever things get too heavy, or twisted or dry, all we need to do is open this bottle and let the potion do its magic.

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