For many reasons I’ve always really liked that ‘be childlike not childish’ adage. I wonder where, or should I say when, we tend to lose that innate wide-eyed innocence and sense of fun that is hopefully typical of childhood. I’m guessing as with most things, it’s due to a combination of factors. Just growing up and taking on greater responsibilities no doubt plays a large role in it. But I have another idea. Something that doesn’t have to happen.
I mean no disrespect to anyone, but sometimes I wonder if jaded, dejected, tired, over-worked, lost-innocence parents who, without likely even realizing it, help extinguish that childhood joie de vivre. An example comes to mind that I’ve sadly witnessed too many times.
It starts out great. A cat or dog will be out walking somewhere and a little child will see them and just instinctively be all excited and happy, sometimes squealing in delight, so happy to see this ball of fur and wanting to share the news with their parents.
What breaks my heart though is the reaction I have all too often seen from the parents. Even in safe, friendly animal situations, I can’t count how many times the child’s reaction is either ignored or the child shuffled away quickly with some unenthusiastic response. Talk about throwing cold water on a child’s innate enthusiasm.
Whatever the innocence breaker though, I use this animal analogy as but a furry example, the child is being taught their natural happy reaction to something is wrong. Their behaviour should be different. To a child that age, parents know everything, and they have just said this joyous delight is not right. I find that sad. It just doesn’t seem right.