Continuing on my thoughts on the “Children Full of Life” series, I thought about how I consider my son to be a great teacher after watching the above clip (part 3). Children see things differently, and it’s important to treat them as equals. Recently, I’ve facing quite a lot of uncertainty as I uproot myself from my current routines and try something new. I try my best to keep centered, but last week, my son asked me:
“Daddy, where’s your happy face?”
Xeius went on about how I used to always have it, and recently I didn’t. He was right. My worry was written all over my face, and I probably was affecting the people around me and particularly him. I remember the last time I faced such uncertainty, it was when I had him. Xeius came at what I could say was an inconvenient time, and I wasn’t prepared to be a father. Funny how things have changed and now he’s my teacher.
So, often I observe my son for simplicity. For example, he’s got a LOT of fancy toys given to him by lots of people who love him. When he’s visiting me, I don’t have a lot of toys to offer him, but he doesn’t care. He can spend hours on end searching and playing with bugs under rocks, riding a bike with me, or by making new friends in the playground.
The same applies for me and all of us adults. Does everything have to be so complicated? The Buddha said that all suffering comes from desire, so somehow when we became adults, we adopted a rabid obsession to accumulate – material, prestige, even experiences – which only causes an unending cycle of wanting and unhappiness. I think about a segment of the song “Where’s the Love” by the Black Eyed Peas:
I feel the weight of the world on my shoulder
As I’m getting older y’all people get colder
Most of us only care about money makin
Selfishness got us followin the wrong direction
Going back to the the documentary and the theme of compassion, I reflect upon compassion lost as adults. For sure, it definitely helps to teach children compassion, perspective, and empathy, but for ourselves we can’t blame our current circumstances on our upbringing. I wasn’t raised as well as the kids in that class to be compassionate, nor do I consider myself to be a truly compassionate person. But it is something that I feel is within me and I can bring it out.
It’s so much easier to see everyone as one – look for similarities, not differences.
Yesterday, I had an opportunity to practice compassion. I biked too close to a woman crossing the road and she reacted and screamed at me, “Watch where you’re going, you bloody idiot!” . I felt a little defensive at first, but I was quick to apologize realizing I might have invaded her personal space. She was so surprised to hear an apology that she blushed, and by the end of the conversation, we were wishing each other a good day.
So, mimic a child if you can today. Simplify. After all, aren’t we all really children when we truly live in the moment?