This I Believe
I Believe in Children
I believe in children – their hope, their innocence and their wide-eyed wonder.
I would like to believe in karma, but it’s all a little too tidy.
We feel a sense of recognition, but deep down we wonder if our children are the purest blank slate, the emptiest of templates waiting to be painted by our personalities and engraved by cultural inheritance.
What if karma is just more grist for our left brain’s need to explain the inexplicable?
If children bring the wisdom of ages into this world, surely it would never put up with our nonsense. I can believe in that.
Okay, maybe they are born pre-packaged with the faintest of outlines, like virgin stonewashed coloring books, eager to be met by crayon-clutching parents. I can believe in that.
We twist and mould, project and primp, tint and tie-dye, quite determined to fashion our children into some perfectly-cloned mini-me. Our children are fine just the way they are, but a little more of us couldn’t hurt, could it?
This is our hand-me-down present to posterity. We give a disk-image of us to our children and a near-perfect photocopy to our children’s children, onwards and upwards, our ego gifted to the stars, only to be disappointed when errant loin-fruit turn out to have a mind of their own and we are thwarted by some hardwired biological leash that prevents us from disowning them.
I believe in children, even my own. Sometimes we have to work at these things.
Then, one day, laughing at the unfettered free-form fun of children, one day it just occurred to me that we are children, too. Still blessed with hope, impossibly crippled by innocence and seldom so cynical that it stops us pointing our sense of wonder down a microscope or up at the night sky.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
Like “Who watches the watchers”, only for grown-ups.
The children watch the children, watch the children watching children.
It cannot end here. Who looks at us and sees children?
And now, being forever one of them, I believe even more that I believe in children.
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