Little children are little cherubs from heaven who lost their way and found themselves trapped in this world of ours. No wonder they are so pure and innocent, so faithful and loving, so forgiving and so divine; they still have something heavenly in them! It’s such a pity that they lose this angelic touch in them as they grow more and more a part of this world. For me, it seems that as they are drawn away from heaven, these little children lose their luster of innocence.
Children are such a source of joy as they bring so much lightness of heart and tenderness of emotions that they lilt like the lines of poetry. Yes, they are cute little verses running on little feet! Wasn’t it Alfred Lord Tennyson, poet laureate of the Victorian Age, who in his “Children’s Hour” paid tribute to the “patter of little feet”? Or William Wordsworth, who wrote and said that “the child is father to the man”? Definitely, it was Jesus who said, “Let the children come unto me, for such as these are the kingdom of heaven!” Yes, children are a joy forever; they are indeed things of heavenly beauty. Watch a tiny tot as he toddles across the room until he reaches the safety of a chair which he grasps with his chubby little hands; and see how he breaks into that victorious, yet gleeful toothless grin that can melt the hardest of hearts. Not even Alexander the Great could manage such a triumphant smile as he marched across Asia to India! Feel his little hands wrap themselves around your neck as he tiptoes to plant the wettest kiss on your cheeks. Such blessing from heaven you have never felt! Hear his tiny throat gurgle with laughter as he exhales all the mirth that heaven can afford to shower on you. Look at him in his crib at night as he sleeps after a whole day of impish delight.
No greater peace can any man ever see such as this! What happens, what really happens, why all these beautiful things simply vanish from sight as the child grows up to his adulthood? Probably, it is deeply erroneous to teach a child to become more serious, soberer, more composed, more restrained as he continues to mature and grow to be a confused teenager until he becomes a dismal adult. Adults are in reality a total bundle of restrained thoughts and emotions, a walking, stifling mass of confused emotions and mental rigidity. What a noble piece of workman could become; but unfortunately, he usually grows to be just that – a piece of work, and nothing else. We are admonished not to be childish; we are cajoled to be serious adults. We are taught to be serious about work; we are never told to enjoy work. We are often pushed to reach for the stars, but we are not asked if we would be happy just reaching for the moon. We are expected to succeed, but we are seldom taught to also expect to fail. That is what is wrong with the world today. We all have left our childhood forever, and we never bothered to look back. It’s as if childhood is something to be avoided and to be forgotten.
No wonder, most of us still feel that lonesome longing for the happy days of our childhood; and as we do, we have moist eyes and tearful gazes. Why can’t we keep our childhood in our pockets and bring it out once in a while, especially when days become so tiring and so devastating? Why can’t we keep that child alive in us, deep in our minds and deep in our hearts? Why do we have to snuff out the life of that child in us and later suffer the utmost remorse that we did not keep him gleefully gurgling within us? If the child is a father of the man, then let that child continue living in us; so that as our hearts leaped when we saw a rainbow in the sky so many, many years ago; so it would leap now at the same rainbow in the same sky. No, I am not at all advocating that we all remain irresponsibly childish. No, never.
However, I believe that we should at many times in our dreary adult life become childlike so that we can see our life, even within the space of a few moments, as a precious toy that we can delight in tinkering with, and we can enjoy pulling around as we go. This way, we can look at our world as our little playpen where all our toys are stuffed in, together with our milk bottle and our huggable and comforting pillows; instead of feeling that life is a prison of the most pernicious kind. Come, all of you, and join me. Let us be childlike in our thoughts and in our feelings for it’s the only way we can become big little men working like men but finding delight like a child; grinning like a man, but gurgling deep inside like a child; misty-eyed like a man, but crying within like a child; wistful like a man, but hopeful like a child; caring like a man, but loving like a child. Come, it’s the only way we can have a little glimpse of heaven in this seemingly desolate life on earth.
The power of a child in us brings us peace and harmony. Many people seem to forget it entirely due to their own reasons. Some had an unhappy childhood, and some are too busy with their everyday routine to reflect on what they used to be in childhood. However, many psychologists claim that we are always children. We only need to awake the inner child from time to time.
This method helps to understand some of our desires and needs. Besides, it helps to make life easier because children live heedlessly of the issues faced by adults. Accordingly, it is no wonder so many poets and poetesses use children in their masterpieces. It is the call for action. You should reminisce about your past when you were so happy and free of everyday worries.
Of course, we should not delve too deep into our inner child. It would mean we did not manage to grow up. No one takes seriously a person who is 40 years old with childish or even teenage worldviews and behaviors. We simply need to look back at our happy childish days when we get too worried, stressed, unhappy, and so on. Poetry helps to reach that goal.