That childlike state, and Love.

There is so much we can learn from children. Most of us are disconnected from that childlike quality inside ourselves, that innocent state of joyful wonder that makes love for children so natural. In fact, we can think that that the only way to experience that state is vicariously through our children. We can restrict our boisterous play to only be in the company of children, and make sure we always make â??˜sense’ in the company of adults.

And yet, much of the education of children is really a movement away from wonderful qualities that would greatly serve society. By the time adulthood is reached, through public schools and the gauntlet of teenagedom, there can easily be layers upon layers of defences, filters, and preconceptions that prevent the wonder of a child and guileless expression. We are taught a learning of accumulation of facts and how to act in such a way that is â??˜normal’. In spite of the tremendous value we know children have, we are in some way denying that value, by trying to exclusively teach them while not learning from them. We don’t see them as equals, as Dr. Marshall B. Rosenberg, author of “Nonviolent communication”, says in his article on raising children compassionately.

Children, in their simple wisdom of being who they are, have tremendous amounts to teach and remind us.How easy it is to break down in tears when a child touches your cheek after noticing some held back sadness.Being silly and unrestrainedly playful around a child is the most natural thing in the world.They remind us what is truly important in life.And what they teach us, via the characteristics they model, can be applied to all of life, not just our interaction with them.

To help see this, I’ve listed a number of characteristics young children have that we could all learn from. It is these characteristics that epitomize Love.

  • Vulnerability. This is not only an absolute open sense of trust and visibility of self, but also the rapidity at which the task at hand takes complete focus. It is when a child (or adult) is most like themselves, without any apology or attempt to be anything else. True vulnerability always results in more openness, more allowing, and therefore, more Love. We feel this around children, and it is this sense that we respond to in children. A baby is completely vulnerable, completely open to the manipulations of life force around it, yet at the same time, is completely trusting that this process will result in continued life, growth, and for all intents and purposes, Love.
  • Harmony. Children are not separate from their environment, their parents, or even themselves. If their parents are upset, they will feel it too. There is no intellectualizing the experience, no controlling of their actions. They feel the state of their surroundings, which includes themselves, and at the same time naturally move towards a balance. Because of this, problems do not accumulate. If they are upset, they scream. If they are sad, they cry. The next moment is often something completely different, as any parent knows!
  • A sense of perpetual wonder. Simply mouthing the phrase ‘it brought me back to being a child again’ conveys this. Life is vivid, full of vibrancy and new discoveries behind every corner. There’s new ways of seeing and interacting with even familiar objects. Children have that sense of wonder because they’re completely present in the moment, immersed in the explosion of colors around them at every moment in humble appreciation.
  • Exploration beyond “right” and “wrong”. As my previous post, The Beauty of Gray mentions, we tend to get locked into black and white thinking. Something is either good for us or bad, and all our interactions with it is based on this label we have. Children interact directly. And because of this, they are in a perpetual state of exploration. There is no “wrong” behavior – they see nothing strange about putting corn chips down your pants if the mood suits it. (I have personal experience with this!).
  • Leaning through play. This is the utmost extension of the previous point. With nothing ‘wrong’, every action is playful. Silliness makes more sense than seriousness, because it voices the absurdity of trying to control and label all the experiences occurring. And learning occurs very quickly because of the open state of the child.
  • Trust. There are no worries in a child’s mind beyond the immediate moment.There is simply a powerful trust that all they need will be there.

All of these states, of course, are as accessible to adults as they are to children. But for the most part, we have been educated away from such means of interacting with each other, and even with children.But this education can be discarded.

The next time you are with a young child, be a young child yourself. Don’t put on a mask of acting child-like, such as faces and ‘goo-goo’ sounds. Play as if nothing mattered. Relate to them from a place of equality, for they are teaching you as much as you are teaching them. Know that their vulnerability is at the same time incredibly fragile and immensely powerful, and that this dichotomy also resides within you.

‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, â???’

It is of course very humorous that millions of people have quoted the Bible on becoming like a little child without making any movement whatsoever towards that effect themselves. Being childlike is in essence the same as being full of Love. It is a state of playful unity and harmony to the surroundings, appreciating and welcoming the uniqueness of everyone in the world. It is a state of continual transformation with no end in sight. It is a state both of incredible fragility that comes from vulnerability and of incredible power to affect, like what you see in the eyes of a child.

It is you.

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November 6th, 2007|love, podcast|30 Comments

30 Comments

  1. Nathaniel November 10, 2007 at 7:12 am - Reply

    Tremor, you should read stories out loud more often (if you enjoy it). I am trying to understand this concept more as well as NVC (which I’m guessing you heard about).

  2. Tremor,

    Thank you for helping us remember the childlike qualities, and thanks for participating in the Carnival of Healing #111 edition, posted at Intensive Care for the Nurturer’s Soul.

    Blessings,
    Hueina

  3. Riley November 11, 2007 at 4:54 pm - Reply

    Lovely post. I especially enjoyed the “sense of perpetual wonder” para.

  4. JHS November 13, 2007 at 12:26 am - Reply

    What a wonderful article! I appreciate your outlook and the advice offered here is sound.

    Thanks for contributing this post to the Carnival of Family Life! I appreciate your support and participation.

    The November 19, 2007, Carnival will be hosted at An Island Life by Kailani. Be sure to submit your entry by Saturday, November 17, 2007, at midnight (Pacific time). Details available at Colloquium.

  5. annie November 18, 2007 at 7:11 pm - Reply

    one thing what was the first pic of and were you the woopiecushin for halloween? my email is anniesefart@wordpress.com =)

    • tremor November 18, 2007 at 8:03 pm - Reply

      No, that’s not me, but it’s totally my sense of humor. A whoopee cushion is a standard feature for passenger seats around me.

  6. Akemi November 18, 2007 at 9:40 pm - Reply

    I love this post! I have been paying attention to my inner child, as I sometimes mention in my blog, and she sure is sweet and smart!

    Keep up the great work,

    Akemi

    • tremor November 18, 2007 at 10:50 pm - Reply

      Yes, sweet and smart just as I’m sure you are! Often we think this inner child is subtly someone different. It’s ourselves. We have all of the past here now, all the present, and all the potential future. This is the Now. There’s a lot to draw on!

  7. cordieb November 19, 2007 at 12:07 pm - Reply

    Excellent insight. Thanks for sharing. I’m sure with all that goes on in the average adult’s life and mind, if we could take just a few minutes of our lives each day to become childlike again, it would reduce anxiety, worries, depression, and all those conditions from which adults often suffer.

    • tremor November 19, 2007 at 1:31 pm - Reply

      I’m not sure it would reduce any of those, which are very natural elements of life, but it would certainly make it harder to get stuck in them…

  8. radha November 19, 2007 at 6:45 pm - Reply

    Each time we are in a thouthless state of mind, we enjoy our innocence nature of a child and we also enjoy the time spent with a child. It requires our innocence to be manifested and really expressed from inside. we should have a deeper knowledge how our innocence, of how to nurture and preserve it in order to make our “childlike state and love” blossoming and projecting.

  9. axinia November 20, 2007 at 1:30 pm - Reply

    Lovely article, the qualites of a child are very exact and beatufuly featured!
    You might like my article on how these childlike qualities manifest in an adult: http://shaktipower.wordpress.com/2006/09/26/being-like-a-magnet/

  10. Tremor, thanks for reminding me that it is ok to play. I tend to forget. I am blessed with several friends who keep reminding me. While I was reading your article, I was reminded of an afternoon of fun and play that a dear friend and I did about 15 years ago. We put on shorts and tee-shirts and put our hair in pig tails. Mine was barely long enough to put in pig tails. We went to the I. Q. Zoo which is a show with animals doing tricks and parots that talk to you here in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Then we went to a crystal shop and just looked at all of the rocks and crystals. We did a few other things that day. Mostly what we did was giggle and enjoyed each other’s company as only two little girls can do. We were both in our 40’s at the time. I know we probably looked silly but we didn’t care. We had the time of our lives being kids.

    • tremor November 24, 2007 at 9:16 pm - Reply

      Glad it reminded you! Yes, those are times that joy just flows so easily. Silliness is something to be taken seriously!

  11. Hello Tremor,
    ……..
    ……..

    I have Andrea Hess and her
    Carnival of Truth #2 for directing
    me to your post here
    ……..
    ……..

    http://www.empoweredsoul.com/blog/?p=155

    ……..
    ……..

    I LOVE this message !!! As the Mom
    of 3 I have often said they arrived
    to TEACH ME. For as much as I think
    I’ve guided them (2 are adults now)
    I’ve learned just as much from them.
    ……..
    ……..

    I’m a watercolor artist and I tell folks,
    HEY… at 5 we all thought we were artits,
    some have just forgotten.
    Pick up a tray of Prang watercolors and
    let loose your artist.
    ……..
    ……..

    Thank you for the reminder. As we’re
    coming on this hectic holiday season
    it’s wonderful to put myself in the
    mindset of ~JOY~ & ~WONDER~
    ……..
    ……..

    xo xo
    Deb

  12. CG Walters December 8, 2007 at 2:23 pm - Reply

    another excellent piece of work, Tremor. Thank you.
    Peace and wonder,
    CG

    • tremor December 8, 2007 at 3:00 pm - Reply

      Thank you! Good to see you again!

  13. A. Decker December 26, 2007 at 3:24 pm - Reply

    Nice post. I like the whole idea. Did you ever see this one? “It would be more interesting to learn from children, than try to teach them how to behave, how to live and how to function.”–U.G.Krishnamurti

    • tremor December 26, 2007 at 3:45 pm - Reply

      Ah, the other Krishnamurti! I totally agree. In many ways, the childlike state is what we’re all heading back to.

  14. A. Decker December 26, 2007 at 4:01 pm - Reply

    “…the other Krishnamurti!” I’ve called him that myself. I’m bookmarking your site so I can come back and look around, when I have more time.

  15. Tristan L. Sullivan November 14, 2008 at 8:28 am - Reply

    Thank you for this wonderful, true article. Beautiful.

  16. amenodimeno July 31, 2009 at 10:44 am - Reply

    That’s good man, keep it going.

  17. queroeropoo August 6, 2009 at 4:08 pm - Reply

    Good information to me.

  18. sandrar September 10, 2009 at 3:43 pm - Reply

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

  19. adamoerikom September 19, 2009 at 2:16 pm - Reply

    Stunning blog and good article. High 5 for u man !

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    Free chair in solid shape, Probably planning two or three days turf would be am giving this method to somebody that could use it. When you need it and will eventually head to my place within some days, shoot me a message. The first person to make contact with me takes it home, thanks

  21. jimpuntney January 16, 2014 at 7:12 am - Reply

    resonates within me, we have so much to unlearn, and our children, and grandchildren can be effective 'teachers' if we are 'childlike' enough to allow our hearts to be turned to them, and they in turn to us.

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  23. […] that we possess naturally – more visible in childhood and seemingly less so as we age [Tremor_Childlike].  And that “it” is something that we can recognize in […]

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