Kid Wisdom

By Ken Herbert

Have you ever noticed how kids, especially really young kids, see right through people? I had a fascinating experience this past weekend as I attended a funeral down in Tucson and came together with about 150 other family members, many of whom I had never met before and some of whom I hadn't seen in years. It was a wonderful experience being with so many people with so many different perspectives and seeing how those perspectives are affecting their lives. One of the really obvious affects that I observed was the reaction of young children to adults. Some adults were kid magnets and others were like kid repellents. It was almost magical (and hilarious) watching the responses of these kids to people they had never before met. As I continued watching this phenomenon, I started to see a pattern emerge. The people that were kid magnets seemed like happier people. They seemed more loving. They were easy to get along with. They weren't rigidly attached to their beliefs.They were more open. They themselves were more "childlike" (in a good way).

I have often wondered about the account of Jesus' experience with little children. He was one of those beings that was a kid magnet. Wherever he went, kids instinctively were drawn to him. In fact, sometimes so many kids would gather around that his disciples, thinking they were doing him a favor, would tell the children to not bother him. But Jesus didn't look at the kids from the perspective that they were a bother or that they were any less important than the more "grown up" adults. He told his disciples to let the children be with him because "of such is the kingdom of heaven". He further told them that unless they became as little children, they would not be in the kingdom of heaven. (*** religious disclaimer*** It's funny, since I have left organized religion, I sometimes feel like I understand much more accurately what beings like Jesus were trying to say than when I was in a religion that was supposedly built up according to the intentions of Jesus.)

It's almost like young children only go on feelings and their feelings are not processed through a set of complex mental judgments (because they have none). It seems like they just have two responses to things. Either it feels good or yucky. They sense the energy of the person and just feel how that person feels energetically and they don't sit there and think about whether or not they want to go to a particular person or not. They just know that this person feels good and that person doesn't. And they have no qualms about letting you know where you stand with them. If they like you, you'll know it.If they don't, you'll know it. They don't worry about being polite and hurting your feelings. Relationships are a simple matter for very young children. If you feel good they want more of you.If you feel yucky, they want to get away from you as fast as possible. Simple.No guilt about their decisions and no ulterior motives. Hmm. Maybe kids have more to teach us than we sometimes give them credit for.

Adults tend to think of children as the "lost" ones and themselves as the "wise" ones. They see their role typically as straightening out the kids.But are adults having the time of their lives? Are they happy? Are they able to spontaneously enjoy their lives and the wonder of this physical life existence? How is it that most kids eventually get less and less happy as they grow up instead of the other way around? Is this physical life so seductive that we forget who we are simply because we are surrounded by other "grown ups" who have forgotten who they are?

There is an inherent wisdom that we are born with that seems to diminish through the process of growing up, and what tends to happen to people is that they get older but not necessarily wiser or happier. I think if we are ever to discover the secret to happiness that we must start by finding ways to recapture the wonder of a child.

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