What A Child’s Innocence Can Teach Us
By RODNEY CHONG
While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.
– Angela Schwindt
After spending a week facilitating a leadership camp organised by Hap Seng for children in Tawau, I came back with a renewed perspective of life.
Here are some of the lessons I learnt from the innocent life of children:
Be Jolly and Have Fun
I was very curious as to why the children were so happy while playing chase at the playground.
Turns out that when we exercise, our body releases endorphins. Endorphins make us feel good and that was why they were brimming with such joy and laughter.
I was also astonished at how fast they forgave each other. One moment they were having a fight and the next, they were smiling and playing together again.
It is human nature to hold a grudge when we have been wronged. But the longer we hold on to it, the more bitter we become.
So, it is in the interest of our well-being that we be ready to forgive others as if they are children who did not mean what they did. Because, to quote Alexander pope, “to be angry is to revenge the
faults of others on ourselves.”
This in no way means that they should not be responsible for their actions, but only that they are given a chance to turn over a new leaf and become better versions of themselves faster.
Children are adept in spotting unfairness and inconsistencies. And the most unfair thing in life is none other than life itself.
But just because life is unfair, that does not mean we have to be too. I met a child at the market in town. He was working there to support his family.
Despite being born into poverty, he did not resort to unfair means such as stealing to resolve his financial issues. Instead, he chose to work honestly as a store-helper.
This child showed me that if I think something is lacking in life, I should do something about it and not just drown myself in sorrow and despair.
Right is Right and Wrong is Wrong
Sometimes, children have a better sense of what is right and what is wrong than us adults. When the divide between right and wrong becomes ambiguous, “the end always justifies the means” is a common lie we tell ourselves until someone asks “what then justifies the end?”
It is always easier to make up excuses than to own up to our mistakes. Just as we teach our children to apologise and make right of their mistakes, we too have to lead by example because actions speak louder than words.
Hello, Cruel World
I used to wonder how someone could bring a child into a world that is full of pain and suffering. But perhaps because it is a cruel world, it is in dire need of children. Because they make it a better place. And if heaven is a place on earth, it is in the hearts of children.
Rodney completed his internship at Leaderonomics early this year. He likes to dream and that’s why he sleeps a lot. He also orders nasi lemak without the sambal and iced lemon tea with the ice. To learn more about Leaderonomics’ initiatives for youth, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.