For quite some time, I have believed that humans should strive to maintain certain child-like qualities — innocence, authenticity, and an absence of harmful intent. I often draw parallels between humans and clocks; as time passes, clocks may deviate from their intended purpose and become tainted by external influences.
“Children have neither past nor future; they enjoy the present, which very few of us do.”
— Jean de la Bruyere
This quote may lead one to believe that embodying child-like attributes is desirable. However, I have recently come to realize that being child-like merely signifies the absence of an intention to cause harm, but it does not absolve one of the potential to hurt others, even through acts of innocence inadvertently.
A faint memory from my childhood lingers in my mind. I recall a day when my mother mentioned that she would visit her parents’ house if I failed to fulfil a certain requirement or simply inquired how I would manage if she were absent. Innocently, I responded, “No worries. Father will prepare meals for me.”
At that moment, my seemingly quick-witted reply offered a solution to the challenge presented to a child. However, upon reflection, I now understand that I had inadvertently reduced my mother’s significance to that of a mere cook or provider. It is essential to note that my response did not signify a diminished love or concern for my mother, nor did it imply indifference toward her presence in my life. In the realm of adults, if one person were to treat another in such a dismissive manner, the recipient would likely feel neglected, insulted, and undervalued to such an extent that they might sever communication and interaction indefinitely.
The more I contemplate this, the more convinced I become that simply embodying child-like qualities falls short in the journey of life. The mere absence of intent to cause harm does not absolve one of the damage already inflicted. A true understanding of unconditional love emerges when we grasp the multitude of transgressions for which we are forgiven solely due to our childhood innocence.
Children always speak what they think, but they don’t always mean what they speak.
This realization prompts me to acknowledge why people often advise against speaking when uncertain of what to say. While effective communication can rectify issues stemming from silence, it is crucial to recognize that words possess the potential to inflict significantly more harm than silence ever could.