Children are born with two truly remarkable characteristics. The first is that they are born totally unafraid. This is characterized by the words “I can”. They feel they can do any thing they want. Children come into the world with only two physical fears, the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. Otherwise, they are completely fearless. This is our natural way … fearlessness, this is the way we all were born. All of the fears that dominate our lives, we’ve had to learn, through a process of repetition and reinforcement and since these are learned fears, then we can unlearn them. To me, finding out that I could unlearn all the fears that controlled my life was very exciting. It started me on a process of re-engineering, re-structuring and re-inventing my life. A process of growth through elimination. I didn’t have to add anything to get better,, I simply had eliminate the fear that had been holding me back.
However, early in childhood the child is told; “no” or “don’t”, “leave that alone”, put that down”,
over and over again, In fact, often “no” is the first word a child learns. In other words, every time the child gets into something different, they hear “no” and “don’t” and they start to feel “I can’t”, “I can’t”. As the child grows up, this feeling flows into adult life and whenever they’re confronted with something new and different that demands an investment of their time, emotion or money, they immediate think; “I can’t”, “I can’t”.
The second remarkable characteristic of children is that they are born completely uninhibited. They say and do exactly what they feel like with no concern whatsoever of the opinions of others. This is characterized by the words; “I don’t have to”. They can do anything they want and they don’t have to do anything they don’t want to. Haven’t we all been stunned and delighted by the honesty of children? They say; “Why do you look so old?”., “Are you going to die soon?”, Why do you smell that way?” or “Why don’t you smile more?”
Again, early in childhood, we learn this won’t work. We learn soon that if we’re going to get along, we have to go along. We find that we only get the love we need, the attention we require when we behave in the way that our parents approve of. This is characterized by the word “I have to” or “I have to”, but “I can’t”.
Wonderfully enough, this is our natural state, completely unafraid and uninhibited, being completely fearless and being able to express ourselves freely and easily. So, to learn more about acceptance, laughter, spontaneity, trust, imagination, and determination, spend more time with children, they spell love T-I-M-E and they’re here to teach us.
Copyright Mack Newton. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced in any form without the expressed written consent of the author.