The close-up photo of a child’s face and sparkling eyes — the perfect illustration for “All is a miracle.” — John
- Weekly Photo Challenge : Happy (soumyav.wordpress.com)
People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle.
~Thich Nhat Hanh
Source: Thank you artemisdreaming
What a beautiful picture of the wide-eyed child! Children are truly miracles – teach them well to follow a more gracious life than we have.
Nice sparkly effect in the eyes but we know the damn child is really just thinking about what bug or animal or age peer it’s going to torment next.
Your opinion of children is extreme and unconventional. It’s certainly worth discussing.
Most of us are aware that children are capable of unspeakable cruelty to other children. And a minority of children exhibit cruelty to animals and insects. (Some children FEAR animals and insects, most often because they’re copying behavior they’ve observed in adults or older children.)
But based on my experience, most children are naturally attracted to animals, especially the common domestic animals, and are more likely to show spontaneous affection for animals than to show cruelty. Many children — if they have not been conditioned by adults to avoid insects — also are attracted to and surprisingly fond of insects.
Very young children sometimes play roughly with animals and may accidentally cause pain because they haven’t learned the proper way to interact with animals.
I’m at a loss to explain the cruelty of many older children and teenagers to their peers, and more rarely, to animals. It’s safe to say that children can suffer from all the mental health and emotional issues that trouble adults. Teenagers can be thrown off balance by hormonal changes.
I think extreme cruelty to animals is deviant behavior that can sometimes be blamed on simple ignorance, but may also be a symptom of more serious mental health issues.
Many of you reading this blog are more knowledgeable than I about child behavior and psychology, and I’d welcome your comments.
Many people have legitimate opinions regarding population and/or reproductive rights issues, which are separate from child behavior issues, but also worthy of discussion.
I suspect more people than you’d think have opinions of children closer to mine than they’ll admit, just because the pressure to luhhv kids is so strong. Women have children to get attention and “brownie points,” whole industries depend on children (honestly, there was a time when the continuation of the race didn’t mean mountains of plastic Kid Crap).
My own memory of being a child is utterly Purgatorial. I did not enjoy cruelty, meanness, noise, pointless hyperactivity and stupidity, and I was therefore ostracized and abused by my peers through every means available to them (and of course, when I knocked their heads together, I was the “troublemaker”). All I wanted to do was read , listen to music and practice various physical feats that interested me (none of which involved fighting over control of a ball of some sort, so I was “no fun”). Sometimes I caught crap from adults who needed children to be inferior to them and didn’t like to be spoken to in complete sentences by someone who was eight, or ten. It became crystal clear to me that childhood is an unenviable state that any thinking person should wish to exit as soon as possible, and that a human being is not really human until he or she stops being a child.
I remember walking with neighbors and passing a group of little boys, one of whom jeered at the neighbors’ dog, “Hey, doggie, come here; I want to stick this nail in you.” I remember my own dear first cat, adopted from a kill shelter where she had been brought by a family whose children tormented her. I just don’t buy this sweetness and innocence of childhood thing; humans seem to me to start out as little savages, and the only children I’ve ever been able to stand have been those who had suffered so much at a young age, for whatever reason, that they learned some empathy and were forced to think and grow up in a hurry. That seems unfortunate, and I don’t suppose it could be advocated as a method of pedagogy, but it appears to be how people go from.viciousness to decency.
I can fully relate to your description of childhood as a state of Purgatory. There must be people who have idyllic, happy childhoods, and there are others who are spoiled brats and enjoy childhood as a privileged state.
My own childhood was not all bad, but mostly I remember childhood as poor and crowded. In the early years, I think I suffered more at the hands of adults than from my peers. Certainly not physical abuse, but the important adults in my life (parents and teachers) treated me as disappointing and of little value. Adults acted responsibly but coldly. In teen years, parents, teachers and peers didn’t know what to do with me. I was an oddly serious and scrupulous misfit, an embarrassment with no redeeming talent in academics or athletics.
Peers responded by avoidance and virtual shunning, with a few exceptions. Adults were aware of their responsibilities, but parents and teachers tried mostly to ignore me. (Maybe my depression and social ineptitude was just a phase I was going through and would go away by itself.) Wish I’d been assertive enough to knock some heads, but I withdrew into books and work.
I’m sure you’re right about pressure to love children, but I disagree on this: I think most adults are hard-wired by evolution to feel gentle and protective toward small children. Small children are well-treated because they’re CUTE. (It seems so unfair that adults who are aged, sick or handicapped receive much less sympathy and charity. Sick and aging adults are definitely not cute!) It’s only logical from a survival-of-the-species viewpoint that we evolved to protect babies and ignore old people.
Do babies start out as innocents or savages? Ah, that’s the ultimate nature or nurture question? Are childhood behaviors genetically determined or learned? I imagine it’s a complex combination.
I agree that very small children are totally dependent and self-centered. They may have inherited tendencies to be mean or kind. But generally, I think children LEARN to be vicious or empathetic from older children and adults.
“Lord of the Flies” makes a persuasive case that children, boys especially, may revert to a savage state without adult supervision. However, the proposition that “humans start out as little savages” is not supported by most of what we know about genetics, psychology and child development, IMO.
I totally agree with your point that childhood can be a most trying and unpleasant time for many unfortunate children. And adolescence — that I would not wish on any human being.