Life’s beauty and joy

9 Oct

I am sitting at Heathrow Airport waiting for my connecting flight to Canada. We are going to visit our children in Canada and the United States. What a pleasure it will be to spend some time with each other. Even if it is only half of the family, it will still be an immense pleasure. While I am watching the thousands of passengers walking around the waiting area my eyes involuntarily go to the children. I am reminded of a social experiment that the Washington Post launched some time back. They asked Joshua Bell to play, on his priceless violin, a classical piece that was to be played at a sold out concert on the following Friday night. Very few people stopped to listen. The only people that wanted to stop were the young children. However, they were prevented from doing this by being dragged away by their parents. How sad! The question the Washington Post asked, was: Are we able to recognise true beauty if all of these people passed, oblivious of the fantastic performance taking place on the street?

I remember this experiment while I am looking at the children passing my seat. A little girl, obviously starting to develop her walking control, goes by. All she wants to do is to is to explore this immense, interesting space. All her mother wants to do is to pick her up and control her. She walks, uncertainly, wobbling, but while she is walking she waves her arms to stop her mother from picking her up. An older child passes, skipping and running and giving a jump every now and then. Her whole posture says: “Life is wonderful!”. A father with two little boys stop at the Sushi Bar right across from our seats. The youngest of these boys reminds me poignantly of my grandson Robert – caring, curious and with a strong sense of responsibility. He picks up his father’s water bottle and hand it over with his body language saying: “This is who I am, I know what is the right thing to do”.

Each child passing my seat is, as Shakespeare said, “the father of the man”. These children, with their immense potential for good and for caring will grow up into the adults that are also passing my seat. Most of them pass us without making eye contact. Few look as if life is wonderful and an adventure. This sense of wonder is essentially inherent in every child. It is so sad that we as adults lose this. To have passion is something children experience every day. They are passionate about playing and passionate about what interests them. They are passionate about the people and things they love. For adults to live life joyfully, we need to rekindle and find our passion. We also have to be aware that it is imperative not to stifle children’s passion for life.

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