After months of can do and cannot do, I recently restarted my workout routine and have been feeling exceedingly proud of myself with the progress I have made in a span of just a few days – I can lift heavier weights, I can stretch a bit farther, bend a bit more and breathe a bit deeper while holding my yoga poses.
Feeling like a star, I was finishing my routine today when my 18 months old toddler crept into the room and showed interest in copying what I was doing. The happy and slightly smug me decided to show her some poses – after all, catch them young!
I started with a simple pose – which my baby can copy relatively easily and feel motivated to continue – only to realise that the person needing the motivation to continue would eventually be me. The toddler was repeating all the poses with the ease and flexibility of a yogi; I kept moving to tougher poses and she kept repeating them with the same ease.
The bubble of ‘great workout progress’ burst as I continued to be put to shame by a giggling toddler who probably thought that my huffing, puffing and many times falling down was part of some game we were playing. Thoroughly put to shame and amazed at her agility, we ended the workout and she went back to her toys.
As I sat down reflecting, I recalled children being very flexible and hence able to move their bodies in ways most adults find difficult. And slowly I started wondering about the blessings and skills that we begin our lives with and how adulting makes us forget many of those things that we were initially born with.
My little one had beaten me hands down and it was a game, just a game. We laughed and giggled and were goofy. She did not feel the need to remind me that I lost, she did not have the need to tell others that she won. It was just fun and the competition had no place in it.
My reflections continued and small baby gestures floated in front of my eyes. Another thing that many little ones do is share their food with the rest of the family. I recalled how my toddler and some others I know, want to share their bites & treats with their moms or siblings (and in some cases the nanny feeding them). They are genuinely happy to share food interspersed with smiles and kisses, and actually, eat better when they have someone to share with.
At a park or play area or nursery, the little ones gravitate towards each other and find something to play together. They do not wait to figure out any ‘demographics’ before they make friends. Many times my kids have come back after playing for hours and don’t even know the name of the person they played and chatted with. We were too busy having fun so I couldn’t ask the name!
In fact, kids are a great medium to bond. Complete strangers who would probably never speak to each other otherwise start conversing because of the children.
We are born with health, equality, innocence and happiness – everything that we want throughout the rest of our lives. How and why we lost all of it is the big question; if everyone was born happy and innocuous – how did the ‘big bad world’ happen, why did we all grow up so much and why do we want our kids to grow up too?
Of course, there are circumstances that are unfair and challenging, lives we grow up in which reshape us. But for many of us, that happens much later in life. Before we even face our share of challenges, our minds are coloured – we have chosen our leagues, our kind of people, we have our sense of entitlement and ensuing smugness in place, or we have insecurities seeping into us, fears haunting us and self-confidence wavering. We are not equipped anymore to step into the world with a love that we stepped into our playgrounds with.
If you are waiting to read the solutions, I do not have any. All I am trying to do is to keep my inner child alive and work hard to make sure my kids stay childish too. As much as I would like to lead a revolution, all I am doing is pitching in with my part in the larger universe, a drop in the ocean just as countless many others are adding their drops, keeping the ocean alive and roaring; cleaning and saving it one day, one child at a time.
What I do recommend is a world run by children – instead of them following us, we follow them. From all the children we learn to be happy about the smallest of things, keep standing up no matter how many times we fall, share our food, not create categories for people, marvel at nature and just have fun without competing. A world where someone fights or cries only for more hugs and kisses!
(The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of India.com. The writer is solely responsible for any claims arising out of the contents of this article)