Your Children are not Your Children

Rabbi Dov Baer is an adherent of Rabbi Israel Ben Eliezer, who is the founder of Hasidic Judaism. Rabbi Dov Baer was once asked what would be the ideal way to live life when on earth; whether implicit obedience to God or the deliberate comprehension of the will of God, which way would fetch life. Rabbi Dov Baer replied ‘neither’; instead, he emphasized, the model of Children as the ideal one. Most of us are of the opinion that children are naive to truth and reality. We do not realise that children do posses good qualities that most often the elders lack. The following are the four assets that children possess which imparts exemplary model for us, today.

  • Children are always happy. Unlike the elders, the children do not require a reason to be happy. They are always happy for no reason.
  • Children are always busy.
  • When children want something, they show great persistence and determination to secure their desires.
  • Children are always very quick to stop crying which the elders badly lack.

Jesus Christ had always set children as an example when he taught about Kingdom values and life truths. Children are the reflection of God’s hope for humankind. Such is the light that Children shed on our life lessons today. There are two such ways that help us to enrich our lives.

Living as Children

Living with Children 

  1. Living as Children

 ‘Purananooru’ is one of the ancient poetic literary works in tamil, records a scene where King Adhiyamaan, after depicting strenuous valour in the battle field, enters his palace to attend to his wife who has delivered a baby boy just then. It was custom of the king’s time that no matter the circumstances, if a male-child is born, the father should visit the new born.

The poet Avvaiyaar describes the coming of Adhiyamaan to visit his new-born child as following:

“He has spear in his hand, anklets in his legs (a symbol of bravery) and a wound in his neck. He is wearing flowers on his head round the top-hair-knot. Needle hooked Palmyra leaves; ‘vetchi’ and ‘vengai’ are the flowers, he is wearing on his hair-knot.  He seems as a victorious male elephant on a tiger attack with angry-red-eye, even at the time of seeing his new-born-son of love.”

With spear in hand and armour clad, bleeding bruises all over the body and fiery eyes that thirst to destroy his enemies, arrived the King to hold the new-born. Avvaiyaar explicitly articulated that Alas! For those who aroused his anger, there is no escape. The eyes that saw his enemies are still red, eventhough they see his young son.

This illustration definitely proves the bravery of King Athiyamaan. Nevertheless, it suggests how miserably the king fails as a father. The child possesses neither vengeance nor hostility. Should not the sight of the new-born compel the king to forget his rage and be settled with gentleness?

Most often we are influenced by our environment and turn insensitive to our children. We fail to take our inspiration and lessons from the children and instead we deprive them and affect their lives. Most of the time, we take so much arrogance and pride in assuming their

“Therefore, whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Mat 18: 4) are the verses that reminds us of the invitation that Jesus Christ extends for us to live like the children. Also, Paul, in his epistles, says that we have to become like Children and thirst for the pure word of God.

2. Living with Children

Living with children does not necessarily mean giving birth to and nurturing children in the families. Instead, it highlights the need to prioritise children and embrace their significance as a way of life. Makarenko opined that it is important we play with children and not lead the play. I believe that is how we should live with the children too.

Recently, I visited my friend’s house. His son had enthusiastically collected pictures of Cricket players and information regarding the matches and had aligned it so well in an album. With much hesitation, he showed me that decorated album of his. In no time, my friend and his wife started to scold him. When I asked him how he managed time to prepare it, he said he did it when his parents were not around.

Often, our children celebrate freedom when the parents are not around. Unfortunately, they are not like wise. They live in fear of our sight. “We rob the kid of his earth to show him geographics, of language to show him grammar”, says Rabindranath Tagore. How unfortunate, we, elders, do not realise that it is we who should adapt ourselves to that our children, to live a holistic life but we arrogantly think the other way around. “Every born child is a message that God is not disappointed (discouraged) in people”, are Tagore’s lines that call us to respond. Bishop Fulton Sheen emphasizes that in each child, God whispers a new secret to the world; adds a new dimension of immortality to creation.

Samuel stands as a perfect example to this. He lived in a time when God’s word was so scarce. It was in such times that little Samuel received God’s revelation and God’s word ( 1 Sam 3:1). We also could partake in such revelation when we live with children.

Living as Children and Living with Children are the two fruitful experiences of human life. God’s best gifts for human kind are children. May we learn to appreciate the lives of Children, and through their lives, may we learn to value ours and thereby inherit the kingdom of God.

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