Childlike But Not Childish
If you’ve had the privilege of observing preschool children on the playground, you will find that there is real freedom and growth in being childlike. These children are not bound by their socio-economic status or the history of their families. Their present pre-occupation lies in having fun, creating games, and letting their imagination run wild. I cannot even begin to quantify the precious moments of fun these preschoolers have had from basking in their childlikeness neither can I begin to recount the invaluable lessons I have gleaned from observation. Occasionally, we run into the problem of “best friends” vowing not to be friends again only for them to return the next day and become inseparable. It is so beautiful to observe the dynamics.
It is no wonder that in a figurative speech to his disciples, Christ stated that the Kingdom of Heaven belonged to little children. He was not literally implying that only little children would enter the Kingdom; instead, He was making a case for the principle called Humility or Open-mindedness. These are virtues that are more common in children than adults and yet adults have a greater need of possessing those traits. Let me clarify that childlikeness should not be equated with being childish, for childishness connotes foolishness or immaturity. Clearly, Christ was not asking people to be foolish. Childlikeness is a necessary ingredient for growth.
As an adult, I am ever persuaded of the fact that in order to mature, one must remain childlike. I know it is an oxymoron to coin the phrase “childlike adult”, but it is an ancient and proven attitude worth emulating. A childlike adult is one who acknowledges that they still have lots to learn in life. They know that inspite of their age, current knowledge, expertise and network, they must continue to learn. They are humble enough to accept constructive criticism and wise enough to know the difference between opportunity and disaster. They understand that a person who refuses to grow in different spheres and stages of their lives, is bound to “die” and/or become antiquated.
Many good companies and businesses have failed to thrive because they ceased learning. Gone are the days when a person’s grey hair was synonymous with age and wisdom. Today, there are teenagers’ and folks in their twenties who are greying but are none the wiser. Conversely, there are also adults in their 40’s and beyond who have not yet greyed but are childlike and wise. Undoubtedly, wisdom and humility are not determined by the color of one’s hair but by a person’s attitude. The people we hail as the global thinkers and inventors of our time are those who are open to learning and creating. The moment a person claims to know it all, is the very instance pride sets in and the inevitable downfall begins.
No wonder we are told to watch out for pride because it precedes a person’s downfall. So be openminded about life and be wise enough to know the difference between opportunity and disaster.