Sunday, 15 February 2015
laughter is resilience....
We think kids are smart and insightful when they act like us. When they talk like us. We think they are clever when they behave like adults.
But I think we are wrong.
I think we are overlooking the obvious wisdom of childhood. I think we show the limitations imposed by our own self-obsessedness when we fail to appreciate kids as kids. And more importantly, I think we are dumping on them the unbearable burden of self-consciousness before they are ready for it.
(And really, who is ever ready for it?)
Recently I was part of a conversation in which it was cited that this generation of children struggles with anxiety more than any generation before it. The “treatment” proposed for this was to help them to learn how their brains work, what their stress responses and triggers are, and how to respond consciously in moments of anxiety with specific exercises.
I’m not opposed to it. I think mindfulness may very well be a great gift to adults; maybe even adolescents. I just think that MORE thinking will not decrease anxiety. It might even be one of the root causes of anxiety; or at least a symptom of it. I think we have pathologized childhood because it is not like adulthood, and we have over-psychologized our children as a result. And we can’t find the way back to wholeness because there isn’t one. Humpty Dumpty has had a great fall.
(Or maybe he was pushed.)
If I were making a wish for the children of this generation, I would wish for them to have LESS self-awareness and more laughter, because in laughter lies resilience. I would wish for them the bliss of ignorance, of just being in the world because they are. Of taking the world and themselves LESS seriously. Of being able to see the hilarity of it all.
The great gift of childhood is its obliviousness. Its simplicity. The exquisite grace of NON-self-awareness. Like we had.
At least until puberty.