May We All Graduate From Kindergarten
Why Most Of Our Problems Would Disappear If We Honoured Our Inner Child
After marriage, people often ask the bride and groom if they will be having children. In my case as a newlywed, it would be unlikely. Not because I don’t love children. On the contrary, I love them so much that I feel I am already guardian to many. Whether or not we have children, I believe we always have at least one child to take care of: our inner child.
I am not a TV watcher. I don’t even own a TV, as I far prefer spending my time actively creating art or resting in the stillness of meditation to passively watching dramas unfold on a tinsel screen. Yet, being part of the entertainment industry, I check in periodically with current TV shows to keep me up to date with passing trends.
Yesterday I stumbled upon segments on YouTube from The Voice Kids, a show that holds blind auditions for children, where the coaches can only hear the voice and not see the singer. If the voice is selected, then the singer is revealed and must choose which coach he wishes to work with as he moves forward in the competition. Though any notion of childhood exploitation rests uneasily with me, I found the innocence that these young voices brought to the stage deeply refreshing. It disarmed and melted the hearts of the coaches. In their vocal sound alone, I could hear their open hearts touch their audience without the layers of pretense and wanting that I find older voices often carry. Though they were singing cover pop songs, their pure joy and unaffected simplicity was infectious.
When asked if she had any questions for the coaches, one child inquired, “Do you believe in Santa Claus?”. The coaches were taken aback and chuckled, all of them saying of course they did. But what I saw was a child asking if they believed in possibility, in otherness, in the notion of miracles and in the gift of life. These children, usually around ten years old, reminded me of when I was that age, singing my heart out in choirs and as a junior soloist. It was absolutely natural to feel connected while singing, and to sing, of course, for the angels. I was not yet in an adult world where I was told that Santa did not exist.
I often say that most disputes would be resolved if we could only remember kindergarten logic – if I break your toy, I fix it; if you break mine, you fix it. In a world of ego strutting, lawsuits and elbowing to get ahead, we can easily forget the simplicity of our interconnection and common sense ethical values that make the world a happier place.
The openness in the children I saw on YouTube was a refreshing contrast to another experience I had recently when interacting with a young man who, unlike these youngsters, had forgotten how to give voice to his radiant inner child. He was lent a new piece of expensive gear in perfect working order, only to return it broken. When presented with the repair bill, he refused to pay, saying it was not his fault. The man who had kindly lent the gear was saddled with an unexpected expense. No matter how acclaimed, influential, educated or socially prominent we may be, we have not yet graduated from kindergarten if we don’t possess basic kindness and respect.
We each are guardians of our inner child. We are called to take care of, listen to and honour the one within our heart and soul who knows exactly what she needs to follow her joy. That inner child is the one who sings effortlessly from her heart and shares that joyful light with the world. As we follow that joy, we are inevitably in a state of respect to all living things, because we honour and respect ourselves, which is connected to all.
As we age, we often forget the simplicity of our inner child’s expression, the things that make our soul sing. The shiny, bigwig complexities of life seduce our adult self and silence our inner voice. I could see this in this young man who refused to take responsibility for his actions. As I explore at length in my soon-to-be-published book “Confessions of a Former Yoga Junkie”, we all have a persona that feel is necessary to mask personal discomfort and inner pain. We trade in our open hearts to maintain a protective self-image that keeps us feeling powerful, yet deeply alone – until we realize it not only is safe but essential to honour our inner child.
Most of us spend a lot of our lives striving to upkeep the illusion of our ivory towers. We fool ourselves into thinking that they will make us feel happier than if we were to sing our soul’s delight while believing in Santa. Often our parents did the same. They did not know how to voice their inner child, so did not know how to nurture ours fully. At some point, we ended up developing an inner parent who busily chases passing clouds rather than cherishing the voice of our inner child.
Perhaps most legal cases, disagreements and wars around the world would never even begin if more people had graduated from kindergarten, honoured their inner child and remembered the simplicity of our interconnection. I cannot help but put this question to the Middle East, where egos flare, balance is lost and people are suffering – not just from the ravages of war, but from buying into illusions that we must fight for “mine” at the expense of the reality of “ours”.
We each are called to be parents to our inner child. As children of the Earth, we are stewards of the health of our planet, including caring for all living beings that live upon it. We are One Earth Family. Whether or not you have a physical child to call your own, each one of us has the opportunity to care for many children – our inner child, the child-like innocence of the natural world, and the people with whom we share this beautiful planet. Let us humbly remember this and simply love.
Fun times today with one of the beautiful children in my life, my five-year-old niece. Rishi, my mom and Geneva are being silly with funny hats, while Geneva sports her fabulous toilet paper boa and fly swatter flower.
Selfie with Rishi, Geneva and me in silly hats and the toilet paper cravat.
After time with mom and Geneva, Rishi and I could not help but get some gelato. Nothing says, “treat!” to my inner child like ice cream! (Or the adult, non-dairy, sugar-free version).