Listen to the child

I’ve happened to eavesdrop on a kid’s phone conversation today.

I was working in my living room and couldn’t help overhearing this kid next door talking to her mum and family on the phone. She was speaking on the balcony so I couldn’t have stopped listening even if I’d wanted to. But I didn’t, because what I heard was so out of place, almost surreal.

She must have been around 10-11, spending a few weeks at relatives. She was telling her mum about what had happened during the day.

She visited the zoo and was fascinated by all the different kinds of animals, but she was especially fond of the gorillas, because they were so human-like and she expected them to start talking at any minute.

Yet, she had the most fun rowing on the little lake with her aunt. She enjoyed it so much that she decided to take up rowing as a hobby, she said.

She was just about to hang up, but had a sudden idea and asked her mum to put her little sister on the line. She said something like this to her: “I know you’ve hurt your hand and it’s very painful, so I bought you a gift. I’m not telling you what it is, but I know you’ll like it a lot. It’s a pain-killer gift, because whenever you see it, you’re hand will stop hurting immediately. I’ll give it to you very soon when I see you.”

What she said was fascinating by itself, but the way she said it left me flabbergasted. She talked to her little sister like lovers do. She was feeling the pain her sister was and did her very best to help her. And when she said “I love you all” at the end of the conversation, it wasn’t a tiny bit mechanical, she meant it.

We have plenty to learn from children: honesty, affection, curiosity, enthusiasm, trust and devotion just to name a few.

We all have an innocent child living within us. It speaks to us all the time, but its gentle voice doesn’t often make it through the many layers of knowledge, manners, culture and expectations we buried it under.

Listen to the child within.

That’s the real you speaking.