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The Child Is The Father of Man

“The child is the father of man” – this thought-provoking expression was introduced to the world by the famous English poet, William Wordsworth. He used this phrase in his poem, “My heart leaps up” (also known as The Rainbow). This quote has made its way into the mainstream culture and is interpreted in a somewhat unique way by anyone who reads it. This is a distinctive trait of all forms of art including poetry, and no one interpretation is better or worse than another. It’s just another perspective.

In my own opinion, this phrase means that we can learn a lot from each one of our children. We should nurture the natural traits of our kids rather than push our expectations of certain behaviors upon them. This process of raising our children, that is good parenthood can be the most valuable contribution to shaping the future of this wondrous, beautiful, but sometimes unpredictable world.

Let us reflect upon the current time where we are always advised to live in the present moment. Mindful meditation is the buzzword for today. “Living mindfully will help you find focus, calm, and joy”, is touted by the wise, experienced teachers of religion/spirituality today.

Can we teach ourselves to practice this better than our children? Just observe the behavior of kids in infancy/early childhood for a few minutes. They are fully engaged in whatever they do. They definitely know how to live in the moment – whether that be eating, playing with a friend, or their favorite toy. Yet, they are also bonding with their parents and other family members during the early stages of growth.

A story that I read during my early childhood and one that left a deep imprint on my mind and heart is worth sharing. The name of this story is, “The Lost Child” by a famous Indian novelist, Mulk Raj Anand. In this story, a young child visits the spring fair with his parents. He gets attracted by the variety of toys, merry-go-round rides, and delicious desserts, and like any other child, he wants to try everything. However, as he playfully runs from one attraction to another, he loses contact with his parents. A sympathetic stranger befriends him and tries to help him locate his parents. During this journey, he tries to distract the lost child from all the attractions at the fair. However, by that time the tearful child can only say, “I want my mother, I want my father!”

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