“And he said: ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven…'” – Matthew 18:3-4
Children are born into this world tabula rasa – like a clean slate that will be filled gradually first by their parents and immediate family and later by their peers and their teachers. Hence, the onus is on everybody in general but the parents specifically to teach them well. I am sure everyone is familiar with these lines from a song: “I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside.” (The greatest love of all)
Unfortunately, more often than not, the innocent children’s minds are filled with the prejudices and all the negative thinking of their parents. When I was teaching, I had encountered students who were very vocal in expressing their prejudices against people of other races, and I would ask them, “Are those ideas your own, or have your minds been poisoned by others to make you think in such a manner?” These children were from vernacular schools and even upon entering secondary school, owing to the location, they would not have much, if any, opportunity to mingle with people of other races.
The parents might not have taught them in the true sense of the word but what we should realise is that children pick up things very fast. Hasn’t it been said that they do not learn what is taught and instead they learn what is not taught? I remember when my girl was just a toddler, my parents took her out one day in their car. There was a car in front that was a bit slow, and suddenly she blurted out, “Stupid woman! Bloody fool!” Now, I never taught her that. So where do you think she learnt it from?
Thus, whenever I saw so much hatred, greed, selfishness, violence – all the negative elements in the young boys, I would wonder how they had been brought up or what kind of environment they had grown up in. Shouldn’t we bring up our children surrounding them with a lot of love and affection, shouldn’t we inculcate in them good moral and spiritual values? Shouldn’t we teach them not to bear a grudge against others simply because they may be different in certain ways from ourselves or do we just let the vicious cycle go on and on and on?
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” – Matthew 5:43-44
And the bottom line is we ourselves, in our everyday lives, should aspire to be like children with their inner beauty, their purity, their innocence. That is no easy task for us as after all, we are humans but no matter how many times we may fall, we should always get up and try again…
Have a Blessed Sunday, everyone.