Have you tried to see people as children? It’s not a hard exercise, really. When one has lived long enough to have seen people of different ages, from infant to extremely elderly, one can look at a child and imagine what that child would look like decades from now. The reverse is also possible. We can try to draw out the child that an old person was many decades before.
That’s one way of looking at it. There’s another. Consider the following note on the subject.
‘My mother taught me to always look at people as children. “Some mother’s child,” she would say, repeatedly. Often, she would add something else: “That mother wanted the best for them.” As in, that mother did not wish for their child to grow up to be awful, mean-spirited, a liar, thief, pauper, abandoned, lonely, addicted, so forth. That mother wanted their child to be treated well, to be loved, to be respected, to be cherished.’
If you’ve passed the school gates within which some child was sitting for an examination, you might notice anxious parents hovering outside. They worry. They pray, some of them at least. They hope for the best. They utter words of encouragement as their children walk in. They bless them. When they come out, they try to read the eyes of their children. They try to get a sense of whether the children are thrilled or distraught or feel something between these extremes. It is second nature for a parent to quickly wear the face appropriate to the feelings apparent on a child’s face. They may get it wrong, of course. Sometimes even if they get it right, a child, a child might not appreciate the instinctive response of a parent.
One thing is clear. Most parents wish nothing less than the best for their children. We all know this. A few minutes of reflections on one’s parents, even if we are displeased with them for whatever reason at the particular moment, is all it takes to realize that we are not appreciative enough.
We all know that they played and still play (as the case may be) an important role in our lives. However, we don’t advertise the fact. Well, we might acknowledge, but that is rare, apart from such sentiments expressed on three-wheelers. Naturally, we see the person before us. We think of the individual who writes, talks or does something else. We think of a person who was reticent when boldness was required, bullish when reticence was called for. We notice a lot of things about people. We don’t notice the mother that was or is a part of the person’s life.
‘Some mother’s child,’ is not something that comes easily to mind.
What if we did think ‘mother’? It’s not easy to get past an ‘awful, mean-spirited, lying, thieving no-good’ person, especially if he or she is in your face. It’s hard to see the person as a child. However if we made a habit of preambling ‘some mother’s child,’ before analysis and judgment, the engagement, even if it wasn’t genial, would at least not be caustic to the point of corrosion.’
It’s something we can do. It’s something we can repeat to one and all, especially our children. It’s not hard.
‘He/she is some mother’s child. That mother wanted the best for him/her.’
So very easy.
The particular child of the particular mother who shared the sentiments mentioned at the beginning, had this also to say: ‘Every time I look at someone I see their mother behind them, hoping against hope. And wherever there is a mother I see a child. It’s a good enough circle for me. Blessed, in fact.’
Good enough circles. Yes.
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