Children grow up on and on, and so this paper on children lingers on, developing itself likewise. This paper touches on many themes that children with us would love to toy with, randomly yet coherently, exactly as children grow up without planning yet quite orderly and naturally, and as we simply keep living on from one day to the next without reflecting back, and turn out living onward sensibly. As a result, this paper is so attractive if not fabulous, as children are absolutely enticing and enthralling, and as we are humanly decent and presentable, and quite respectable as well. Children show themselves in this paper as we tell of them with this paper, all so delightful. The content of research regarding children is rich. The core idea of research is that children imply various interpretations to us. Children may be called the realm of no realm, realm without limit. They have no maturity, no knowledge, need caring, and constantly ask questions. Perhaps being with children helps us come closest to such a situation about “all-power”, “Dusk that begins to yet to begin”, “Uzzah”, “Kids are we; we are kids”, “Begin”, “Alive”, “Historic”, “Play” and “Immature”.
Thus, what is the main problem the paper is going to solve? This paper does not to solve a problem. Instead, this paper explores what inspirations children give us and what we can learn from them. As Mencius (2005) said, “The great man is he who does not lose his childlike heart.”
2. Kids All-Power
We have power that oppresses people. We also have power that draws in people. Oppressive power crushes you dead. Drawing power makes you so happy. Oppression is adult violence that kills. The power that kills all inevitably ends up killing itself sooner than later. The power that draws us into joys enables us to live long, happily ever after. Such drawing power begins things, and the beginning is always tender and wobbly. The tender children typically draw us into joy of living. In joy we serve such child-wobbly beginning of life. Children in their tender weakness draw us so strongly that no one would even think of resisting them at all. Soft tenderness can never be opposed.
Children in their soft ways conquer all of us. For example, their smile conquers us and makes us happy. We are all always won over, in delight. All religions applaud children as their ultimate culmination. We tenderly call children “kids” who always cleanse us into kids so beloved. Kids’ parents are intimate with their kids no matter how old their kids turn. Kids have no stain of duplicity or whatever that is indecent at all. Kids are totally pure to purify us all. No door at all can be closed to kids knocking on it, casually or in earnest. How could anyone resist their tiny knocks barely audible?
We even adore kids as our perfect teachers sent from above, to show us how to behave and live on as truly human. Kids are the beginning of everything and every life―to yet to begin them. So, kids as all-beginning are forever fresh and pure, for beginning is ever fresh ever pure. Tiny tots hopping around brighten things jumping alive. Merely mentioning “kids” lightens all our loads up into smiles. Kids so chocolate-messy make Granny ever smiling. Kids are invincible, indeed.
“Now, pal. You are putting the cart before the horse. It is we adults who originated kids, not kids, us. Kids follow us to grow up out of their immaturity, not we, them. They look up to us to learn from us, not we to them to learn from them. They need us to mature, not we, them.” I may now respond to him, and our dialogue continues. This debate was honestly handled in the last section, “children”, to culminate Kuang-ming Wu’s “Music Thinking”, soon to publish somewhere. We bypass all this here for the more important “kids at play.” The kids would resolve all our silly debates. After all, does it matter if we learn from kids or kids from us, or both from both? Is not all this silly adults at play? Isn’t playing as kids what is most crucial in living? Toward the end of his paper, kids-as-immature is meditated on. All this while, however, kids just hop, skip, and jump, playing through their days. In fact, kids may take such silly adult-wrangling as adults at play! Kids are forever at play.
Kids are kids, and adults are adults. The twain may not meet often but they should always meet and blend into one another, and play together. How could anyone resist these tiny tots jumping alive at play? Nothing is more precious than the kids’ blend of casual soiled mess with their purity, all so casual, so natural, and so wobbly happy. And nothing is more powerful than such kid-wobbly beginning of all things to yet to begin, so enthralling so happy. We adults should always blend into such kid-joys of kid-beginning, world without end!
3. Dusk that Begins to Yet to Begin
Looking out from the window, kids whisper “wow” at dusk. Floating faint iridescence of flowing clouds so casual, tiny birds that we almost fail to spot encircling as they chirp fresh silence―these spectacles go on and on, world without end. These scenes compose the glorious dusk so irresistible. Such dusk-scene seems so spectacular, and yet this is just one scene that happens to make up the ordinary dusk today.
All this continues to echo with hills far, to compose a mere touch of casual dusk absolutely awesome―and all this is already modestly vanishing unawares. While awestruck, kids are softly nudged by Mom into their tiny pillows and cute beds, for their mysterious dreams to begin their tomorrow completely unknown yet completely fresh as kids themselves. Kids grow from fresh now here to fresh over there then, constantly and for ever fresh. It is thus that kids are themselves forever fresh.
But now here comes a tough case, bluntly told of in 2 Samuel 6: 6 - 7. However we take it, this incident shocks our sanity. The ark was the crystalline focus of precious contract of tender love between the divine and the human. While being transported on the rough road so bumpy, this ark happened to fall over out of carriage. Uzzah instinctively stretched hand to support it―and was instantly dead! This sudden death-event was stunningly senseless to us. The death happened over the love-contract! My whole world shudders at the foundation in fear and trembling, at this eternal mystery absolutely terrifying, beyond all human wits.
The kids would then toddle in and confidently say, “But you know all this, right, Dad God?” And then they would give all “such stuff” to their God they absolutely trust in. Kids are used―as we are not―to things they do not understand as we do not, either. We must follow kids to follow our Dad our God, no matter what. We the kids of our Father God keep telling him what we see, good ones and sad ones. Jesus our big Brother tells us a story of a servant, having been forgiven his enormous debt of many millions of dollars. He then turns around to throw his debtor into jail until his debt of a hundred dollars is paid off. Sad at the situation, fellow servants went and told all this, as kids do, to their master (Matthew 18: 31). Enraged, the master handled the matter appropriately. Mind you. They just told it to the master; they did nothing.
We do not touch the matter, either, lest we die with Uzzah. We tell of it heartfelt, as kids and those servants do, to God our Master and our Dad. We tell all of it, from the bottom of our hearts and souls. We call our telling “praying”. We keep living while we keep praying, as kids simply live on as they are constantly praying-and-telling to their parents as they play. Such show-and-tell should be our constant way to live our rough days when our beloved ark of love often falls off carriage.
Of course our precious ark that is our filial love to our Father our God, can often stumble over on the bumpy road of our rough days. We should never stretch hand trying desperately to patch things up. We will die with Uzzah. We can only kneel down and confess to our troubles to our Father our God. He will surely fix them for us, assured by our Brother Jesus on the cross and on his Resurrection Dawn. Kids are ever here with us, to assure us that we are kids to our Dad our God who is with us and with kid-Brother Jesus at our side, ever and ever, world without end. Kids teach us not to touch but to tell.
5. Kids Are We; We Are Kids
Kids keep pestering Granny. Tiny missy Lulu insists, “You MUST come here live with me, Gumma!” “I have a work to do here, dear.” “You can find work here, Gumma! I want YOU!” and their phone lingered on. That whole night, Granny could not sleep over her very own Lulu so BIG so tiny, and so tender so insistent, ever so world-precious indeed. Granny’s days are kept so fresh so alive by her BIG tiny Lulu so powerful over her. Our days keep following these precious kids as Lulu. Kids literally live every single day of ours, keeping all our days kid-fresh and jumping alive! We are all won over!
In fact, we cannot live without these pestering kids so messy so intruding and constantly in our way. And kids could not care less but only care to have fun playing on and on. All this while, kids instinctively rely on us as they forget us while at play, ever so chocolate-messy and so sweaty-dirty. In this way, kids keep their Granny wrinkled-smiling, shaking her white head. O how much alive these kids keep Granny and us! O how much fun these kids keep giving us!
We simply cannot get over kids who give us nothing but pesky troubles. They always but into our way and keep intruding into our important engagement each time we even try to begin it! Kids are our constant troubles as they are our constant trouble-makers―and precisely as such, kids are our intense joys. Don’t ask me why or how all this is so. Such is just the amazing fact called “kids”. Kids make up much more than half of our usual days.
We cannot live without kids who are our constant trouble-makers. We cannot even waste our precious time without kids to waste our time on us! All this while as we cannot live without pestering kids, we of course wish kids would go away elsewhere. Still, while they are asleep, we wonder when they would wake up to trouble us. While they are awake and playing pranks on us, we wonder when they will go for a nap that “they need”! We pretend we are so wise in all this! Such impossible rounds of days “go on for ever”! All parents would know what I have been talking about!
We entrust kids to Granny while we do business elsewhere, and we miss them all the way! We hug them so dirty, we wash them so fresh, and then they push us away. They want to rush out to play with play-pals, you see. They want their play-pals, not us, while they need us every step of their toddling way. They compose us as we compose them. We live in them as they live us. We are they so precious, as they are “we” so indispensable―all totally without rhyme or reason.
Especially, kids are us. Kids always but into us and disturb us. They step on our business into bits and pieces, all so noisy all so topsy-turvy. They even grab away our pen from us as we write, and we have to beg it back and say “thank you” to them. They are so happy hearing our “thank you”, as we are so happy seeing them happy. Such silly routine keeps on repeating day after day, even evening after evening, until they finally go to bed, and we then get lonely, missing them. We would tiptoe into their bedroom to steal a look at them so peaceful, dreaming. We are totally lonesome without them disturbing us and annoying us.
Again, don’t ask me why or how such nonsense composes our adult life that is supposedly orderly. We always live this kid-way every single day of our life, happily pesky ever after, jumping chaotic alive. Our adult life is all in kid-nonsense so absolutely chaotic and so totally irresistible. Such joy! O such pesky joy of adult-kid life! All this is our kid-joy of life we cannot live without. Kids even make us forget whatever obligation we ought to fulfill. Kid-life is incontestably topsy-turvy chaos, jumping alive. If we pull our kids out of us, we are literary gone nowhere, without rhyme or reason.
A mere look at a picture of a baby relieves me of pent-up worries. Kids in their purity purify away our cluttered pain. Kids but into me and begin to yet to begin my new self. Kids are my midwives. Socrates is a kid-midwife. Socrates’ dialogical midwifery helps give birth to a new person. So, Socrates begins to yet to begin a new life, exactly as all kids do.
All kids begin. Beginning is immature and wobbly, ever toddling forward. “The blue is out of indigo and grows bluer than indigo,” says Hsün Tzu 荀子 to begin his book. Kids are the blue-power to grow out of indigo to grow bluer and bluer, world without end. We are awestruck at kid’s blue-power of immaturity that grows wobbly unlimited. Kids are a calf so young that totters when its mother licks it with her tongue, as Robert Frost (1975: p. 1) was so impressed, “I’m going out to fetch the little calf/That’s standing by the mother. It’s so young. It totters when she licks it with her tongue.”
Such is the kid-power that draws us. We are all won over by kid’s tender immaturity ever so powerful. We are forever “stranded” on the kids ever on the wobbly grow. Our “ever” is forever kids forever 13 or less.
The true meaning of each notion appears for the very first time in the universe, and the meaning comes to the child alive, vivid, thrilling, all rolled up all total as it is, all entirely fresh. Even trash is treasure to cherish. The world where even trash deserves cherishing is the world all sparkling with treasures all over. This is the world of the kids. Here there is no dull trash.
All things here are alive talking to you, and you, and you. Every single thing is a Thou so impressive and memorable. “Bad” fascinates; “vile” plays. “Cruel” is a vivid pain of being teased by big bully boys. Kids can be cruel without ill-will but ever tender. Even an adult in his 80s still remembers like yesterday the first song he struggled to sing, and some trash stories starkly short, and some casual scenes ever etched as present here now alive.
I used to resent so very much at being shouted at with scary sharp “Kid!” “Hi, Gumma!” I also shouted on my first visit, and a scary night alone in kid-bed still seeps into me bone-chilly, here now, when I am a grandfather. And the list goes on of such things so kid-memorable and so kid-stark. All such “kid-stuff” so vivid, casual, and deep-embedded, viscerally composes the fresh kid-world out there so rich, un-erase-able.
The kid-world is so alive and totally incapable of erasing off, because the kid-world so refreshing is the kids themselves moving and having their being, thrilling and profoundly authentic. Each child is a complete world so awesome. We are awestruck at the children awestruck at being shouted at, to compose their total world that is themselves. Even kid’s toddling scribbles are ponderous and profound, too precious to casually throw into the waste-basket.
What we take as their “mistakes” are no mistakes but living try-again. Each word is seriously meant, and duplicity is nowhere. Kids play “cheating” so much fun. Kids relish everything, and so every kid is relished and cherished. Kids even scold me to make me so happy. “Yes, all my darlings! I’m so dumb so clumsy. I can’t even play with you folks!” My being happy with them scolding me is an overflow from their being happy all over so enormous. Their pain is bottomless, and yet it is short-lived. In their pain, the whole world is torn to pieces to end the world. And then, the torn-up world comes back together again whole and total.
Crises keep erupting one after another to make up kid-world of all-crises. These crises begin things to yet to begin them. These crises actually reflect the kids themselves broken up in pieces often―after all, they are soft and vulnerable―only to patch themselves back up in no time, to begin all over again and again. All this chaos is why kids are the beginning, for no beginning is stable and complete but ever in crisis.
It is thus that kids are the creators of the new worlds so breathless. All is kid-stuff so great indeed. All is fascinating in whatever comes. Whatever comes to kids is great. All is great venturing and kid-risky. Every kid takes risks which are part of kid-fun. All is fascinating―whatever comes is whatever is great, venturesome and risky. Each moment is a trip to the exotics.
There are always things spanking novel and worth exploring, totally unlimited. The sky is the limit and each trivial thing is the vast sky whirling alive. The whole world is each moment, enthralling-orderly and dizzily disorderly, filled with unexpected contradictions, each unsteady and so jumping alive. All such describes the fascinating world to kids as all this describes kids themselves as fascinating, world without end.
Meanwhile, kids hang on to Mom as they brush Mom’s hand away Mom is kid’s milieu in which kids live and move and have their being, and at the same time such Mom who enables them prevents them to do what they want, not knowing that what Mom stops is danger to their very survival. In such a way as this, Mom continues to softly guides kids on and on. Mom allows kids as Mom guides kids in a certain way, not otherwise. Kids keep brushing Mom away to venture ahead no matter what, only to fall and fall into Mom’s embrace with kisses unending.
We are all such kids of Mother Nature even in our 80s. Mom knows all this, as we admiringly say, “You know, right, Mom?” Kids so totally trust Mom as to give their all to Mom. All this while, kids keep brushing Mom aside as kids keep falling into Mom. Such is an exciting chaos of kids. We call it “growth” and “progress” throbbing and thrilling unlimited. All this description of kids is indescribable and breathtaking, full of surprises and wonders.
“Far” is “O Mom! I’m lost!” assure our primal Zulu friends (Buber, 1958: p. 31) . So, lost-far is “Mom” who is not lost. I am lost far in Mom not lost so near, for Mom wombs me forth at each moment, even when I am lost far. “Far” is lost, and yet not-lost as Mom is ever under me to enable me to lose my way far, vastly far. This is the incredible world of the kids, who are often so far lost yet so near Mom, constantly.
Kid’s home is Mother Nature that is kid’s brave new world, so far lost and so near as Mom’s womb to kid. All this is absolutely womb-orderly and yet all lost, totally topsy-turvy. After all, “You know, right, Mom?” Mom is the universal pivot of the whole wide world, so near and so far, familiar near and unfamiliar far, not-lost in Mom and lost impossibly far. All this strange world is all kid’s own so thrilling and so throbbing alive. All this is intimate as my Mom and yet as alive and strange to me as an alien region so chilly so kid-scary. Kids here shout, “O Mom, I’m lost!” so far.
It is precisely here strangely kid-unfamiliar that brave new creation erupts. This is how kids are invincible creator of the strangely new world, at each moment when kids are scared. Here everything is eerie alive, and anything alive is strangely unpredictable, for anything surprising can happen at any kid-scary moment. Creation is scary and miraculous. Everything is sitting on top of volcano that would explode in creation at any moment. Let us repeat here. This is the world of the kids so explosively surprising. It is here that kids begin to yet to begin the brave new creation that is all kids’ own.
Kid’s brave new world is ever fresh. Each moment erupts afresh as new creation, because, after all, there is no “old creation”. Kids are new, their novelty creates, and their new creation continues to surprise everyone, including the kids themselves, who are therefore constantly excited at each moment, to turn out constantly exciting themselves. Nothing is more exciting and alive than the kids just beginning to yet to begin, and of course creation begins the unpredictable creation of the brave new world. Did I repeat? Well, creation constantly repeats the new creation, and nothing new repeats. New creation repeats without repeating at all.
This kid-world constantly self-creating is constantly fresh as it refreshes itself at each moment. Nothing is more tender, pure, and jumping alive than this kid-world, as kids themselves are forever novel at each moment, as there is no “dull kid” anywhere. Joys infinitely various and numerous now flow out all over. Whatever erupts existing is joy all afresh, forever singing joys manifold wonder-full, confident and spanking real.
All in the world everywhere is kid-alive, ever growing. And yet at the same time things are ever staying stable as a moment ago that has stayed put. All this fact is due to the invincible actuality that kids constantly begin to yet to begin things. Barely at the beginning of things otherwise than a moment ago, when that “old beginning” ends to begin this “new beginning”, is the real beginning of real creation, of the brave new world spanking exciting and so fascinating. No wonder, all kids are so fascinating, world without end!
What is strange here is that I always forget, as kids always forget in order to grow out of what is forgotten. I myself am the kid called “today” tender and mild. “Today” is growing here now out of here now into yesterday. I am the kid-today who constantly begins to yet to begin today. Such a beginning is itself “today” growing without ceasing, from tomorrow yet to come to become today here now, into yesterday no longer here now, barely memorable. All this while, I-today here now keep forgetting all this to un-clutter the junk collected into “yesterday”. And then Mr. History comes along to remind me of all this, to re-enact this drama-of-time in front of my existence here now today.
History in this way enables me to re-live my today-into-yesterday, right here now today. This is an exciting duplication of today over today. This duplication is so awesome, so historic, and so kid-alive. My history is rolling back time-progress without stopping time-progressing forward. All this while―“while” is time-drama of history―I-today keep growing in this historical way as I keep forgetting and keep being reminded. I am the kid so historic so self-forgetting, and so history-reminding, duplicating me-today on and on, forever onward.
Of course all kids grow, constantly in this way of time-drama historic. I am kid-history quite historic. Nothing is special here, for all this just recited what is usually the case. And yet, as such, everything here is so human so special and so historic, as all this never describes a static stone. Being human, I am historical, and thanks to my being historical, mere stones are now historical around me. The kids today beginning to grow to yet to begin, on and on, create the world into new kid-history, world without end.
This is history that describes how I live on. History that is I myself always begins and has no end. I am history quite stupendous. This is because I am kid-today repeatedly growing up, and each repeated stage of growing up is spanking new, forever a brave new history, world without end. No wonder, history that is I myself is stupendously brand new. I am history that rhymes forward―history never goes back!―repeating yet never to repeat identically but ever patterning itself ahead spanking new. History describes new kids growing alive, having no end at all.
I am the kid today who is of course forever growing fresh ever afresh. I am the kid historic and kid human. History is what I make (by living today onward) in which I live, have my being, and grow human―and at the same time add another new “brave new world” a day at a time, constantly. History is kid’s world-drama that I am, world without end at all, all so stupendous.
If there were no “here now” of today, there would be no not-yet of tomorrow or no-more of yesterday. If there were no not-yet of tomorrow to look forward to and grow up to, and no-more of history of yesterday to reminisce fondly to solidify today, there would be no sensible today to speak of. These three timely sisters inter-depend to inter-exist and to inter-support, thereby to inter-cherish and inter-enjoy. Three-in-one joy and ongoing are how my simple self live on, and happily growing ever after. All this describes me myself so ordinary as a growing kid. And yet as such, this growing kid so ordinary is stunning extraordinary and historic indeed. No stone could have ever done so.
Such is I the kid jumping alive and constantly growing. This is my life here now of today that creates my no-longer of death in yesterday. It is my life here now of today that composes the no-longer of death of yesterday. Death is alive as yesterday so memorable and nostalgic, to firm up today. Death supports life as life creates death. Such is kid’s world all vibrant all historic.
My “I the kid” is historic growth from death toward life. I am the kid absolutely impressive. I am history that is my Mother Nature, into whom I snuggle myself up. I am hugged and cherished by my Mom Nature, constantly embraced alive as her growing kid so healthy so historic. Even sickness is impossible without me in healthy history. I am historic par excellence.
Now, never mind history for a while. Don’t you hear such noisy kids? Just look at those kids all so sweaty-messy and all so chocolate-dirty! They are at play totally all-involved and absolutely self-forgotten. Anyone can join, the more the merrier, devil may care. “In such kid-happiness what should we all be doing?” We cannot help but join them, playing all our hearts out and all our souls forgotten, right? After all, what is life without such kid-joys all arbitrarily thrown around and all spread out around?
“Well, all this is fun, I admit. Kids so leisurely can afford to play because they are happy. Mired as we are in suffering, we can never afford such luxury. We can only sigh.” O my god, dear pal! You are entirely wrong. You are putting the cart before the horse. It is not that the kids play because they are happy. It is rather that they are happy because they play day in and day out. As musician Menuhin said, music is an essential luxury of life.
Music therapy is effective because music is life-therapy. Let me cite just one example. “O what peace we often forfeit!/O what needless pain we bear!/All because we do not carry/Everything to God in prayer.” This is the last part of the first song of the well-known hymnal “What a Friend we have in Jesus.” Singing this stanza during times of sorrow has restored so many times my sanity in kid-vigor. Music is indeed my luxurious essential to my living days continuous.
Likewise, play is the fabulous luxury essential, indispensably added on to our nitty-gritty of life-toils, to lift life up into joy that is the essence of our days. After all, we live for happy joys and play is the sinew of life-joy, as kids at play abundantly show. And so, play is the panacea the cure-all of life. Play is the essential tonic to vigorous living. And so, kids at play are kids as life-vibrant. Those tender kids at play are so powerful and so all-drawing that no one anywhere in the world can resist them, ever.
Actually, no one anywhere can stand in the way of kids at play, ever shouting, ever grabbing, and never to stop laughing. Kids at play chase the running dogs so happy, throw their baby-blankets all around, and dodge one another as they chase after one another. Such play makes things happen in joys and chases away all dark sorrows. At any time when you are in pain, you must then go out and play with grabbing kids so tender so messy, and so lovable.
After all, joy itself is as messy as play is. Messy is life in joy all so kid-messy. Don’t you agree? Go out and play with kids at play so noisy. You will like the kids at messy play. You will be so happy that you will forget everything, sorrows included. Today at kid-play is eternity all ecstatic, with kids at play all-ecstatic. Play makes all playmates forget all things, all embraced in playful ecstasy. Mother Nature is smiling with Granny shaking her white head, also smiling without ceasing.
“What do we need to do to prepare for playing with kids?” We need nothing to prepare. Just go out as you are and plunge into playing with kids at play. You go out just as kids who cannot wait to rush outdoors to play shouting and running around, for nothing. Kids have to rush outdoors because the space indoors is too confined and too restricted to wildly run and shout to the vast sky.
In rushing and running, play lets erupt wild ecstasy insanely playful. Kids outdoors need not mind baby-sister sleeping. All such in fact is the kids. Ecstatic play is nothing but kids. Kids at play present the all-perfection of the divine kingdom up there. Kids shouting are the perfect kingdom in heaven descended to this mundane earth, so as to turn the dull earth into exciting kid-heaven, as heaven should always be.
No wonder, the whole hosts of heaven break up the nightly silence to chant all glorious joys, when the misshaped tender baby was born at shy dawn in an inconspicuous small town of Bethlehem, so small as to fit the tiny baby. After all, all babies are obscure but all ecstatically please their parents. All too soon, these babies grow up to play with their tiny fingers, “This little pig went to market.” This little pig is the baby, and the market is the parent so wildly happy. How could anyone resist such innocent joys unspeakable? “Joy to the world” is at play among worldly kids at play so messy. And these wild tender kids could not care less about all “such stuff” they don’t understand.
“Are you a kid? Can we play?” a tiny missy so shy asked. “I guess so,” answered my daughter Mary. And then, O, what joys they found at play! That was perfect heaven on earth, ever! Kid-joy is at kid-play. Play is joy indeed. No sorrow or pain can be found here anywhere at play. Kids are at-play. Nothing more can be asked for. Play is the ultimate beginning. Play is the ultimate end, world without end.
Being at kid-play, I just let myself go, as tree leaves keep playing in soft breeze, and as a cool gulp of water playfully flows down my throat so soothing. And that is that, as play just pleases my days without reason but with pleasing rhyme. Kids are right here right now, so intimate, so messy, and so casual at play. Play has the last word to begin the world, continuing to sing the world at play among kids.
Joy ultimate is here, simply and all of it, as a brute fact. Such full joy is kids at play intimately, absolutely, and ultimately. Kids are always at play, and play is always invincibly pleasant. Don’t ask me why. Play, kids, and pleasure are just three in one, absolutely vibrant. Such is a brute kid-fact in simple kid-joy, without rhyme or reason. Kids at play accomplish this kid-joy. Play is the essence of life in kid-joy.
“Sit here, Dad. Sit there, Gumpa. We discuss,” said a kid five years old. “OK, what problems are we going to discuss?” “M, m. We discuss.” We adults discuss problems. Kids have no problems. When kids have no problems, those “problems” they overhear are toys to play with. Kids play with problems. No wonder, kids play, and the playing kids are always happy day in and day out. We had better follow them. Confucius wisely followed a baby-tiny kid who toddled as he pounded on an empty pot (Lu, 1996) . Both played walking. Play gives joy, to turn us grateful, happily ever after.
“Now, look here, pal. You’ve been pathetically bending over backward to praise the kids. You’ve been trying pathetically to blind yourself to this glaring and obvious fact that kids are immature. In fact, ‘kid’ means ‘immature’. Nothing immature deserves adoration at all, right?” Wow! This is a nakedly proud declaration that loudly announces typical adult snobbishness. An obvious retort is “Who then is mature?” This probing question opens out a fascinating contrast of kid-immaturity with adult-immaturity.
Have you ever noticed this startling fact, pal? Kid-immaturity is joy, while adult-immaturity is shame. Such is the contrast between kid’s life-as-joy and adult’s life as death shameful. In addition, the kids have no shame while the adults hide shame, and the adults hiding breed things quite ugly and un-seeming. Such a stark reality of fresh kids in sheer contrast to dull adults close to death invites exploration quite enthralling and significant for human life all over.
Being immature does not need to mean “staying immature”. Continuing to stay set in immaturity is inglorious, disdainful, and shameful. But actually “being immature” just says “not yet mature.” “Not yet” is an intense promise of future maturity to look forward to with hopeful joy. In this way, “being immature” implicates joy, and such joy is kid-immaturity. This kid-joy in promise harvests precious virtues. Kid-immaturity is priceless and intensely worth cherishing, then.
Kid-immaturity as described above implicates hope, humility, honesty, reverence, adoration, trust, eagerness to learn, curiosity, exploration, daily growth in progress, daily enrichment, fresh riches continuing to amass, and such list of joyous harvests goes on. Kid-immaturity is a dynamics of vigorous life ongoing in joy after joy of growth. If such life-vigor of kid-immaturity is not adorable, nothing is worth living. Kids immature are adorable precisely in their being immature.
In contrast, the above adult disdain may have come from taking “being immature” as staying-immature. Immaturity-in-itself is not a “not yet” but just a lack. To stay in lack is sadly shameful, and so we are inclined to hide the shame. Hiding typifies adult duplicity. Kids never hide. They at most pretend to hide and giggle. Serious hiding typifies adult-decadence that is no longer growing. No-growth is no-life, a death. Hiding the shame of no-growth expresses adult-death. It is living death quite duplicitous.
Of course the adults are justly proud of “progress,” but this adult-pride has no dynamics of kid-immaturity. The adults do not realize, and unwilling to admit if they do realize, that adult-progress would have been impossible without the vibrant hope of kid-immaturity that the adults despise. Such adult-disdain, plus their proud refusal to cherish kid-immaturity, these two acts sadly expose the adult-shame of adult domineering decadence―of staying proudly immature and dying. This dying happens precisely in the name of “adult-maturity” that is a white-wash over the grave of adult-pride of maturity.
This important point cannot be repeated too often. “Staying immature” in the false name of “adult maturity” could have come from the false adult pride that “being an adult” is “being already mature” in no need to grow. The adults never realize that stopping growth stops being alive. No-growth describes death while vainly drawing breath. No-growth of no kid-immaturity is adult’s living death. The adult-disdain of kid-immaturity kills adults. Such adult-pride that looks down on vigorous kid-immaturity is so sad, as adult death is so sad. Adult-disdain of kid-immaturity kills adults themselves.
Resuscitation of adulthood lies in cherishing kid-immaturity in amazed adoration. The adults must learn from kid-immaturity in complete admiration and fresh reverence. And then, the adults will turn into vigorous kids and cherish adult’s own dynamic kid-immaturity, to grow in joy of progress based on kid-immaturity. Adults are now kids enough to take care of kids in complete reverence of their precious kids deeply loved.
Genius Edison observes and says that genius is made of 1% of inspiration and 99% of perspiration. This is to say that genius is composed of 99% of kid-immaturity, spurred on by 1% of occasional insights, both kid’s and adult’s. Adult progress is made of kid-immaturity growing up by degrees in meticulous kid-steps, one toddling step at a time, each time wobbling uncertain, all in kid-immaturity. Proud adulthood must look up to kid-immaturity to learn from it, in order to turn truly human jumping alive, growing in joys of kids growing, all immature. Far from disdaining kids, kid-immaturity must be enthusiastically embraced, looked up to, and learned reverently.
The “progress” so much boasted by proud adults is actually riddled with defects. Defects make progress. Shameful defects are strewn all over to make adult-progress. This shameful fact of progress is never mentioned because adult pride hides it. Freud was at first avidly and universally extolled as “the Father of Psychology”. Today, every psychologist worthy of the name would be above claiming himself as a “Freudian”, which is a term of dated defect. All initial shines fade sooner than later, in the name of “progress”. Progress is an act of throwing dated stuff into wastebaskets of time forward.
Newton’s absolute space-time was absolutely embraced by Kant into his system of First Critique, and he thereby captured the position of the “standard” in philosophy. And then Newton’s absolutism was taken over by Einstein’s relativity, and many tried to set up a system on the basis of relativity, such as Sartre, Bergson, Camus, Merleau-Ponty. None has captured the enviable position of Kant-like “standard.” Perhaps “open system” sounds an impossible contradiction. We must wait for someone naughty enough to crank out an ingenious interpretation of “open system” as legitimate. This someone will be a brave kid undaunted. Such is progress not quite admirable in sight.
In any case, it is in this way that adult progress is littered with discarded defects. All this while, the kids just give all their half-broken toys to Mom in whom they completely trust. And Mom happily collects these precious bits and pieces given up by her precious kids. Their trash is her treasure totally irreplaceable. These defect-treasures are never shameful at all. These priceless pieces left by priceless kids are produced by kid-immaturity that continues to grow onward, one day at a time, so priceless to Mom―and to the kids. Kid-immaturity keeps producing “junk” forever fresh, cherished by Mom forever.
Now, juxtaposing wastebasket of time with Mom lovingly collecting growing kids’ broken toys starkly tells us of what the correct viewing of progress is. It is that progress is enabled by kid-immaturity. As we are legitimately proud of progress, so we do well to cherish kid-immaturity so essential to growth, and so absolutely required of progress. The adults simply must adore and reverently learn from kid-immaturity, on pain of adult-death. Adult’s survival and progress hang on adoring kid-immaturity, no ifs and no buts.
Now, however, after all is said and developed as above, I am still uneasy. The initial accusation quoted to begin this section seems still valid, for, honestly, how could we adore immaturity of a kid? Immaturity is a nothing (not mature) and kid is a nothing (not adult). No one can adore a nothing. This paper has harped on absurdity. So our casual common sense would tell us. Sadly, however, this common sense pulls time-dynamics out of the kid-situation ever in time jumping alive. Let us watch time.
Time continues to flow from the not-yet to the here-now into the no-longer. What begins the time-flow is the future the not-yet. The future no-yet is not―yet. The future nowhere is a not-power, a special nothing-potency of potentiality that pushes time forward. This potency is called “kid immaturity” thrusting us all into the future empty-power, which brings about whatever exists here now. The nothing-empty of the future is the potential that is so potent as to create the now.
Kid-immaturity, for all its empty nothingness, potently begins to yet to begin the world here now. And so, to adore this kid-immaturity is to embrace this incredible potentiality that is the potency that begins all things. To adore kid-immaturity is to infuse into actualized adulthood an additional fresh potency of kid-potentiality, which is jumping alive in kid-immaturity. This kid-immaturity is yet to potently mature, so as to begin to yet to begin to create all things whatever (Wu, 1996) .
Thus it is that we hug our precious kids as they grow up and up. As we cherish these messy kids and care for them, their tremendous kid-potency of immaturity rubs on us who are otherwise so exhausted. Now, with these jumping kids, we also begin to yet to begin living it up kid-alive today, and then next today, and then another today, world without end. We begin without ending, ever alive, ever afresh, and ever stubbornly hopeful and ever happily.
Our precious kids now spread far and wide, as we begin living here, and here, and then here. All this while, we continue to cherish this kid, and then cherish this kid, and then this other one, one at a time, another one at another time, all in kid-potency of kid-immaturity so wobbly so precious, and all forever afresh. O our happy today, world without end, ever at the kid-cutting edge of today! We are the ever fresh kids we hug today, beginning to yet to begin, and again so wobbly so happy, and so hopeful, onward today! And now we are at it again today, and today! We are ever the potent kids we hug and cherish! O what kid-joy so potent we are ever granted in kid-immaturity!
Now here I must confess. It is quite difficult to write about things I love, for writing about stuff requires distance, and things loved are too close to write about. Obviously then, it is hard if not impossible to write about stuff I love, for love is close, writing needs to be not-close. Only those out of their mind can sensibly say, “Among all things I’ve lost, I miss my mind most.” It would have been impossible for those in their mind to say so and make sense, as one must be minded to miss anything, and so, mind missed, one cannot miss it. But if one is out of mind, one can miss mind that one has lost. I cannot write about kids I so tenderly love heartfelt. They are too close to me for me to write about them at all. I have to write not about but with kids and as kids, and thereby present kids as they vibrantly live their days, devil may care. I do hope that this modest paper did perform kids accurately enough to present kids as they are, jumping alive, one day at a time, world without end.
11. Contributions and Limitations
The contribution of this paper is that it brings new appreciations of children to the adults. By reversing our assumptions that children are irritable, unpredictable, and irrational, this paper contributes to the literature that children are actually creative, playful, devoted, concentrated, and pure. From the explorations of these characteristics of children, the paper found that the inspirations from children could actually strengthen and awaken adults in various ways. For example, children’s playfulness inspires adults to be creative and enjoying their life and work. Children’s character of “alive” inspires adults to live mindfully and gracefully.
The limitations of this paper that there are limited supportive evidences for this paper. Recently, Seligman (2002) founded positive psychology to investigate human beings’ positive characters. In the future, this paper can elaborate children’s characters based on the principles of positive psychology.
In conclusion, this paper explores what we can learn from children. Different from most researches focusing on how to educating children, this paper extends Mencius’s (2005) suggestion, “The great man is he who does not lose his childlike heart,” to recognize 8 principles (e.g., “alive”, “play”, etc.) we adults can learn from children. Specifically, as Confucius (1998) mentioned, success comes from choosing what you love, and enjoy it just like a kid, and you will never have to work a day in your life. Playing and enjoying instead of making efforts in life are exactly what children inspire us. Living a life with passion also exemplifies children’s pureness and sincerity which inspire us to be genuine. In sum, this paper explores the characteristics of children to awaken adults’ exhausted minds and to inspire adults’ assumptions against children.