Through The Eyes Of A Child

datePosted on 22:17, June 5th, 2009 by Kosmic Kurt

Through the eyes of a child the world is a wonderful place. My wife and I recently returned from taking our daughter to an indoor waterpark resort to celebrate her 7th birthday. The resort was wonderful, but what really hit me was the diversity of people there. I was sitting in a lounge chair at the water’s edge of the wave pool watching the hundreds of children – and some adults – laughing and playing. Our daughter had befriended a little girl about her same age and the two were having great time playing together. They were also playing with several other children, as well. My daughter and her new friend are Caucasian, there were several African-Americans, Asians, and Middle-Eastern children, as well.

Now my daughter is being raised in a secular home (Atheist), her new friend was Christian (her father had a crucifix proudly displayed around his neck), the Asian children could have been practicing Buddhists, Confucians, or maybe even Shinto, and there was a little boy whose mother was wearing a hijab and was fully covered (my guess is they were Muslim). Atheists, Christians, Muslims and more all playing together and having fun. Oh no! The world must be coming to an end!

When recounting her adventures to us, our daughter used many adjectives to describe the children she had met; not one of them referred to race or religion. Through her eyes, there was no distinction between race or religion; there were no prejudices or hypocritical discriminatory actions or postures to make. There was only laughter and fun.

We are not born knowing hate and fear. These attributes need to be taught. Prejudice and hatred need to be explicitly and repeatedly infused into our upbringing. Religious intolerance needs to be learned. I was never more proud – or jealous of my daughter that afternoon. Jealous, because she hadn’t yet learned to hate people for being different. I was also very sad because I knew that eventually the innocence of childhood would soon be replaced with the dogmas and prejudices of adulthood.

If only adults could see the world through the eyes of their children perhaps there would be no Protestants killing Catholics, Catholics killing Jews, Jews killing Muslims, Muslims killing everyone. Perhaps if adults could see the world through the eyes of their children they would see the positive qualities we all share, rather than the differences which divide and separate us. Through the eyes of a child the world is indeed a wonderful beautiful place. If only it could last.

You’ve got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You’ve got to be taught
From year to year,
It’s got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,
You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You’ve got to be carefully taught!

–Lyrics from “You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught” from the musical South Pacific

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