Intuitively, we imagine the child as a dependent, a pupil, an adult in the making. As though the child is only becoming, not yet being. We invest in the child, not for what the child is now, but for what the child will become.
But the child is now.
If we do not learn from the child, we are not living in the now. We have cut our roots that nurture us from our past. How will we grow into our future?
If we cannot learn from the child, we are not adults. We are old people. We do not grow, we only age.
To grow is to build upon that with which you began.Leave the child within you behind and you are a nomad without a destiny. Leave the child within you behind and you are a nomad without a destiny, wandering in circles through shifting sands that leave no trace of your footsteps and only portend your eventual demise.
Listen to the child, learn from the child, and you are a towering tree anchored and nourished by deep roots, forever supple in the wind, sprouting new leaves, twigs and branches whenever the sun glows.
Because as much as the child needs the adult as a nurturer and a guide, so too we adults need the child to return us to our innocence, to the point inside from which we first sprouted, and from where we still receive life. Which perhaps explains why the Rebbe again and again taught us to think as a five-year-old child.
The Mishnah defines wisdom as the capacity to learn from anybody and everybody. For “there is no person who does not have his time, nor any thing that does not have its place.”
For the world is a constantly revolving sphere, each point the very pinnacle of that sphere in its unique way. So that there is no being that receives and does not give, just as there is no being that gives without receiving. There is no time in life that is only a preparation for a later time. And there is no person who is only here to There is no being that receives and does not give, just as there is no being that gives without receiving.become someone else.
A woman is a woman and a man is a man. A teacher is a teacher and a student is a student. An adult is an adult and a child is a child. And yet all of us provide, all of us teach, all of us nurture—each in a way no other can.
This is tikun, this is a revolution that is forever: When there are no one-way streets in our world. When each thing finds its purpose in this moment now.
When we can hear the deepest wisdom in the simplicity of the child.
A Child Each Day
The wise person
begins each day as a small child.
Every cell of his being
is dedicated to learning wisdom,
and so from every person
he finds some wisdom to learn.
he rises to great heights of wisdom.
And yet, the next morning,
he begins all over again,
as a small child,
Learning the Child
There are no one-way streets
in our world.
There is no one who gives
and there is no one who receives
without providing something back in return.
So it is with the child.
Just as the adult gives the child
the knowledge and wisdom of life,
so the child shows the adult
how to live it to its fullest.
What is it that the child has to teach?
The child naively believes
that everything should be fair
and everyone should be honest,
that only good should prevail,
that everybody should have what they want
and there should be no pain or sadness.
The child believes the world should be perfect
and is outraged to discover it is not.
And the child is right.
A child cannot learn something
without running outside
and screaming it to others.
And so it should be
with all those who have knowledge.
The Engaged Child
Watch a child involved in an activity.
Whatever a child is doing,
there is the child,
all the child.
When a child feels something is missing
the child wants it,
demands it with all his heart and soul
and demands it now.
We are G‑d’s children.
The world is not the way it should be.
None of us are in our proper place.
We need to demand that He fix all this
We need to scream out from our hearts,
as a small child would scream.
We need to plead that He fix it now.
A child's enthusiasm comes in a storm,
taking over the child's entire world.
So that when a child embraces a new,
good way of being,
it enters forever,
and nothing can ever take it away.
A child gives love for the sake of love.
Yet an adult can also learn to do
The child delights in the simple things of life.
Yes, sometimes delight
can take you in the wrong direction,
and yes, we have to steer the child from that.
But delight itself is good.
To live is to delight in life, like a child.
Preserving the Child
How will we preserve the innocence,
and the beauty of the child
First, we will nurture that beauty
from its very beginning.
We will surround the child with Torah
and sing to the child songs of wisdom
even before it leaves the womb.
We will help the child
make his or her room
into a sanctuary
with holy books,
a place to say prayers,
and a charity box fixed into the wall,
to be used daily.
And then, as the child emerges
to discover that the world outside
is not quite the same as that sanctuary,
we will explain:
“Yes, this is not the way it is supposed to be.
But it is only temporary.
You and I and all of us,
we are going to change it.
We will make the whole big world
like your little world,