Being Small – Perpetual Child

Being small, whether physically, psychologically, personality-wise, is like being a child.

Remember when you were a child, so many things appeared large and overwhelming. Adults, nature, furniture. A stool of a chair or a table seemed impossibly tall and out of reach. But you wanted to be on the stool or sitting at the table or wanted something at the table. You couldn’t just sit down or reach up.

Your size was an obstacle to your goal but you didn’t see it as an obstacle. You just saw it the way it was. A series of challenges and that was life. You didn’t know any better. What you saw was one challenge at a time to get that toy sitting on the buffet by the couch. You pulled a cushion or a book or a step stool up to the couch. You climbed on the couch. You piled some cushions on one end so you could climb on the end table. You pushed some books to the edge of the end table so you could stand on them and reach just far enough onto the counter to grab the toy. You didn’t notice the precarious position you were in tottering on the books one wrong step from crashing to the floor. Or maybe you did crash to the floor. But at no point were you thinking, I will crash to the floor.

Even when you’re small as an adult you can’t just move obstacles with sheer force or jump over with long legs, whether physically or emotionally or socially. So, you learn to see your goals in the world as a set of challenges and alternatives to get the toy on the countertop.  You have no choice but to see the world this was (unless the choice is to be inert). You learn about finding the right assistance, about circumlocution, levers, jigs, misdirection and more.

This is how obstacles stop becoming obstacles and become just life. When you are  a child you have no choice, but many as they grow physically and emotionally and personally and are no longer small, tend to tackles everything head on with physical or mental force and when impediments occur, the answer is to apply more force, creating conflict and even violence. Life becomes filled with the dissonant violence of running into obstacles again and again and we forget the childhood lessons of being small.

But those of us who are still small, we remember the lessons of childhood because we have no choice.

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