What is the most attractive quality of a child? It's innocence, without doubt. Watching a child is like seeing beautiful scenery. A child is among the most beautiful things nature produces. There is nothing to match the innocent smile of a baby showing its toothless gums.
Children lose their innocence some day. ‘But, when?’ is an interesting question. Nobody has found an answer for it, though many have expressed their opinions about it.
Well, children lose their innocence some day. True, but what is innocence after all? The dictionary that I referred defines the word innocent as below:
Of the above three definitions, I think the second one is relevant in this context. Yes, a child has little experience in life. So, can we say that a child loses his or her innocence as he or she gains experience in life?
It may be true. A child loses his innocence when he starts to hide something form others. He understands from his experience that hiding certain things would be better for him. It may become necessary for him to lie to hide something. When he starts to lie all his innocence will be gone.
Imagine a situation – an innocent child watches his father working on an electronic calculator, with wonder. He wants to try it. But his father does not allow him to play with it, saying that he may damage it and that it is not a plaything for children. He also warns the child not to lay hands on it in his absence. But when the father goes out, curiosity gets the better of the child and he gets hold of the calculator, plays with it and damages it.
When he finds that something has happened to the calculator he places it back exactly where he took it from. He decides it will be better to hide that event from his father and others, because he may get a good beating from his father for damaging the calculator. When his father finds that the calculator is damaged, he asks the child whether he has done anything with it.
Then the child finds that it will be safe to lie as otherwise he may be punished. He simply denies having anything with the calculator to escape punishment.
The child has now learned to hide something from others and he has also learned to lie. He has lost all innocence children naturally have. All this happened because he gained experience in life and learned how to play it safely for him.
There is another interesting question – Is there any grown up who has the innocence of a child? I am sure there was one such person. He is no more with us. I am referring to the one and only Mahatma (great soul), yes, Mahatma Gandhi, who liberated India from British Rule by means of ahimsa or non violence. The smile on his face in one of his famous photographs, showing toothless gums like a child, has all the innocence of a child.
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