Each time I look at you, I am filled with a sense of optimism.
Your eyes, when they sparkle and widen with amazement at the sight of something that the world considers to be just another trifle, fills me with enthusiasm.
I feel inspired when I see you noticing with a tireless curiosity every little thing that we miss. And when you greet each day with your giggles and warm cuddles. And when you fearlessly jump into the unknown. And when you quarrel, but without ego or malice.
You make grown-ups alive to both the beauty and the horror in the world again. This is your biggest gift.
Your questions make everything new again.
"How does this airplane fly so high?
Can I play in the clouds? Did you see that butterfly?
How does the ant know how to make its home?
Why is the baby rat pink?
Where does the rain come from?
Does the sun go to sleep at night? Is the moon smiling?"
You live each day to the fullest. Never complain about anything for too long. A simple distraction can make you forget that you were angry. You don't hold grudges or resentments. You don't hate anyone or anything. You don't understand where you begin and others end. You know everything is connected. You don't discriminate. You don't care whether your best friend is Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Parsi or Christian. You play with dolls until you are given a gun because you are a boy. You want a blue quilt till you are told that girls usually like pink and so should you.
Unlike adults, you don't feel the need to defeat others to feel good about yourself. You don't like it when a good friend loses to you. You dislike grades because they scare you and try to cut your mind down to size. You laugh and play without reserve and I see nature's miraculous life force at work in you and pray that you will always be this way. Unspoilt. Pure.
And then your empathy and compassion also makes you notice the other side of life. It brings tears to your eyes when you see the plight of an injured animal, or a hurting human. When you question why "big people" are making stupid choices, I become a believer.
Every day you ask honest questions that stem from confusion and perhaps also fear and sadness. "Why are you sad?
Why are poor people poor?
Why can't our driver sit on the sofa?
Why does her husband hurt her?
Why are they cutting our trees?
Where will the birds go?
How can I save the tiger?
Why does the air get polluted?
Will I be sick all the time now?
Why do we throw garbage on the streets?
Why is he shouting?
What is God?
Where do we go when we die?
Why is the policeman checking us?
Why are people fighting?
How did the river get so dirty?
What is a terrorist?
Who am I?"
You see, each time you ask a difficult question and the answer alarms you, it propels you into action. You think of solutions to problems. You want to fix what's broken. You get perplexed by the many obvious things that cannot be understood by grown-ups. You are born wise and you are wiser than most grown-ups because you haven't yet been beaten into submission or fallen in line with the ways of the world. You are responding to life and to people from a place of innate truth, a place that is often dismissed as "childish."
You are wiser than most grown-ups... You are responding to life and to people from a place of innate truth, a place that is often dismissed as "childish."
Each time you ask a question, you are bringing about change. You challenge the order. You nudge people out of their slumber. You make grown-ups alive to both the beauty and the horror in the world again. This is your biggest gift.
Never be ashamed to express what you feel, never hesitate to ask a question no matter how many times you've been told not to ask. Never accept an answer unless you understand it in your heart. And if the question persists, keep asking.
Never ever allow the world to destroy your spirit of enquiry. Your empathy.
You are my favourite people. I know this much from all the time I get to spend with each one of you, that the world has hope because of you.
Happy Children's Day!