This thought came to me in translation: the German word “Kind” means “child”, and it is kind in English! It’s nice, friendly, generous, good, humane, loving! So the child is nice! Children are nice, friendly – and children are humane: the most human of all human beings! Childness = kindness!
We are at our most human, i.e. perfect at the very beginning of our lives! What a wisdom there is in translation! If we put languages together, we can solve puzzles of our existence it seems. The kind child = das liebe Kind. To be kind: this is the prime ingredient we need for a peaceful society to flourish, to flower, to empower us.
Inner Child/ Exposure: So if you are no longer a child, then perhaps let your inner child out for peace! ‘Our Inner Child’ is what we commonly understand to be playfulness, creativity, spontaneity, our true self. For some strange reason, though, we don’t usually think of it as peace, or a road to peace. I can imagine why: we think of naughty children, children who don’t listen, who desperately want the latest plaything or fashion-item, those who make unrealistic demands on you. But if this happens ask why this happen: is it perhaps not really them but indirectly you? – and if it’s not you then is it some other influence? Children are a mirror for our society – and when things go wrong in society, children reflect this. There’s violence, consumerism, self-centredness and competition in everyday life, and there’s a lot of it, too much of it, the violence alone! These are dangerous developments. So kids grow up with exposure to violent and consumerist contexts! And these contexts can lead to ‘ADHD’; and by labelling the kids we ignore these social (read here: antisocial) contexts that their dysfunctions are a symptom of.
Discovering, acknowledging your Inner Child would instead be of both your own and children’s benefit – it would be a great social benefit and could lead us to question – and to abandon – violence and excessive consumerism. We could have a kind society if we could act ‘kind’, childlike , loving, humane, generous, friendly!
Signs: It hurts me too to see some ‘scenes’ with children crying and being difficult to control – but it’s the exact reflection of our society, with our feelings crying out for acknowledgement, and making ends meet being difficult and capitalism out of control. It puts stress on people, and so it gets transmitted to children. If they appear to be difficult, perhaps we should take that as a sign: that something needs to be done in society, not just to say ‘be quiet’ to a child but take its outburst as an observation: the child has noticed something, it is troubled by something, and it would be wrong to dismiss it. The child needs to know you are struggling too, but we too, need to listen, so it’s a conversation, a communication. It’s mutual respect, mutual consideration: exactly those qualities in need of amplification in society, and this amplification would be more possible if we let our inner child out, if we could be kind.
Social Conversation: The social conversation at the time of my childhood was very different from the one we have now, it was actually quite good! I mean, violence or consumerism weren’t absent but they were not so dominant: the conversation, the main discourse we had was about peace! It was truly a ‘kind time’!
This doesn’t mean that my childhood was full of kindness, no my family home was difficult (and nobody in my family was part of the peace movement), but in the wider society things were much better! The peace-movement was at its height when I was 10 years old, in 1981. It was a great time then, kind time, peace time: at least the ambition was there all out in the open.
1979 had been declared the International Year of the Child. And then peace grew, and the ecology movement too! A mass of people realized the importance of peace and of nature, and those movements had grown out of the civil rights- and the feminist movement too. We were then a Rainbow Country, in hindsight, compared to now.
So I am a real peace-child. It now seems relegated to utopia and I felt its decline already when I was 15, and ready to take a more active part in the peace movement: and by then it was gone! It still existed of course, but no longer as a broad movement, frequently in the media and on people’s minds, in public focus.
How could the desire for peace have disappeared? Had we lost our way as we grew up? I miss it!
So everyone, unearth your inner child. Find out what it is up to, and whether it can make you feel at peace, and long for more of it!
As the peace movement was there when I grew up, it makes up my background, in other words, my tradition: so I will be exhibiting art work on this theme in the ‘Traditions’ Exhibition at the Mile End Pavillion, organised by ArtCatcher Katja Rosenberg. The Private View will be on the 2nd February.