“What we need to learn from children isn’t childish. Being with them connects us to the deeper wisdom of life, which is ever-present and only asks to be lived. They know the way to solutions that lie waiting to be recognized within our own hearts.
Today I would like to thank all the children of the world including the sick and deprived. I am so sensitive to your pain.”
February 24, 1993
Remember the adage: Out of the mouths of Babes. I was thinking of it just the other day. It had been a day where I searched for ways to cope with the many things in my life for which I have no control, falling back, I must admit, on a weakly trained response of optimism. Asking myself the question, how do I go forth as an inner dreamer who believes…I turn to Michael for the answer. Creativity is a matter of faith. If Carl Jung is to be believed when he says, “Man needs difficulties; they are necessary for health” Michael’s life would define that statement. His joy was in the doing, turning troubles into opportunity…and, he certainly had more than his share of adversity. What was his secret? How did he persevere?
“When I begin to feel tired or burdened, children revive me. I turn to them for new life, for new music. My best moments of creativity have often been spent with children. When I am around them, music comes to me as easily as breathing.”
Amidst chaos, attacks and lies, Michael turned to children, embracing play. Never losing his inner child, becoming as little children as Jesus said…always seeking to share with the world the profoundness of that. He lived the mantra he shared with the world: We must rededicate ourselves to the wonder of childhood. Michael was a peaceful warrior, with bravery and strength, humility and resilience. And, deep inside, the warrior was a child. Undaunted by cynicism, often wounded, he amazes us with unending enthusiasm…“Wonderment and magic are things I have never grown out of.” Turning to children, Michael reminded us in his speech at the Gardner Street Elementary School: “We must never forget that the children are our future and without them mankind would become extinct.” Rather than turning little people into adults…instead, we need to accept the fact that little people possess the wisdom needed to heal an angry world. And, it all comes down to LOVE.
“Before you know if you have red hair or brown, before you know if you are black or white, before you know what religion you are a part of…you have to know that you are loved.”
The essence of purity lies within children, conceived in love and born perfect, entering the world as tiny sponges awaiting the knowledge we have to share. Children learn what they live. Adults in their lives begin the process of filling these perfect little vessels with thoughts. Prejudge, hatred, cunning, distrust, pessimism seep into the vessels only when modeled or heard from us. Common to it all is the idea that we must turn little people into savvy adults…ready to take on the cruel world.
“Children show me in their playful smiles the divine in everyone. This simple goodness shines from their hearts. Being with them connects us to the deeper wisdom of life. These children are a reminder of the preciousness of life, especially young lives untouched by hatred, prejudice and greed. Now when the world is so confused and its problems so complicated, we need our children more than ever. Their natural wisdom points the way to solutions that lie waiting to be recognized in our own hearts.”
Turning to children for answers, really listening to their music, allowing them to lead the way…that is what Michael knew was the answer to a world in need…adults learning from children!
With a child’s heart
Go face the worries of the day
With a child’s heart turn each problem into play
No need to worry, no need to fear
Returning to children for answers reminded me of their purity of love. I remember a little girl coming into our room on the first day of school, excited and bubbling with enthusiasm. She greeted me with, “Oh, Mrs. Ling! My brother had you! My sister had you! I HAVE WAITED MY WHOLE LIFE TO HAVE YOU!” That from the mouth of someone who had lived on the planet for EIGHT YEARS. And, there was me, an adult who would be in her life for the next nine months. What would I do to fill this tiny vessel of purity, while at the same time not doing anything to take away the magic and wonder of her soul. Therein lies our responsibility as adults in the lives of children. OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES come profound wisdom wrapped in a purity of wonder and joy. We adults need to take time to listen, take time to play, take time to learn. All our children need to be nurtured with love…and, that includes the child that lies within.
“WHEN CHILDREN LISTEN TO MUSIC, THEY DON’T JUST LISTEN…THEY MELT INTO THE MELODY AND FLOW WITH THE RHYTHM. SOMETHING INSIDE STARTS TO UNFOLD ITS WINGS… SO,THE CHILD AND THE MUSIC ARE ONE.”