Childhood is precious people say. It’s so short. I might add life is so precious because it’s so short. And as for childhood, why does it have to end? The only way to keep growing is to stay green. You must accept you don’t know everything if you are to maintain your childlike curiosity, which inevitably leads to new ideas, ways of doing things, novels, artwork and a whole new life you didn’t think was possible beyond your dreams.
Now that I have children, and you may too, take extra care that you’re not imposing your worldview on them and this is tricky. You want the best for your children but the best you know is not what may be the best for your child. You want to shelter and protect them but you may be keeping them from experiencing the magnitude of life.
My parents were filled with doubts, insecurities and fears about life. This was projected onto me. “You’ll get raped, murdered or lost” my mum would tell me if I wanted to go out and to this day I have a fear of getting lost when I’m driving to a suburb I’m not familiar with. it’s laughable how much their fears impact us into adulthood to pass onto our offspring.
So let your children explore. Let them fail. We live in a safe society, at least here in Sydney we do. What’s the worst that can happen?
Let them enjoy the magic that is childhood. You may be tempted to give them everything and take on the job of the driver, caterer, manservant so that they can explore karate, soccer, singing, the violin, saxophone, ballet, jazz, tap dancing in the ever-growing list of activities for children. Don’t do this.
Give yourself and your children a break. Let them explore one thing at a time, spend the proper time to decide if it’s for them or not.
Most importantly, spend time together and observe them without judging (easier said than done) and let them make up their own minds.
King Arthur got to experience nature in all her vastness under the not-so-watchful eye of his magical tutor, Merlin. He got into trouble in the animal kingdom but he also got himself out of these binds. Because he was allowed his own space to explore, tinker and get in trouble, he learned to become a grown-up, to resolve his own problems and then as a king, to bring order to chaos.
If you want your children to become adults and indeed if you want to be an adult yourself, then know that play is the thing.
King Arthur as a Boy
An upbringing where one is exposed to different cultures and ways of doing things and activities such as swimming, team sports, flying, wait a minute…flying?
Yes, King Arthur, affectionately known as The Wart according the T.H. White’s depiction of him in The Once and Future King is lucky to be taken under Merlin’s (see Chapter 5: Meet Your Mentor) wing from an early age.
Merlin showed The Wart the different cultures within the animal kingdom by turning him into a fish, bird, ant and various other animals. The Wart swam with the fish and learned the lesson that in the pond it’s the big fish that eat the little fish and that “might is right”.
His humanism didn’t fully mesh with the order of life in the pond. He pondered on this and thought it wouldn’t be how he’d run his kingdom.
The ants showed him another reality. He mixed in with the worker ants who had no distinguishing characteristics, not even names, as they were all identified by serial numbers as if parts of a machine. These ants worked for the queen who had absolute power in their world. Again, the Wart meditated on the world of the ants, which is eerily like the totalitarian regime of Orwell’s 1984 and also not too far a cry from extreme capitalism and thought “nope, this isn’t how I’d like to run my kingdom”.
As the Wart observed the natural world around him and made some decisions on what he’d like to adapt and what he’d avoid if he ran his own kingdom, your own childhood and present life is a wealth of information on what resonates with you and what you don’t want. Use your observations in forming your Camelot, which is your creative practice which may or may not become your microbusiness or more.
Over to you …
What was magical to you in your childhood and what ideas did it lead you to formulate? Are you applying these ideas to your current life?