April 12, 2014

Knead before the bread is baked

It is said that a child’s mind is empty and an adult’s is full. This is a very interesting difference. While we may know that this sounds reasonable we are often not aware of why this should be so.

The answer is deceptively simple. We know that our mind which is really an abstract contraption cannot really be physically full, but can certainly be metaphorically; the mind being an abstract entity is filled with the abstract entity called opinion. Contrary to popular belief, it is not information that fills the mind; it is really opinions that fill it allowing none else to enter. In the case of the child, that young mind doesn't have too many opinions to throng it. In fact it has no opinions at all until the adult world around him or her begins the filling process. So much so that by the time the child is a youth or adult, opinions are jam-packed so to say. And soon the process comes full circle when those now youthful parents begin filling their children with “pre-formed” opinions. And the cycle continues.

This is why it is so much easier for us to mould the young mind into right or wrong, pleasant or foul, good or bad, as the case maybe. Adults are in the driver’s seat in this period of our life’s process and without good conscience to guide us adults our world cannot be made any better.  In fact, because we create the universe we live in by our very own actions, this concept of a value-driven society to be nurtured by today’s adults becomes so much of an imperative.

This is perhaps why in Islam we have this call for moulding children into the right path so early on. Only then will they learn fully from their constant asking of "why bappa?" or “why mamma?" at this tender age. On the contrary, when this same query comes from a youth, it may not be to learn but to seek a way to keep the opinion they have formed. And by adult time the filled mind has no more space to accommodate anything beyond its close-to-frozen frame of perception. 

Thus good example must be taught when the mind is open to receptiveness. Undeniably, the parent is the role model here and what they don't demonstrate will be a non-entity to their children and they grow up to be just what they observed or felt. Yes, later there will be no room for crying over spilled milk. Or said another way -- "you cannot have the dough back again to knead once the bread is baked".

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