Even before an infant can talk, it can already express a whole gamut of feelings and emotions. Without any intelligible words and with only gurgling and babbling sounds, an infant can express joy and happiness, sadness and disappointment. We know when it is feeling pain and discomfort or when it is happy and contented. In fact, it is through its feelings and emotions that an infant communicates with the world and people around it.
No infant is born with hatred or even anger in its heart. No infant is born ever envious of other infants nor covetous of what others have. These feelings and emotions are learned. And they are learned very much later in an infant’s life. Often, they are caught from and taught by the environment the infant grows up in. If that is the case, then we also can learn back what we have lost growing up. We can learn to be happy and joyful again, perhaps given to pain and disappointment at times, to hurts and feelings of being left alone, but always loving and grateful for being alive.
As infant grows up to be a child, it discovers imagination before it learns to reason. Imagination is about possibilities and potentials. It is also about colors and sounds, about tastes and smells. It does not need a reason for something to exist. Children have imaginary friends that adults do not see nor even understand. Children live in imaginary worlds of which adults have totally no inkling. A child sees all the awe and wonder in this world that adults miss and fail to see because of their cynicism and apathy. Out of this world of awe and wonder, children speak out truths and wisdom that often confound even the smartest among adults.
But all too soon imagination gives way to reason and reality. Children are told not to this and not to go there. All to soon, wings are clipped and wisdom and creativity are stunted. We grow into adulthood and maturity and all the fun is taken out of living. As infants, we were born full of love and caring, gifted with imagination and limitless potentials and possibilities. We grow up into adults and these things become hidden from us. We lose the best parts of ourselves in the process. We have to rediscover and nurture the child within us.
At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.”