They roam the little alleys looking up at adults with wide eyes, they are petted by every passer by, talked to by every grandmother and given treats by every aunt and uncle, they are loved. The more I go to the alleys, the more I walk among the people, the more I feel the warmth and the innocence that transfer between the generations.
It is so endearing in Asia to see how grandparents create a living womb for their grandchildren and how they care for them tirelessly, carrying them on their old backs, feeding them, singing hymns to them, and carrying them into adulthood on a fluffy cloud of love.
How strengthening it must be for the children and how infusing with confidence.
Have you ever noticed how children can change expressions so fast without being hung up on the effects of each emotion they experience? We adults tend to carry baggage through our emotions that causes us to often hold grudges, feel anger, thoughts of contempt, attachment, jealousy, animosity… the list goes on. When children fight, they are able to make up in a split second and whilst we are still wondering how to solve the problem they are already hugging and running off to play again.
Happiness is finding yourself as a child living in the midst of a tribe, because as it has been wisely said: “it takes a village to raise a child.”
Children, no matter what we expect, plan, project and wish for in them, their futures are blank pages as far as we are concerned. We are unable to control what they will become, who they were meant to be and the things they are destined to accomplish. Despite our blindness to the theaters of their future, every action we take can affect them in their vulnerability. One would hope and pray that most of us act wisely.
One hour walk to school, school is on the other side of the mountain, one hour walk back home… so much effort for receiving a fraction of what our children take for granted.
When a child is sick or unwell, the only thing it craves is the warm touch of a parent or family member. We are creatures that thrive on warmth and human contact makes us tingle. This fact begs the question: what will be come of us when our lives become more and more digital and virtual and will Siri’s calm cold voice be enough to serenade a child to sleep?
In Yunnan I only saw children attached to family members while they walked, worked, cooked and these children were strong, confident and loved. I will take a hug over a text message any day.
On the way to Dayangjie, the central home of the Yiche people, a branch of the Hani ethnic minority that settled in Yunnan about 1000 years ago, we met this child and grandparent. The Yiche people wear conical hats in black and in white and are known to have some of the stranger customs among the Hani people. The ‘lihhahha’ or marriages in their language of the Yiche people are arranged by their parents when they are very young, when the bride-price is paid. After the marriage the husband and wife don’t live together, but with their own parents. The wife, however, must visit her husband every twelve days until giving birth. During this period of lihhahha the wife has the freedom to have sexual intercourse with any man she likes. This custom proves that there is so much more to learn about the people of the world and the way their lives are arranged and why. The more I see of this world, the less room I have for pre-judgment and the wider my mind must be opened.
…for the changes that are rushing our way? Are we settled to knowing that the world that we are leaving for your children to inherit is a safe and a clean home for them to build their future and their children’s future in? Or are we mostly living in denial?