One of the most wonderful examples of how children experience adults comes from the classic The little Prince, written by Antoine De Saint – Exupery. It is beautifully written and gives a startling perspective of adults through the eyes of a child.
The little boy, fascinated by jungle adventures describe how boa constrictors eat their prey. “Boa constrictors swallow their prey whole without chewing. Afterwards they are no longer able to move, and they sleep during the six months of their digestion.”
The little prince draws a picture of this and the drawing resembles a hat. When showing it to grown-ups he asks whether his picture scared them. They answer, “Why be scared of a hat?”
The little prince’s drawing was not a picture of a hat but one of a boa constrictor digesting an elephant. He then drew an elephant inside the “hat” so that grown-ups could understand. They always need explanations was his reasoning.
The little prince comments that grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is exhausting for children to have to provide explanations over and over again. What he means is that grown-ups often fail to see with the imagination and creativity of a child in which anything and everything is possible.
The lesson for us as adults is that we need to occasionally take the time to immerse ourselves in the games and stories of children. They serve as a valuable source for increasing our own creativity, innovation and problem solving.
When last did you try to see something through the eyes of a child?
When last did you listen to a child with an open and receptive eye, attempting to “get” what the child is saying? These efforts can be insightful and amazing experiences!