Deng Ming-Dao on Laughter
Hilly village lanes,
Whitewashed sunlit walls.
The laughter of children.
No matter where in the world you go, no matter how many languages are spoken, and no matter how many times cultures and governments clash, the laughter of children is universally uplifting. The mirth of adults can be variously jealous, insecure, sadistic, cruel, or absurd, but the sound of planning children evokes the ideal of a simple and pure act. There are no concepts, no ideologies – only the innocent pleasure of life.
We as adults dwell upon our grizzled complexities, our existential anxieties, and our preoccupations with responsibilities. We hear the merriment of children and may sigh over our lost childhoods. Although we can no longer fit into our old clothes and become young again, we can take comfort in the optimism of children. Their rejoicing can gladden us all.
We are too often in a rush for our children to grow up. It is far better for them to fully live each year of their lives. Let them learn what is appropriate to their time, let them play. And when their childhood is spent at adolescence, help them in gentle transition. Then their laughter will continue to resonate with cheer and hope for us all.