If you look at the faces of children when they arrive, fresh from the very source of life. The child is alive. He had come with a tremendous fragrance, indefinable. Look into the eyes of a child – you cannot find anything deeper. Unfortunately, the way society will destroy him soon his eyes will be only superficial; because of layers and layers of conditioning that depth that immense depth will have disappeared long before. And that was his original face. The Child is conscious but without thoughts. This is the original face of the child.
A Child needs immense privacy, as much as possible, a maximum of privacy so that he can develop his individuality with no interference. But we are trespassing on the child, continuously trespassing. Parents are continuously asking, “What are you doing?, What are thinking?”
Parents should be respectful to the children. The children deserve all the respect you can manage because they are so fresh, so innocent, so close to godliness. It is time to pay respect to them, not to force them to pay respect.
Love your children, enjoy their freedom. Let them commit mistakes; help them to see where they have committed a mistake. Tell them, “To commit mistakes is not wrong. Commit as many mistakes as possible, because that is the way you will be learning more. But don’t commit the same mistake again and again.
If you have a child, protect the child from yourself. Protect the child from others who can influence him: at least up to seven years, protect him. The child is just like a small plant, weak, soft, just a strong wind can destroy it, any animal can eat it up. You put a protecting wiring around it but that is not imprisoning, you are simply protecting. When the plant is bigger, the wires will be removed. Protect the child from every kind of influence so that he can remain himself – and it is only a question of seven years, because then the first circle will be complete. By seven years he will be well grounded, centered, strong enough.
Parents seem to be too much concerned. Too much concern can be dangerous. The idea to make somebody happy never succeeds. It is against the laws of nature.
Children can be very manipulative. They learn wrong strategies and then they will repeat those strategies for their whole life. They can weep, they can cry, Let them cry, they have to be left alone. And they will learn something out of it: the respect for others’ freedom.
Extracted from “The book of children” OSHO