Being "Childlike"

Definition of childish

1: of, relating to, or befitting a child or childhood

2a: marked by or suggestive of immaturity and lack of poise

2b: lacking complexity

2c: deteriorated with age especially in mind

The above definition courtesy of good old Merriam-Webster Dictionary (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/childish). We are all familiar with the word and its negative connotations. Just look at all the definitions under the number 2: immaturity, lack of complexity, and deterioration. I have come to the conclusion that our society's relationship with this word is unhealthy. Why? Because we ignore all the possibilities that fall under the first definition, the ones that falls under number 1. We neglect to recognize all the positive possibilities that “relating to, or befitting a child or childhood” holds. That is when the word childlike may be of use for us.

Definition of childlike 

: resembling, suggesting, or appropriate to a child or childhood especially : marked by innocence, trust, and ingenuousness

(https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/childlike)

Childlike includes all the positive attributions that being a child entails and avoids the unfavorable connotations of childish. So issue solved! Nope. That’s not the case, because we have been taught by society that to be too childlike is not necessarily favorable either. There is danger in being too trusting due to our innocence, and our ingenious ideas are sadly limited by the boundaries of reality. So are we stuck in a loop of doom in which the very beginnings of our lives are viewed to be the exact opposite  of what we have to be to survive in society? Yes, and no. We cannot ignore the risk that comes with being to much like a child, there is a reason that we as children rely on adults to make sure that we do not get harmed. But we can be more aware of all the positive aspects of ourselves that are possible thanks to our childish attributes. We need to be more mindful of how we use the word childlike and childish and remember that they should not be used interchangeably. It is not childish to enjoy cartoons, it is childlike. Although it can be childish to assume that all of those cartoons are based on real life and are true in their entirely. Being childlike is not anything to be ashamed of if its not doing any harm to yourself or others. So with this realization, please excuse me as I curl up in bed with my giant teddy bear and re-watch season five of  Steven Universe.

 

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