By: Sandra Galeotti
I cannot help being myself, even when it is embarrassing. As a child, I was a complex individual, but aunts, uncles, grand parents, parents (and pets) have always been the target of unexpected kisses and hugs around the dinner table, or while reading aloud some chapter of a book of my choice, or just passing by. Well, I’m still a hugger-kisser person and my friends know that well. Lucky, I live in Brazil where such expressions of affection are seldom misunderstood.
Recently, while in New York I stopped by a childhood friend’s office. The place is owned by orthodox Jews and although there was a lot of them at the reception desk, I took not a single mental note of the fact. When my friend showed up, I simply ran to him and gave him a big hug, before he was able to tell me (in Portuguese) “don’t do that!”.
Later, he explained that in his work environment demonstrations of affection between people of opposite genders is badly taken and misinterpreted.
Well, cultural differences and traditions apart, it is so sad that we are taught in every society that our spontaneity is embarrassing and socially undesirable. You are led to believe that the best and more creative part of yourself should be smothered and stifled, if you are to succeed as an adult. In the cynical world of adult men and women, individuals who preserve those better qualities of childhood are often thought to be either stupid or naive. Have you ever noticed that highly creative individuals in every walk of life, as well as those who are true humanitarians, are always criticized by many in his/her inner circle as being naive or dreamers, or even childish?? Conversely, individuals of the cynical crowd (who see themselves as sophisticated) are more prone to be mean, selfish, narrow minded and unscrupulous, while showing the emotional maturity of a five-year old (“mine! mine! mine! hate you!…”)…!
Ironically, in recent years, those same societies have eventually discovered that they are in want of true leaders, creative CEOs and managers, science investigators and so on. Isn’t ironical that now CEOs and a bunch of “grown ups” are being sent to workshops where their creative powers and leading abilities are supposed to be rescued by learning how to be a child again?
Long live the inner child of each of us!
Happy Children’s Day!