The children in all of us [Archives:2005/810/Opinion]

January 24 2005

It was a normal sunny but comfortable day in the vineyard gardens of one of the Rawdha village residents, just 6 kilometers north of Sana'a. The vines were almost dry lying there atop the pine wood branches laid out as bedding for them, awaiting their seasonal trimming to prepare them for the next annual crop. It was a small plot of land, but was fortunate enough to still have traditional ground surface well with a generous flow of water below that allows for pumping of two fillings for the two water cisterns that rose about a meter and a half above the surface of the well farmed land. Two children had entered the vineyards at their own discretion and found pleasure in sitting at the half meter wide rim of the stone and cement cistern at the interior plot near the old well itself. The two children, a boy and a girl, around the age of 9, were innocently playing the water in the full cistern with their hands. Because it was mid-winter the water was slightly cold, which brought coolness between their swaying fingers as they played with the water. At that quiet and peaceful minute, the little girl saw the relatively inattentive boy easy game for some fun as she saw it. She inched up to him slowly and gave him a little push into the full pool. At that age, it is hard to judge if the girl had acted under mischief prodding or simply wanted to frighten the boy. The girl is not known for being devilish in behavior and is friendly and not prone to conflict with her peers.

The pool was some 80 meters distance from the house overlooking the garden. Somebody in the house and in the adjoining small house where the boy's family lived, but the sister of the boy, aged 14 was the only person to reach the pool and make some futile attempts to get her younger. She was not able to swim herself so she tried to get her brother to hold on to a stick. By then, the younger brother was acting erratically; the relatively cold water and his sense of the pull of the water had overtaken any hope of responding to any efforts from a distance to pull him out. Luckily, a young boy of 13 had heard the commotion and his adrenalin managed to put enough energy to get him to the scene in the nick of time. He wasn't a great swimmer, but the kindness and good breeding he had acquired provided the stimulus that prompted the young boy to have all his thoughts around the helplessness he saw in the fragile helpless boy struggling to catch a breath any way he could. He jumped into the pool and managed to gather all the strength he could to push the drowning boy towards the edge of the pool where he could be helped by the drowning boy's sister to pull the boy out of the pool.

The drowning boy came from a poor day laborer's family and the girl who nudged him into the pool was a kin of the owners of the garden, who always came to her grandparents' house to play with the children. The drowned boy was one of the children she played with, because the little house that his family lived in had an entrance to the yard of the house.

The incident quickly raised the levels of the section of the family from which he came from and the mother of the boy rushed to hug him in appreciation of his courage and stamina and his great moment of pity and sympathy for her drowning son. This incident mended some differences that had arisen between the drowning boy's mother and the mother of the boy who saved his life just a few hours ago, over an issue that should not be of interest to any one in particular. The mother of the almost drowned boy went to apologize to the mother of the boy who saved her son's life (actually in her erstwhile dispute with the mother of the hero, she had been the one more transgressed). Nevertheless, events made her compelled to take the initiative and seek rapport with her former transgressor. The mother of the hero was so elated by her son's brave deed and the kindness he displayed and pity he showed for the drowning boy, although he came from the family of the woman that has raised her voice against his mother earlier that morning and she also turned her former anger at the drowning boy's mother to a sense of forgetfulness at all that transpired between the two ladies earlier that day. At that instance, maternal instinct had become a bridge between the two former disputing ladies and the realization that fate had brought their lives together to produce a mutual sense of mutual of maternal fulfillment that prevailed above all nonsensical tit for tat that might have arisen. Where human life is involved, nothing takes precedence and petty conflicts have no bearing in our feelings for one another.

Incidents like these truly bring back to the human mind a sense of rational reasoning that indeed human beings can make mistakes in their interaction with each other, but that no matter what irrelevant consequences from such mistakes, the overall approach to life is that human beings truly find greater reasons for mutual cooperation and understanding than conflict.

Moreover, children's behavior is quite often generated by the proper upbringing that their parents provide to their children and the social climate they engrain in their offspring's hearts.

One wonders if older human beings should start to take a closer look at how children interact and learn that any biases or engrained bigotry or class difference really do not matter to children. The drowned boy felt no grudges against the little girl that pushed him into the water. The generally pious character of the drowned boy's family did not generate any grunts against the girl who almost ended the life of their charming little boy, nor against her family, who had not been careful in making sure that their child daughter does not seek fun by possibly harming others. In the end, incidents like these show us that there is a really lot of the children in all of us. It is something we need to restore our sanity.