“Genius is nothing but youth recaptured.”
Baudelaire. Le Peintre de La Vie Moderne. 1863.
My little guy is a genius. Sure, he knows his ABC’s and he can count to 20. He knows his colors and shapes and animals and their corresponding sounds. But it is not his ability to retain and spout this information when called upon to do so that makes him smart.
He’s genius because his approach to life is completely spontaneous. When he feels lonely, he seeks connection. When he’s in pain, emotional or otherwise, he communicates it. When he’s happy, he sings. He laughs just for the hell of it and every day he is thrilled to wake up and start anew. Basically, he’s a kid.
All of these things demonstrate wisdom; a wisdom that we could easily miss and confuse for just toddlerhood. In the day-to-day of life, it is easy to become frustrated when the little one comes to your crying over something that seems pretty slight. It can be difficult to mirror their enthusiasm over every.little.thing. It is exhausting to be “on” all the time.
For me, there is a delicate balance I am always struggling to achieve between guiding and teaching him what he needs to know while leaving his innate wisdom intact. I wonder how to do this in a global society that so values thinking over feeling and reason over intuition.
When I think of those we describe as genius – Mozart, Einstein, Jobs, Gates – all of them were or are universally known to be a bit strange. Perhaps unwilling or unable to conform to social norms of behavior is a more accurate description.
There was recently an excellent interview in Sun Magazine with Philip Sheperd about his book New Self, New World. I cannot do it justice here so I will not attempt to, though I do encourage you to have a look for yourself. His book and his work address the struggle of embodiment and being guided by both our gut and our head.
When I think about the “genius of youth”, it is this very ability that I see. Children are genius because they do not see themselves as separate from the world. They do not attempt to intellectualize their feelings. They just feel what they feel and behave accordingly. And once again, I am amazed and in gratitude for this little mini-teacher that I had the privilege of birthing.
About V.K. Harber
V.K. Harber is a yogi, writer and mother of one. She is the co-founder and former managing director of Samdhana-Karana Yoga: A Healing Arts Center in Tacoma, WA, a non-profit yoga studio.She currently resides in Seoul, South Korea where she works as a yoga teacher and post-partum doula. (www.vkharber.com) She is also a contributing writer at World Moms Blog and can be found on twitter @VKHarberRYT.