By Megha Bajaj
Most of those who have hurt me in life, Have done so because they did’t know better, just like a child
In the seventh standard, my Maths teacher put a sticker with a huge thumb and the words, “Keep up the great efforts” on my exam paper. I had scored three on 100. She also made me stand in front of the whole class and asked everyone to clap for me. My friends had a riot of a day and I decided to avoid school when I could.
I would pack my bag diligently and act as if I was leaving for school. Instead, I would head for my terrace. A dreamy girl, I had no problems passing six hours lost in thoughts and scribbling ideas. As soon as my watch would show one thirty, I would merrily sling my bag, go home and talk to my mom of all the things I did at school.
Shweta, my friend from school, spoilt it all. She dropped in and asked mom why I was absent so often. Mom’s stunned expression gave me away. Shweta gave me a holier-thanthou look and walked away as if to say, “Watch how I tell everybody…” I was ashamed to even look up and see mom’s face. But, when I did, there wasn’t a trace of anger. She lovingly held me and explained the importance of education. I promised never to play truant again. I wondered aloud, “It was so easy for Shweta to judge me, how was it so easy for you to forgive me?” Mom replied, “Because, to me, you are just a child.” Her words left a profound imprint on my mind.
Just a child. I can understand the meaning of these words now as a teacher. No matter what colourful lies my children tell me, no matter how rude or insensitive they sometimes appear, it is extremely easy for me to just hold them in my arms and forgive them.
A question began to niggle at my mind – why was it so easy for me to forgive children, and why was it so difficult with adults? The answer was that children make mistakes because they don’t know better.
As I reviewed my life and thought of all the people who had hurt me, I realised that most of the people whom I had defined as mean or pathetic or hopeless had actually done what they had, not because they intentionally wanted to hurt me, but simply, because they didn’t know better. In that sense, and in that situation, they were nothing more than a child.
With tears in my eyes I realised, I too was just a child. I have lied, I have cheated, I have been jealous, I have hurt people knowingly and unknowingly, I have been rude… the list is endless. However, the saving grace is, like a child, at the given time and given situation I did the best that my maturity at that point allowed. And I have decided I will not judge my past mistakes with my current maturity.
Forgiving is the most philanthropic and at the same time selfish thing you can do – it helps others, and even more, it helps you. It is pure freedom to carry no hurt, no anger, no guilt and move through life as lighthearted and as nimble- footed as a child. Just a child.
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