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Is it possible to be childlike without being childish?

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posted on Mar, 6 2017 @ 06:22 PM
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Childish and childlike (each one word, unhyphenated) have roughly the same definition—of, like, or related to a child or childhood—but childish has negative connotations, and childlike usually does not. Childish is often synonymous with words like infantile, immature, silly, juvenile, and foolish, all of which are usually negative. Childlike is closer to words like innocent, trusting, unfeigned, and pure, which are not negative.

Childish vs. childlike


With a topic such as this, I believe we only have our own experience to go on. We can pontificate about what's theoretically possible forever, but if we haven't actually met someone who was childlike without being childish, I think we've got nothing.

I want to briefly discuss why someone would want to be childlike. The following quote is supposedly a quote from Jesus.

"Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

I believe that quote is essentially true. In my view, we must have an open mind the way children are in order to see a lot of truth.

I have never known anyone who was childlike without being at least a little childish. I think it's easy to see why. Quoting from the article linked above:

"Childish is often synonymous with words like infantile, immature, silly, juvenile, and foolish, all of which are usually negative."

"Childlike is closer to words like innocent, trusting, unfeigned, and pure, which are not negative."

When I think about the concepts mentioned in the two quotes directly above, the first group of words seems very closely related to the second group of words. Does being innocent go hand in hand with being foolish? I believe it does. Does being pure go hand in hand with being immature? I believe it does.

My conclusion is that while being childlike is a strength, it is also a weakness because childishness comes with it.
edit on 6-3-2017 by Profusion because: (no reason given)




posted on Mar, 6 2017 @ 06:38 PM
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a reply to: Profusion

I should hope not as it would take all the fun out of it.



posted on Mar, 6 2017 @ 06:42 PM
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a reply to: Profusion

Well, i get a lot of complaints for my tantrums.. They are considered childish and immature, but i think you have a point, where its more to, the, Love, affection, Naive



posted on Mar, 6 2017 @ 06:44 PM
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originally posted by: andy06shake
a reply to: Profusion

I should hope not as it would take all the fun out of it.


Do you think being infantile, immature, silly, juvenile, and foolish is fun?

I agree that silliness can be fun (when it's not serious). The rest of those things have only caused pain and grief in my life (with possibly a very rare exception occasionally).
edit on 6-3-2017 by Profusion because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 6 2017 @ 07:12 PM
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I was going to argue with you about this, but really got to thinking about it. Years ago when I was a kid, I had a friend who was truly childlike. She had Down's Syndrome. She was about 12 years older than me, but for a while we were about the same age emotionally. This was in the mid 70's. But I thought about it, and I think over the years I've made her memory rosier than reality. My friend could really get frustrated, and that made her lash out. She couldn't understand why things were so hard for her. She died at 30.

I know this wasn't quite the discussion you were going for. But perhaps you are right. Maybe even someone who views the world with a childlike wonder, can be childish at times.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to remember my friend. I should think of her more often.



posted on Mar, 6 2017 @ 07:23 PM
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a reply to: Profusion

I would say yes, it is possible. The Dalai Lama is often described as being childlike, but I can't really envision him being childish...



posted on Mar, 6 2017 @ 07:24 PM
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I think another component to it is....knowing your own vulnerability in the grand scheme of things. Children feel a certain degree of helplessness and are quick to call for assistance when needed.

There is another verse in the Bible that says. ..He will put his spirit in you...crying Abba father. ..essentially 'Daddy'. This is not a position the human ego likes to find itself in.



posted on Mar, 6 2017 @ 07:29 PM
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a reply to: Profusion

I think their best qualities come from them not having much of an ego or personage. I think because they don't have the ego problem they're very quick to be loving, forgiving, eager to please others and as you said genuine and trusting as well.

I'm not sure about them being innocent or pure - they can be pretty rotten sometimes too.


Edit: Let me say that by ego I meant self-pride or a superiority complex and not ego as in the sense of self -- everyone has a sense of self and should not seek to destroy it, but humble it, instead.
edit on 3/6/2017 by Bleeeeep because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 6 2017 @ 07:32 PM
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Big difference between childish behavior and child like curiosity, openess and desire.

if you need a reminder visit a playground and watch little kids play in the sandbox.



posted on Mar, 6 2017 @ 07:34 PM
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I also think that children are more enlightened than adults in the ways that matter... they don't worry themselves with capitalism or lust... they understand what's really important in life and they don't hesitate to share their love unless their trust is betrayed somehow. I think an adult is truly complete when they can grow up under normal circumstances and then find and embrace their inner child.



posted on Mar, 6 2017 @ 07:38 PM
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I'm childlike, but I'm not innocent.

I'm just constantly wishing I was.

I'm not childish and I can't stand my kids sometimes until they start acting childlike.

Childlike, to me, is trusting, obedient, intelligent, and creative.

Childish is harmful, disobedient, loud, vengeful, and hateful.

ETA - most adults are childish.
edit on 3/6/2017 by TarzanBeta because: Yup.



posted on Mar, 6 2017 @ 07:39 PM
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a reply to: Profusion

"Do you think being infantile, immature, silly, juvenile, and foolish is fun?"

I think there is a time and place for a vast range of emotion.

Thing is perspective is rather a cruel mistress.

I will say this i would love to be able to look at the world the same way a child does again but innocence is a finite commodity in this existence.
edit on 6-3-2017 by andy06shake because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 6 2017 @ 09:05 PM
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You know, thinking back to when I was a kid, I can't remember actually having to "forgive" others. I mean, me and my childhood friends fought all the time, and there was the make-up period (the forgiveness), but I don't think we actually held grudges - I think, normally, we didn't even think to begrudge one another. It was funny: we would fight, but then, not even 5 minutes later, we would go right back to playing like nothing even happened.

So, maybe whatever grudges are linked to has a big part in being childlike? Is that egotism again? What leads us to begrudging and why can't we let go of them?



posted on Mar, 6 2017 @ 09:19 PM
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Well at 53 I still get the same enjoyment out of road runner cartoons that I did when I was four



posted on Mar, 6 2017 @ 11:39 PM
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I have always valued being childlike as a quality, in myself and others, particularly in a romantic partner. Childlike wonder of the world. An innocence and openess, a curiosity, a creative way of experiencing the world, authenticity, joy and full of love, exuberance, and playfulness.



posted on Mar, 6 2017 @ 11:50 PM
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a reply to: Profusion

Not only is it possible but healthy too.



posted on Mar, 6 2017 @ 11:54 PM
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a reply to: Profusion

I suspect people often find me childish. The french always see the Americans as childish anyways, because in their culture, showing joy in an open fashion with strangers is considered immature and naive.
But also, I sort of choose to keep a certain trust in the universe and in the goodness of others that some people find disturbing and risky.

All I can say is that I am almost fifty, and this attitude has served me well. It hasn't let me down. So... whatever.



posted on Mar, 7 2017 @ 12:45 AM
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Another aspect that I find important regarding child likeness. Children are touched by the pain of others to a higher degree than adults. ..generally speaking. It is hard. ..almost impossible to retain that level of sympathy and sensitivity into adulthood.

Which reminds me of one of my favorite bible verses. "I will take away your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And will cause you to walk in my statutes. Eze 36:26



posted on Mar, 7 2017 @ 02:04 AM
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originally posted by: Profusion
My conclusion is that while being childlike is a strength, it is also a weakness because childishness comes with it.

All 'strength', all 'weakness' exist in the eye (thoughts) of the beholder.

No matter what you might 'believe' or think to be a strength, there is an "equal and opposite Perspective" that will see 'weakness'.

There is not anything that can withstand unconditional Love, the most powerful of all is also the 'weakest'.
Depends on experience/Perspective! *__-

True, unconditional Love is ALWAYS Known by It's unconditional Virtues; Compassion, Empathy, Sympathy, Gratitude, Humility, Charity (charity is never taking more than your share of anything, ever!), Honesty, Happiness, Faith...

There are always Perspectives who imagine 'Compassion' to be a weakness, or Empathy to be a 'weakness', or 'Charity' to be a weakness, or 'Honesty' to be a weakness...
There are also rapists...



posted on Mar, 7 2017 @ 02:29 AM
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originally posted by: Galadriel
I have always valued being childlike as a quality, in myself and others, particularly in a romantic partner. Childlike wonder of the world. An innocence and openess, a curiosity, a creative way of experiencing the world, authenticity, joy and full of love, exuberance, and playfulness.


Me too! I have always nurtured the child within.





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