A child can do multitasking much better than an average adult will be able to do. Somehow, the ability of a child to handle inputs from multiple sources simultaneously… You’ll find that your child is playing in iPad, singing a song, listening to what you are speaking, commenting about it and in between, that biscuit also goes inside.
You won’t be able to do it. If you have coffee in the hand and mobile in the other hand, sometimes you’ll keep the coffee here and keep the mobile here! You won’t be able to do it. The point is, as they age, the ability to handle multiple stimuli diminishes in people. What it is to be a sixty-five-year-old, you will never know till you’re a sixty-five-year-old! You need to empathize. A common example I share with a lot of youngsters who get upset because the mother is asking them to reduce the volume.
“Even this I cannot enjoy when I come home!” and I always tell them, the nerves get weak with age. Sound goes and reverberates on those nerves and it causes a lot of pain to them. Because you’re not yet sixty-eight, you’re not yet seventy, at your age you cannot comprehend how a loudness of volume which is supposed to be enjoyment to be, is a nuisance to grandmother. It is to her because her old nerves cannot handle that sort of a vibration. When it goes and reverberates on those nerves, it causes pain.
Their memory does not get refreshed as much as our memory gets refreshed. I am intentionally classifying myself in the younger group. Their memory does not get refreshed as much as our memory gets refreshed. As a result, you will deal with this with aged people. They have told you something in the morning and they’ll come back to tell you in the afternoon, they don’t remember they have told you. And you can really get irritated. “How many times will you come and tell the same thing?”
If they knew they have already told you, they are not idiot enough to come and repeat it to you. They don’t remember they’ve already told you! That’s why they’re coming again to tell you. They have asked you a question and you have already told them an answer. They didn’t register it because their mind after asking the question has shifted to some other stimuli. So sometimes they repeat the question and you get irritated because you feel you have already answered that question. If they have heard the answer, why will they ask the question again?
A different level of sensitivity is required in dealing with people who are of a much higher age than you. You will have to understand, their system does not work the way your system works. So the more and more we internalize this, because relationships cannot be taught like technique. But when you develop that quality of empathy, when you develop the quality of sensitivity and sensitivity is just understanding, how much ever I try, I cannot get behind the eyeballs of another person and see the world, feel the world the way they see and feel the world.
What father is going through, it is not possible for you to understand how much ever you love your father, because you can never get behind the eyeballs of your father and feel what is he feeling! The insecurity of a mother-in-law that she might lose her son to you, the daughter-in-law, and as a result, periodically performing some emotional drama just to establish, my son is my son. And you feel sometimes paranoid about the whole thing, but her insecurity is her insecurity.
And you will know that insecurity when your child goes to school and your child is supposed to come back in school van by four o’clock and it’s 4:10 and your child has not yet come. You will go to the gate and wait. You’ll try to call the van driver. For the first time, there is an insecurity that you feel. Ten minutes delay! And for the first time, you’ll understand your sense of emotional possessiveness you have towards the child! Experientially, every parent who has an adolescent child here, must be going through this experience. “Has his friends become more important to him than us?”
Because it seems as parents, you are not able to empower what you want into their head anymore as much as his friends are able to convince him about what he wants. In fact, your only way to convince your own son and your own daughter is, you will have to transform all his friends, because he would prefer to listen… I remember such a beautiful statement Ashwin said when he did the course, when he was, I think, about eighteen or nineteen, he said, “During that period, when I was a very good friend to my friends, I forgot that I also need to be a good son.”.
And I’m sure during adolescent, everybody goes through. Your need to be a good friend is so predominant in you, you forget that you also need to be a good son and a good daughter, and you go through that as parent. You somehow feel, am I losing my son, am I losing my daughter, to her friends, to his friends? And this is probably a magnified version of emotional possessiveness, which a mother-in-law goes through. Am I losing my son to my daughter-in-law? Culturally, probably a mother has always been prepared, a mother of a daughter prepared, that one day I will lose my daughter to my son-in-law.
But culturally, we are probably not prepared for a mother to understand that, so what if I lose my son to the daughter-in-law? As long as they are happy, and they are loving and that’s exactly what I want. But that’s not how they think! And it just needs sense. It’s not about right and wrong. It’s very difficult to classify anything in relationship as right and wrong because we don’t know what they are seeing and feeling because we can never get behind the eyeballs of another person.
It’s nice to say, “Empathy is, you have to step into other’s shoes and feel the way.”. You will never be able to feel what they feel! But if I can develop that sensitivity and understand what father is seeing and feeling about life, how will I understand? Rightly so! You didn’t understand as a son and daughter some of the feelings of your parents and you feel today as a parent, your son and daughter are not understanding some of those feelings. And the only solution to all these things is sensitivity. Sensitize yourself and understand, you’re dealing with a very fragile human being.
However tough they might sound, however resilient they have been, whatever they have fought through in life, haven’t we learnt in this so many times? In the realm of emotions, we are all children. There is no adult in the realm of emotions. When you become insecure, for what you become insecure you are a child! And interestingly, insecurity is context-sensitive! Lot of things which the world feels they can never face and they’re able to face it. They are able to amazingly face it in life and the world stuns at your courage and yet, you have an insecurity about some aspect of life, which sounds so childish to the world. “For this, why are you insecure?” You are!
In matters of courage, you are a child. In fact, there is no context for you to feel so courageous. The way some of you take risk in business. The way some of you take risk in decision-making in aspects of your career, in the way some of you take a risk in stepping into a new relationship without knowing anything about that relationship. And there is absolutely no context for that courage. But there is blind courage with which you move forward in life. And you are a child!
I remember, in all matters of emotions, how much ever you are an adult in your intellectual perspective of the world, all of us are still children. What makes you cry may sound very funny to somebody. “For this why did you have tears?” For that he cannot have tears, but for something else he will have tears, which to you will sound very, very funny. Very, very funny. And the more and more we understand, in the realm of emotions, we all have our own childishness. We are in our own rights, children. Actually, think about it. Even when we talk about the spiritual emotions of surrender, devotion, faith, in fact, if you are a little child, it’s easier to have all these emotions. If you’re too much of an adult, difficult to have emotions! Unwanted questions you will ask.
And all these questions will lead you to more and more confusion and not necessarily to more and more clarity! In fact your entire relation… Love, the most childish emotion to have. Think about it. “For you, I will do anything.” Only a child can say that. And yet in love you always believe so! In a state of happiness, and there is this exaggerated dance within your heart, and you are a child! In the realm of emotions, everybody is a child. So then there is no question of thinking, my mother-in-law is sixty-five, or my father is seventy-two, or some of you sitting here, very evolved infinitheists at fifty, fifty-two. No, we are all emotions. That is why for different reasons at different times, stimulated by different experiences, we all cry!
Laughter! If a child within you is not very active, you cannot laugh. Problem with some of you is, you are too much of an adult. Everything becomes an analysis, everything! In fact, that is why so many of us, when we teach, we warn you in advance, “I’m going to tell you a joke.”. That is just our way of begging you, now, don’t analyze what I’m saying. Simply laugh at the appropriate moment. It’s to tell you. You cannot laugh your heart out if that element of a child is not there within you. In the realm of emotions, there is an element of childishness in all of us. And we all know it if we are honest with ourselves. Sensitivity is recognizing the child in every adult. And then simple things can make an enormous amount of difference.
All men sitting here, you want to get in touch with that child? Next time when your wife is having headache, just offer her, “Shall I massage your head for some time?”. Look at the expression of all the men sitting here! They feel my work will go up this Sunday. Look at the expression! Hardly one willing man sitting here, saying that, “Yes, I want to.”. And I’m telling you, the security…. She may not even take a massage from you. But the fact you offered will make her feel so good. And you will recognize. Sure only? No, I’m not giving you any guarantee, okay?
Some wives will say, “Not required.”. Some wives will say, “Here also do it, no?”. Will happen, it depends, okay? Depends on how your karma is and what you are struck with. It varies from person to person. But the point is, there is a little one in each one of us and understanding that is what sensitivity is all about.