There is so much truth to that saying, we all heard it, and now as adults, how many of us actually understand it and have it as part of our lives. But on the other hand, when a mystical teaching tells us to acquire equanimity and not be affected by other peoples empty comments, all of a sudden it has great wisdom.
Those little children’s sayings are not meant for children, they are the legacy of very old times and the foundation of true teaching on how to be a free and a spiritually developed human being.
The Buddha said something while having a conversation with someone who was abusing the heck out of him and he was not reacting at all; “If someone gives you a present, and you do not accept it, who does it belong to?”
Did the Buddha originate the sticks and stones saying 2,500 years ago? Or does it even predate him. If we said it that way to a child, it would be useless because the child, not understanding the analogy would say; “I’ll take the present.” So the words had to change.
A child learns easily and quickly, the same way its young body grows and heals from little cuts and wounds. The mind grows in acquiring knowledge at the same rate that the body grows, and in reverse, you can’t teach old dog new tricks.
Take a few moments and think of all the little children’s sayings that you can remember. Look for the essence of great religions and spiritual teachings.
How does a child learn? This is important to understand because obviously we have not generally learnt much from all those good teachings on conduct except remembered the words.
As an example, I have learnt a tremendous amount about Tai Chi from Chinese masters whom I could not communicate with, I learnt by example by observing and feeling his body as he did the movements. A child is in the same situation. The child must learn from people that he or she cannot understand or communicate with. Even as the years pass, the level of our vocabulary is limited.
We learn to speak by being shown a cow, and say moo, cow. We learn our vocabulary and understanding of communication by sound and image association.
When our parents told us not be upset about what little Johnny said at school and remember that sticks and stones may break your bones but names will never hurt you, then shortly after flew into a rage because someone said something that we did not even understand, but all we saw were words passing and not flying objects, the value of the teaching was totally lost. We learnt what we saw, not what we heard.
Like so much of our preparation during the years of the formation of our character and mind, it was lost because our parents and teachers would say things, we would not learn, and they would yell at us saying; “Can’t you understand what I am saying.” While totally ignoring the fact that we could not understand what they where saying, but we did understand what they where doing.
Learn to be a good parent now, teach by example. Learn to be a good manager in business, teach by example. Learn to be a good child now, DO NOT learn from examples, but learn from wisdom.