Imagine an innocent young boy. He’s inventive, open, durable, passionate, and friendly. He does well in school, art class, and athletics. Things come naturally to the boy; he has some ups and downs, but for the most part life is simple and carefree.
Yet as he grows, loved ones, teachers, and coaches start to teach him right from wrong; good from bad. They tell him who to trust, to wear a jacket when chilly, how to hold a pencil or paintbrush, that money has value, and the proper way to throw a ball. They also insist that he stand up for himself when someone makes him feel bad. And they make sure he apologizes when he makes others feel the same way.
Soon, the boy’s level of wonder and efficiency starts to decline. He becomes temperamental, blameful, and defensive. Often, his confidence appears shaken. Most of all, however, he just doesn’t seem happy.
This scenario is much more common than you might think. Indeed, every young child starts with the innate capacity to live freely and contentedly, to adjust to people and situations, and to self-correct when troubled. Then at some point, and to varying degrees, they lose these inherent gifts.