Osho’s Solid Advice on Raising a Child

"Take the risk and let the child go into the unknown," says Osho to parents who wish to preserve the child's original, uncorrupted nature

close of of a smiling face of a child

The original face of every child is the face of God. Of course, my God is not a Christian, a Hindu, a Jew. My God is not even a person but only a presence.

It is less like a flower and more like fragrance. You can feel it but you cannot catch hold of it. You can be overwhelmed by it but you cannot possess it.

My God is not something objective, there.
My God is your very subjectivity, here.
My God can never be indicated by the word “that.”
He can only be indicated by the word “this.”

The God of my vision and experience is not to be searched for in the synagogues, temples, mosques, churches, in the Himalayas, in the monasteries. He is not there because He is always here. And you go on looking for Him there.

When I say every child’s original face is the face of God, I am saying that God is synonymous with life, existence. Whatsoever is, is divine, sacred. And there is nothing other than God. God is not to be understood as quantity, but as quality. You cannot measure it. You cannot make a statue of it, you cannot draw a picture of it. In that sense it is absolutely impersonal. And if you look at the faces of children when they arrive, fresh from the very source of life, you will see a certain presence which cannot be named – unnameable, indefinable.

The Child Is Full of Life

The child is alive. You cannot define its aliveness, but it is there, you can feel it. It is so much there that howsoever blind you are you cannot miss it. It is fresh. You can smell the freshness around a child.

That fragrance slowly, slowly disappears. And if, unfortunately, the child becomes successful—a celebrity, a president, a prime minister, a pope—then the same child, now an adult, stinks.

He had come with a tremendous fragrance, immeasurable, indefinable, unnameable. You look into the eyes of a child—you cannot find anything deeper. The eyes of a child are abysmal, there is no bottom to them. Unfortunately, the way society will destroy him, soon his eyes will be only superficial; because of layers and layers of conditioning, that depth, that immense depth will have disappeared long before. And that was his original face.

The child has no thoughts. About what can he think? Thinking needs a past, thinking needs problems. He has no past, he has only future. He has no problems yet, he is without problems. There is no possibility of thinking for him. What can he think? The child is conscious but without thoughts.

This is the original face of the child.

Rediscover Your Original Face

Once this was your face too, and although you have forgotten it, it is still there within you, waiting someday to be rediscovered. I am saying re-discovered because you have discovered it many times in your previous lives, and again and again you go on forgetting it.

Perhaps even in this life there have been moments when you have come very close to knowing it, to feeling it, to being it. But the world is too much with us. Its pull is great – and there are a thousand and one directions in which the world is pulling you. It is pulling you in so many directions that you are falling apart. It is a miracle how people go on managing to keep themselves together. Otherwise their one hand will be going to the north, another hand to the south, their head must be going towards heaven; all their parts will be flying all over the place.

It is certainly a miracle how you go on keeping yourself together. Perhaps the pressure from all sides is too much so that your hands and legs and heads cannot fly. You are pressed from everywhere.

Paperweights Keep You From Flying

Whenever I see… and I don’t know why people go on sending me beautiful paperweights—I don’t have any papers. What am I going to do with paperweights? Perhaps they think there are hundreds of books in my name so there must be so much paperwork around me, all over my room papers and papers. There is not a single paper.

Yes, paperweights go on coming, and whenever a paperweight comes I am immediately reminded of you. You would have been flying like papers in the strong wind, but there are so many paperweights to keep you pressed and give you an idea that you are one individual. You are not—you are many, and in the crowd of this “many-ness” of your existence, your original face is lost.

The Stranger in You

Even if by chance you happen to meet your original face, you will not be able to recognise it, it will be such a stranger. Perhaps you come across it once in a while, just by accident, but you don’t even say Hi! It is a stranger and perhaps deep down, a certain fear – that is always there with every stranger.

That’s why people try to become acquainted, introduced to strangers, the sooner the better. They don’t want to be left in that state of fear, that somebody is absolutely unknown to them. They don’t know what he can do, what he intends to do, what kind of person he is. Maybe he is a murderer, a thief.

Let the Child Explore the Unknown

You are asking me how we can save the original face of our children.

You don’t have to do anything directly. Anything done directly will be a disturbance. You have to learn the art of non-doing. That is a very difficult art.

It is not something that you have to do to protect, to save, the original face of the child. Whatever you do will distort the original face. You have to learn non-doing; you have to learn to keep away, out of the way of the child. You have to be very courageous because it is risky to leave the child to himself.

You cannot give anything to the child, you can only take. If you really want to give a gift to the child, this is the only gift possible: don’t interfere. Take the risk and let the child go into the unknown, into the uncharted. It is difficult. Great fear grips the parents – who knows what will happen to the child? Out of this fear they start moulding a certain pattern of life for the child. Out of fear they start directing him into a particular way, towards a particular goal, but they don’t know that because of their fear they are killing the child. He will never be blissful. And he will never be grateful to you; he will always carry a grudge against you.

The Original Face of the Child Is Priceless

For thousands of years we have been told, if the child is left to himself he will be a savage. That is sheer nonsense. I am sitting before you—do you think I am a savage? And I have lived without being interfered with by my parents. Yes, there was much trouble for them and there will be much trouble for you too, but it is worth it.

The original face of the child is so valuable that any trouble is worth it. It is so priceless that whatsoever you have to pay for it, it is still cheap; you are getting it without paying anything. And the joy on the day you find your child with his original face intact, with the same beauty that he had brought into the world, the same innocence, the same clarity, the same joyfulness, cheerfulness, the same aliveness …. What more can you expect?

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