But from the very beginning every child is taught not to be so cheerful. To be cheerful is to be childish. To be cheerful is to be natural, but not civilized; to be cheerful is somehow primitive, not cultured. So you have been brought up not to be cheerful and whatsoever you have ever enjoyed was condemned again and again. If you enjoyed just running and shouting around the house, somebody was bound to be there saying, “Stop that nonsense! I am reading the newspaper!” – as if the newspaper is something very valuable.
A child shouting and running is a more beautiful sight than any newspaper. And the child cannot understand: “Why? Why do I have to stop? Why can’t you stop your newspaper reading?” The child cannot understand: “What is wrong in my being happy and running?”
“Stop!” – the whole cheerfulness is suppressed, the child becomes serious. Now he sits in a corner unhappy. The energy needs movement, and a child is energy, he delights in energy. He wants to move and dance and jump and scream and shout. He is so full of energy he wants to overflow, but whatsoever he does is wrong. Either the mother is saying, “Keep quiet,” or the father or the servant or the brothers or the neighbors. Everybody seems to be against his flowing energy.
One day it happened:
Mulla Nasruddin’s wife was very angry. Her small boy was making too much of a nuisance, creating too much nuisance. Finally she was exhausted and she ran after him – she wanted to thrash him well – but he escaped, escaped upstairs, and hid himself under a bed. She tried hard, but she couldn’t get him out. She was a very fat woman, she couldn’t get underneath, so she said, “Wait, let your father come.”
When Mulla Nasruddin came, she told the whole story. He said, “Don’t be worried, leave it to me. I will go and put him right.”
So he went upstairs, walked very quietly, looked under the bed and was surprised – surprised by the way the boy greeted him. The boy said, “Hello, Dad – is she after you also?!”
Everybody is after him. The overflowing energy is looked at as a nuisance. And that is delight for the child. He doesn’t ask much; he simply asks a little freedom to be happy and to be himself. But that is not allowed.
“It is time to go to sleep!” When he doesn’t feel like going to sleep, it is time. He has to force himself. And how can you force sleep – have you ever thought about it? Sleep is nothing voluntary, how can you force it? He turns in his bed – unhappy, miserable – and cannot think how to bring on sleep. But it is time; it has to be brought or it is against the rules.
And then in the morning when he wants to sleep a little longer, then he has to get up. When he wants to eat some-thing, it is not allowed; when he does not want to eat something, it is forced. This goes on and on. By and by the child comes to understand one thing: that whatsoever is cheerful for him has something wrong about it. Whatsoever makes him happy is wrong, and whatsoever makes him sad and serious is right and good and accepted.