Mr. P’ang of Ch’en had a son who was clever as a child…
All children are clever. No child is ever born who is not clever. Even if you sometimes think that a child is not clever that is just your thinking.
I have heard about a boy who was sitting on the fence watching his father working in the field. A bull came running.
The child shouted, “Papa, a bull is coming!”
And the father jumped and saved himself.
But he was more surprised than the bull was because the child had not spoken for seven years – he was seven years of age. He had not spoken a single word.
So the father said, “Forget about the bull. You surprised me more! Why have you not spoken up to now? And you spoke so suddenly – ‘Papa, the bull is coming!’”
The boy said, “There was nothing to say before, so there was no point in speaking.”
Even when a child appears to be stupid to you, beware of making judgments. It may be only because of your stupidity. Because whatsoever you have become, you compare from that point. If a child is not clever in mathematics you think he is stupid. But there can be a society where mathematics is not valued – music may be valued and the child will have a tremendous capacity for music. Then in that society he will be valued as intelligent. In your society a boy who can do mathematics well is valued and nobody bothers about his musical qualities. He may be absolutely non-musical. It depends. What society values is not a natural value, it is a chosen value.
In some societies silence is valued – then to be silent is to be intelligent. In some societies talking is valued, so to talk is to be intelligent. It depends. In some societies dance is valued greatly and one who cannot dance seems to be stupid. In another society dancing is not thought about at all. Then nobody bothers whether you can dance or not. If you can be good at mathematics, at the 3 R’s reading, writing, arithmetic then you are intelligent.
But for thousands of years man has lived without these 3 R’s – yet people have been intelligent otherwise they could not have survived. In fact, to survive today is very simple, problems have almost disappeared. To survive in the jungle, when there was no house over your head, no food supply, no security, and you were constantly in danger…man must have been very, very intelligent, otherwise there would have been no possibility of his surviving. Man is not a very strong animal, all other animals are far stronger, but still man has survived because of his intelligence, his sensitivity. He can feel more, he can become more aware and more alert.