A baby born the day before. A seasonal mango still unbitten. A young mind un-penetrated by the realities of life, a butterfly still in its cocoon, and a pre-teen living with their parents. A lot of nice and desirable things come to mind when we think about innocence. In many ways it’s an adorable trait even.
Nevertheless, when that innocence persists over time, it becomes an inconvenience. An adult who’s unaware of society’s structures, one who’s unaccustomed to facing impromptu situations, one who’s so innocent that they can’t even navigate the constructs of everyday life ends up a liability.
An unadulterated younger sibling at home might be fun, but when the same behaviour lingers at work, it holds everyone back. Think about this: an innocent child doesn’t know how to behave in certain circumstances. The same in an adult would mean that they’ve made no effort whatsoever to train themselves. Sure, laughing and joking around at an office party is fine, but not knowing why it’s inappropriate at a meeting with the board of directors isn’t charming. It’s inexcusable behaviour, and we can’t always shrug it off.
Such a person needs precise directions every time. They need someone to watch over them, tell them what to do and how, introduce them to people, spoon-feed guidelines, and hold their hand as they walk across the cubicle to talk to a senior team member.
That’s extreme innocence. It’s dependence. Not only is that annoying to others, but it also affects the individual’s growth. Unexposed to the actualities of life, they’ll live in their own little haven of imagination, believing only in what they want to believe, in a blissful manner, far too unassuming about how to get anything done.
It cripples them when they have to take up responsibility and prove themselves capable. If they’re unable to take on the challenge it affects their moral and mental health as well. They become the underdog, the weakling, the goat in a pack of wolves.
In a world that insists on independence, denying basic knowledge and exposure to a child places them at a disadvantage. It’s not how we should raise the future generation.
How do you interpret innocence? Good or bad?