Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Innocence can imply lesser experience in either a relative view to social peers, or by an absolute comparison to a more common normative scale. In contrast to ignorance, it is generally viewed as a positive term, connoting an optimistic view of the world. In particular, one where the lack of knowledge stems from a lack of wrongdoing, whereas greater knowledge comes from doing wrong. This connotation may be connected with a popular expression explaining “innocent” as meaning “not knowing.”

Because innocence implies lesser experience and there is a common understanding of children and or youth as innocent, children become marginalized and adults who are assumed to have more experience get to be the ones to manage and protect youth. Adults protection of childhood innocence takes form in many ways such as adults deciding and being in control of what’s appropriate for children, when they could have access to certain rights, and when they could learn about certain topics.

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The lamb is a commonly used symbol of innocence in nature. The children of Israel are many times referred to as a lamb.

We work so hard every single day at work at school and in the yeshiva. We try to make schedules that fill each and every moment of our days and nights. We feel very much in charge of whatever it is we are doing. However, we all have many worries. Each one of us no matter where we live, our gender, our nationality or the social circles we live in, have worries. If we were to take a small innocent child on any given day, even on a cranky day, this child doesn’t worry if he will have something to eat the next day. Nor does he worry about what he will wear the next day. The list is long of what he doesn’t worry about, from A-Z. Why? Because they know that their parents will take care of them. Animals also know that they will find food, either by their caretakers or if they are out in the wild, by the creator. The point is that you won’t find a cow or a lion worrying all day about what will they eat, where will they live and so on.

We on the other hand worry day and night. Some worry so much they might not sleep at night. People get sick from worrying. Why doesn’t that small innocent child get sick from worrying? Since that child has an optimistic view of the world, they trust that all their needs will be meet by their parents. Why don’t we trust our father in heaven? After all whether or not we trust G-d, he will still take care of us, since he is our father. Our worrying doesn’t help G-d take better care of us. The small child tells his parents that he is hungry and would like to eat and he gets his food. True, we as adults get jobs and work and make money, go to the store and buy food. However, we are constantly worried whether or not we will run out of money or have enough to buy whatever we need. If we think each day that we are that small innocent child, a small lamb, in its owners hands we will never worry. We will be happy with what we have, like children who are much happier than adults.

One might think that since children have a lack of knowledge and responsibilities, they have no worries. This point might be technically true, but not fundamentally true. Children are happier because they trust their parents. We too, as adults, can reach even higher levels of happiness since our knowledge is greater than that of a child. But this knowledge shouldn’t be taken the wrong way and be replaced by worrying thoughts all day of how we will get by. We are a short time away from the day of judgment; the day our father in heaven will open each and every book of his children and look inside. What do we want our book to be filled with? Worries that we don’t trust our guardian? Pride that we are in charge and everything is up to us and in our hands? Or do we want G-d to look in our books and see innocent children who trust in Him? Working hard and going about our daily responsibilities doesn’t mean that we have to worry.

My point is to do all that is in your control and don’t worry about what isn’t. Don’t make yourself sick worrying about how everything will work out or how you will make it through the day. Trust that our father in heaven is looking after us every single day. He knows what is best for us and He will never let us down.

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