Sunday’s Wisdom #33: A Child’s Love is Freely Given

“Look, over in that house is a kid who thinks you are the greatest, and it’s not because you’re a space ranger, pal. It’s because you’re a toy. You are his. Toy.”
– Woody
Toy Story

This little gem comes from the scene where both of the main characters, Woody and Buzz, are at their lowest. Woody has made numerous selfish mistakes which have trapped him in a nightmare, and Buzz’s delusion about being a space ranger, on which he’s built his entire self-worth, has been shattered. That’s when Woody tells him this: his worth is not in his being a space ranger, but in being something a child needs and cherishes.

Woody hasn’t given up just yet, though, in this same scene, he finally admits all of his negative feelings towards Buzz and himself. Ironically, he’s forgetting what he just said to Buzz, and how it applies to himself as well. Their kid, Andy, doesn’t love Woody any less just because he loves Buzz too. And if Buzz not being a space ranger is irrelevant, then so is Woody’s status as a mere cowboy with only a pull-string voice box. This is why Woody has made his mistakes, because he’s forgotten the same truth he’s telling Buzz. Andy doesn’t love Woody because he’s a cowboy, but because he’s his toy.

In similar way, how often do we define ourselves by what we are, rather than who we are? How often do we try to impress everyone with what we can do, rather than by who we already are? Children don’t love us because we’re kings and presidents, lawyers and doctors, teachers and handymen, or janitors. They love us because we are theirs. We are their parents, their grandparents, their aunts and uncles, their siblings, their friends. They love us because we are there for them. That’s it.

Children give their love to us freely, with neither judgment nor conditions attached.

So don’t get bogged down in trying to be something, or build your own self-worth around such, ok?

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