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Children: Masters in Disguise
by Peter Hanfileti, MD

As I reflect on my years as a pediatrician, I am convinced that children are indeed masters in disguise. Little do we know how wise these little beings are. Especially in these times we are living in - the children present today seem to be here on a mission - to challenge us and to resonate with the inner child within all of us.

There are many books and philosophies for us to contemplate, enjoy and learn from, but as Lao Tzu states in the Tao Te Ching, “ The Tao that can be named is not the eternal Tao”. The pre-verbal child dispenses with the cumbersome crutch of language and uses a more direct communication style - expressing in the moment their true nature for all to see. Who among us has not witnessed the sparkle in a toddler’s eye upon receiving a simple gift, the tremendous power of a supermarket tantrum, or the distant squeal of glee while playing a game of hide and seek?

So what is this seemingly clandestine mission of which I speak that children are engaged in before our very eyes? I believe it is simply to remind us of who we really are. Children today are reluctant to acquiesce to the “rules” of mature adult behavior because they see how cut off we are from our own long lost inner child selves. Take any family situation and look at the youngest children in it. They will be like crystal clear barometers of what’s really going on in the dynamics of the household. It’s not that they are unafraid to express what others choose not to, they are just being natural in the context of the circumstances which surround them. Only after many years of differentiating acceptable from unacceptable behavior do kids learn to play the game of denial that adults play. They learn to pretend as if they were never children to begin with and thereby sacrifice both the lessons learned in times of vulnerability and hardship along with those which led to the ability to experience the unabashed joy of living and the excitement of new discovery. Let us be grateful for the opportunity to reclaim the vital inner nature that these masters represent and to stop this cycle of illusion which removes parts of ourselves along the way.

In keeping with the theme mentioned earlier with regard to words and language I will refrain from lengthy anecdotes. I will only recommend that you be on the lookout for these little masters in disguise. Hardly a day will go by without the chance to interact with one of these masters and perhaps even to ask one a direct question of importance. If you happen to have one living in your house already, all the better. Let the child inside you come alive again and be ready for natural communication and a life lesson in real time without words. Let the fountain of youth which children represent remind us all of the wisdom of nature present within and without. If we hold the intention to treat children as the masters in disguise they really are, we will be amazed at their ability to be true catalysts for the transformation of us all.

Peter Hanfileti, MD practiced general pediatrics for 6 years before changing his career focus to alternative medicine. He currently provides care to all age groups along with his wife, Lisa Hanfileti, LAc at Points of Origin - Acupuncture and Herbal Clinic in Vancouver, WA. He may be reached at (360)449-4500 or on the web at