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Wee Oscar had ability to make us all smile.

Byline: CIARAN MCKEOWN

THE life and death of Oscar Knox contains the simplest and deepest lessons for all of us.

A child's unconditional smile, radiating from the fact that it is loved, is the most uplifting event anyone can experience or observe. It's pure human sunshine - although it can be followed by storms!

All too often, as parents become worried about the child's future, anxiety enters in and transmits itself so that kids themselves feel pressure to perform and alleviate such cares - almost as if to recreate the original, natural and unconditional flow of affection.

It is the latter which gives children the confidence to survive and prosper in the world - not necessarily the best schools or tutors or results or "stuff" - but pure, happy, smiling, unconditional love.

None of us ever gets this right. I speak as a father of seven and grandfather of 13 (so far). Every well-meaning parent, trying to do the best for their offspring, will start out determined to be the best ever and adamant that they will not make the "mistakes" their parents made.

So they (we) make our own mistakes - and slowly realise that our parents' "errors" arose from a love that life's circumstances distorted into prescriptions which seem ridiculous to a new generation.

Then, when grandchildren arrive, and no such anxietyridden responsibility overrides our reactions, unconditional love returns in all its lifeenhancing power. Kids love it - although it can make parents uneasy, as if they sensed some subversive force undermining their power to direct their children's futures.

But given a lifetime to know how horrific human beings can be, one to another, community unto community, one begins to realise that unconditional love is really the most important force on Earth.

Of course, this is not some 60s Californian "do your own thing" carelessness about others: in fact, it is the exact opposite.

It is seeing the world (including oneself) exactly as it is - smiling, even at folly, including one's own, and, if possible, trying to do something about it.

It is sceptically clear-eyed but never cynical. It acts. It may not feel like it. It may not even like the people for whom it acts. But it acts.

The full flowering of unconditional love's power, when nothing, even affection, is required in return for selfless action, is unlikely if it has not been rooted in the original love of parents.

Wee Oscar didn't make it to his sixth birthday. But in his short life, he was so obviously loved that he touched and moved tens of thousands of people.

He suffered a horrific illness but never appeared as a victim and he was spared the knowledge of how horrible human behaviour can be.

There is an old Chinese saying: "He lives long who lives all his days".

By that measure Oscar James Knox lived a longer life than many who survived into old age and the unconditional love of his parents will go on changing the world for the better.

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MUCH LOVED Oscar Knox
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Title Annotation:Editorial; Opinion Columns
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:May 12, 2014
Words:504
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