This is just a picture, of course. Modern spiritual instructors paint a picture of children, in school, learning lessons—ugh!—to tell us what we're doing here. I have a better picture: happier, available (to schoolchildren and super-seniors alike), both sad and blissful, hard and easy. The picture is that WE ARE PLAYING here on earth, playing games, playing music, putting on plays, playing sports, and all normal human activity.
Listen to the tiny tots on a playground, fighting about what the rules should be! School is an imposition foisted on children by adults. Non-urban societies have no schools. But play and games and inventing rules charge out like racehorses from our very core, from times before we can even talk.
Fun? Yup. Serious? Oh, yes! Watch those preschoolers screaming about what is fair and who broke the rules! Childhood is no idyllic dream. Too many teachers fantasize about their early days. So don't. Instead, sit at a playground. Baby shamans, focusing their infinite attention on small things. Like adults playing chess, whistling a tune, betting on a hole of golf, toddlers know how big the world is but choose instead to play little toddler games. And not just aimless play, either, but Rules, and Fairness, and Roles! Shocking! Awesome! Terrible! Wondrous!
Some shamans cannot abide such restrictions for long. Dare I hint at my understanding about why so many children die? The Game metaphor makes serious sense to me, in ways that scholastic nonsense always seems to fail. Mexican shamans have been said to disappear forever, on the rare occasion. Elijah and Enoch were reported to have ascended to the Divine without dying—or returning. Shamanic journeys that just kept on going. Deathwalkers that never returned to the living.