Once when Confucius was traveling with his disciples, he heard about a very intelligent boy who was living in a particular village.
Confucius went to speak with him and asked him jokingly:
‘How would you like to help me correct all the irregularities and inequalities in the world?’
‘But why?’ asked the boy.
‘If we flattened the mountains, the birds would have no shelter. If we filled up the deep rivers and the sea, the fish would die. The world is vast enough to cope with differences.’
The disciples left feeling greatly impressed by the boy’s wisdom. But Confucius said:
‘I’ve known many children who, instead of playing and doing the things appropriate to their age, were busy trying to understand the world.
‘ Not one of those precocious children did anything of any great significance later in life because they had never experienced the innocence and healthy irresponsibility of childhood.’