A Shift in Focus
It’s a pretty well established fact that our genetics combined with the influences of our family and environment provide the foundation for how we think and act in our adult years. I call it programming. Not necessarily in a bad sense – it frequently works to our advantage too. It’s just the way it is.
It should be apparent that our children – and all of us – benefit most from a positively oriented childhood. One that is filled with a combination of love and discipline. One that gives us a logical perception of right and wrong, an appreciation for learning and questioning, and a respect for those older and more experienced than ourselves. A childhood that instills a feeling of self-worth, a desire to do our very best in our life and a foundation confidence that will help us all do exactly that.
So did you ever wonder just how the heck we humans ever developed the concept that we all enter this world as really bad creatures? I don’t just mean sort of ornery or mischievous. I’m talking about bad with a capital “B”. And it’s not something that we develop over a period of years. Many of us learned that we showed up right out of Mom’s womb that way. That we were a bad, bad, person.
No, our parents may not have used the word “bad”. If they had, it might have been easier to understand some of the resulting skewed self-esteems or lack of confidence in our personal abilities to confront life’s problems and develop successful solutions to these problems. Instead, many of us learned that we were “sinners”. That we were basically unworthy of a good life and that we were incapable of achieving anything really worthwhile through our own initiative. We were taught to be afraid – of making mistakes, of thinking bad things and of the forces that created our world and brought us to this earth in the first place. We learned to fear death and the possible eternal punishment it would bring if we dared to rely solely on our individual efforts to navigate life’s rivers.
Talk about a confidence builder! Let’s see. Here I am in my formative years, on a par with pond scum and to top it all off, I’m going to wind up spending eternity in a really uncomfortable place if I don’t stop looking at Hazel’s blossoming boobs and do everything exactly right (including honestly, sincerely believing all the “right” things) for the rest of my life. No pressure there…
Don’t get me wrong. I’m certainly not saying that I don’t believe in a “creator” – an ultimate source or existence of love, power and wisdom, as well as a probable source of guidance and insight, too. Far from it. And I’m certainly not in a position to judge any other person’s fundamental beliefs. That’s not the intent. All I’m suggesting is that it might be a bit more beneficial to our children – and perhaps even ourselves – if we focused more on the positive aspects of our personal spiritual beliefs. If we emphasized love more than fear. If we tried to instill in our children an appreciation for their uniqueness and potential for developing into productive, contributing, caring adults. If we worked to provide a respect for nature and all of its creatures including those who are different from us. If we encouraged an appreciation for the inspiration and wisdom offered by all the great thinkers and literature of mankind. And if we strived to foster an intelligent sense of humor so none of our children would be inclined to take any of this too seriously.
It really is a beautiful world filled with love and caring – and hope. I think it’s important that our children know and understand this.
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