This I Believe

Ronnie - Micanopy, Florida
Entered on May 19, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65

Based on my observations fear, ignorance, and the abuse of power are the root sources of evil. I believe the use of the word evil is a copout by individuals and society who deny any responsibility for the out come. There are good and bad in all walks of life, every one of us live with some ratio of good and bad, none of us are perfect. We all have our bad and good psyche representatives sitting on opposite shoulders arguing the cost and benefit of our behavior. I personally believe that negative behavior is a circumstance of our growth experience.

Compounding our learned behavior, most of us at some time in our life will experience an overwhelming sense of anxiety that takes hold and will not let go. Be it: the well being of a family member, an indiscriminate killer on the loose, or a nationwide dilemma where we are witnessing a culture clash that challenge emotions. At such times our thought process is focused on the forces of our anxiety, effectively diminishing our mental reasoning capabilities in dealing with daily life.

Every child makes its appearance on earth with a clean slate in behavior, ready to follow the examples of their surroundings. It is common knowledge that each and every one of us carry excess baggage as a result of our growth experience. Most individuals with negative excessive baggage have a great deal of difficulty shedding their experience of youth. Consequently they repeat the vicious cycles in the process of raising their children. Often the only people that can break the cycle are those who witness the behavior at a distance.

Some parents assume the attitude ‘do what I tell you, not what I do’. Some parents feel that corporal punishment is the only effective way of promoting positive behavior. I personally believe that promoting positive behavior is a matter of using your brain versus your brawn. A lite tap on the child’s bottom to get their attention may be appropriate, however imposing physical harm is never appropriate. If we did not like it when we were young, we should not impose it on our children, there is always a better alternative. Note, not relating or actively contributing social norms can be just as harmful to our children as corporal punishment.

In closing, I would like to share a brief episode with my son when he was in his early teens: I asked him to perform a yard work task to share in the homestead upkeep. At first he was belligerent, questioning why he got all the crap jobs. I had to explain the purpose three different times, rephrasing each time. Finally, on the third try he understood why I asked him to do it and, was more than happy to perform the task. I could have taken the ‘do it or else’ attitude with a result of frustration on my part and contempt on his, not at all desirable for either of us. After that experience, I realized the cognitive capabilities of children and adults can make a big difference in understanding each other.