As I see it, the insanity all starts with conflicting signals when we’re growing up and here’s one example: a child is told that it’s only right to share their toys. “Sharing Is Caring” they’re told. THEN, they see their Pops and his buddies drinking beer and smoking cigarettes, watching the game on the telly, where two teams of grown men are fighting over a ball, one ball, and their Pops and his buddies are screaming “KILL THE BASTARD!!! HURT HIM!!! KNOCK HIM DOWN!!!! TAKE THE BALL AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”.
Of course Little Johnny will (not) take that ‘Sharing Is Caring’ crap back to the schoolyard, will he? Ya think? Nope; he’s ready to “kill the bastard!” But, with any luck LJ will be sent into a kiddy sports arena where he’ll be told to maim and kill other kids; as long as he plays fair. (?) Do you see the logic in that? I don’t. And consider that LJ is most likely going to carry that ‘sport’ ethic into his personal relationships and into his adult life.
Let’s take a moment and talk about role models, in Spanish: ejemplo; example. Back to the football game: say that it’s Thanksgiving and you’re one of the 3.5 children born into a dual parent relationship (married or not), and more than likely both of your parents have jobs; but, only one is sitting with his friends and watching the game; the other one is the ‘Edith’ as in: “get me another beer, willya Edith?”. One kid will be in the teevee room trying to figure out what makes the boys so loud, crude and rowdy; one kid will be in the kitchen because to them Edith is really Mom; one kid will be in their room reading Jane Eyre, being grateful that they can be left alone and the point five kid will be playing a video game that includes mayhem, murder and misogyny; all will be forming role model attachments Role models are the people that you look up to because whatever they are doing is cooler than anything that you can come up with. What you relate to you tend to become; what you become is who you (and others) will have to live with and will ultimately be reflected in your behavior. Your actions will have to come with some consequential responsibility; or not.
Kids will be told by their life coaches that “it’s not whether you win or lose; it’s how you play” and then they will be shown by life itself that it certainly is NOT okay to lose. They will be told by life that if someone else has a ball… smash them in the face, knock them down, kick them and take the friggin ball and run away with it. As a result, their adult conflict resolution is usually: SACK THE QUARTERBACK!! (mentally, emotionally, verbally and in worse case scenarios… physically). Say it isn’t so.
On the other hand, some kids raised are being told that they are prettier, smarter and more talented than anyone else walking god’s green acres; they’re given things freely, with a sort of reverence that’s usually reserved for iconic deities and this should net positive results, right? Not necessarily; not if the child is going to find out that there are a lot more prettier and talented kids out there and that the competition to stand out is fearsome. At best they’re going to believe that their parents don’t know shit about how the real world works. At worst they will be the brunt of teasing and bullying by, curiously enough, those less pretty and talented than they are. Either that or THEY WILL BE prettier, smarter etc. and will use those talents egoistically to inflict mischief and manipulate others who are not. (?)
Remember that cheerleader that had her own clique that you were excluded from and how that hurt? Sure you do; you had a Voodoo doll at home in her image and stuck pins in her eyes (and elsewhere). Remember that brainiac that always knew just the right thing to say to make you feel small, insecure and stupid? Sure you do; you beat him up and took his lunch money.
Now, this may seem like all the trouble starts with the adult role model’s duplicitous behavior in a child’s life and how that leads to disaster when that kid grows up and has to relate to another child that has grown up just as damaged as they are and both are employing their role model’s tactics. Well it does and it’s up to any self respecting -- and that’s the pivot phrase: self respecting—person to break that mold by not putting up with that mentality in their world, in their life, in themselves, in their relationships and in other people; AND certainly not in their children.
Then again, you point out, some kids are born bad, wild and mean; some kids are born sensitive, artistic and insecure. Ya think? The bashful and the bully; the con artist and the one who works in oils; the beauty and the beast; the registered nurse and the rapist; they all started out on the exact same sperm and egg blind date. They turned out fat and skinny, high strung and indolent, ballerina and butcher and all of those aspects that make the world such a diverse and wonderful place to live. That sperm and egg combination gave us hairdressers and harlots, Hindus and homemakers and handymen and heroes and Hitlers and homosexuals and hogcallers in Hertford, Hereford and Hampshire (where hurricanes hardly happen). All are born without an instruction manual, looking for guidance; a sign post; a rudder; a port for the storms.
They spend their childhood through adolescence and into sexual maturity just trying to get along in their world until they can figure it all out and then… they fall in love; realizing that you’re falling in love for the first time I refer to as THE ‘holy shit’ experience. When, and if, it happens more than the first time (it generally does) I call it the ‘holy shit, here I go again’ confusion. It’s a flummox; a baffle; a flabbergast; a dumbfound. It’s rarely easy and we rarely know how to pull it off much less make it stay and work out. Sex helps a lot. So does friendship, common interests and patience; plenty of patience. And even that is a lot of times not enough to make love stay.
As a side note: we all know the horrors of our hormones when that age hits us for the longest time when that itch and scratch routine get us into every kind of imaginable trouble, the push and shove the moaning groaning panting heart thumping mind reeling electric astonishment confusing enlightening dizzying portals to pleasure that leave us exhausted, but none the wiser and we’ll stop here to regroup and continue into part three. Send me your thoughts.