Search This Blog

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Inner Eye

To be aware of a single shortcoming in oneself is more useful than to be aware of a thousand in someone else.
- Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

How little we know about our own shortcomings and how fully aware we pretend to be about others' faults. Many of my teen students have complained about parents being hypocritical; they don't do what they preach. The same can be said for many teachers who present a different persona in class than they do in their private life. Students are quick to detect fakes; they have that special sixth sense in youth that seems to disappear as they get older. As a result, they shut their minds to that particular individual, and that includes parents. Trust is lost and communication suffers.

Honesty and Awareness are priceless tools in human communication, especially with children and adolescents. Psychotherapists know this very well and make it a center pillar of their treatment. Yet we fail to teach the Art of Communicating with our fellow humans in schools, whether public or private, just as we fail to teach the Art of Parenting to future fathers and mothers. A wise philosopher once said:" We have two ears and one mouth. That means we should listen twice as much as we talk." Regrettably, we do just the opposite with our most cherished people, wives, husbands, children, students and close friends. We have this urge to tell them what we think and the reasons for it. Seldom do we take the time to listen, actively, to their own position on the matter. Seasoned and successful diplomats know this and apply the appropriate strategy to achieve results.

How often have we heard our students say :"I wish my father would listen to me."? How many times does a wife complain to her best friend about the husband who never has time to talk, meaning of course serious discussions about important matters? How can we reach a good decision if we act without using the Inner Eye, the tool our conscience offers us to examine, weigh, assess, and analyze our motives, our emotional reactions, and our own shortcomings?

Remember the judge who was filmed whipping the back of his daughter of 16 with a belt? He was clearly enraged, out of control, and yet he justifies his actions as needed discipline. As parents, we should never, ever, punish while angry; the consequences will be disastrous for the child. He or she will cower in fear every time they hear their father coming home; their self-esteem will be shattered and their ability to love and care seriously affected even after they grow into adulthood. Humiliating a child, or an adult for that matter, can result in permanent emotional damage, not to mention the creation of distrust and maybe even hate. It takes a superior being to forgive his parents and/or his teachers for their past abuse, both emotional and physical.

Yes, there is a strong  need for discipline in any family; but too often, parents confuse discipline with severe punishment. Again, the need to prepare future fathers and mothers must start, believe it or not, in elementary school. Children 6 year-old or more are quite capable of expressing their feelings regarding good parenting. Using dolls as make believe children, these kids can be taught how to teach discipline with love and patience. We expect our dogs to behave, but if we use blows and intimidation to achieve that goal, the animal will eventually turn on his master. Should it be any different for human beings?

No comments: