from spoiled to mature

Do you know of the saying that a child is spoiled? That means when a child begins to expect certain privileges as if those privileges were not privileges, but essentials.

A child may say something like “but I need to have that toy” or even “you must let me stay up late tonight. Gramma said so!” The child may appeal to the supposed authority of someone else such as Gramma and say “you should give me another cookie.”

The child’s voice could be whining, raging or even desperate. Whatever the tone, these assertions are all tests- and one tone may work better than another. The child is testing the response of the other people.

Of couse, the child recognizes the functional authority of the other people- which is why the child directs the appeals to those other people. However, the child may also seek the approval, support and collaboration of others, again, such as Gramma. “Gramma, can you tell my mean sister to give me another cookie?”

But notice how the tone of voice spoken to Gramma could be so different from the other tones of voice. This spoiled child is simply developing into the function of giving directions, being comanding, exercising authority and leadership- jut perhaps not very competently at first.

However, these same patterns may arise again beyond childhood. Some say things like, “my spouse should be more like me” or “my teenager should be less like their friends” or “that driver should drive more like I expected them to drive” or “here is how this election should go” or “no, this is not how market prices should be. My realtor said so!”

Citizens may assert that they have a right to certain protections or subsidies from governments. How may people thoughtlessly presume that governments will always provide free childcare through public schools? Citizens may assert a right to free public education. Citizens may assert a right to travel across state borders without showing any documentation, to buy alcoholic beverages, to receive a trial by jury, and so on.

However, these rights are obviously not universal. Yes, public education of some sort has existed for centuries, but schools were not always free. Even driver safety school may be operated directly by governments, but there are still practical questions of what programs would be free, which ones only partly subsidized, and how would the finances for those programs be handled?

Many people interact with governments in a rather infantile way, throwing tantrums and claiming, in effect, that Gramma has authority over governments. What do I mean? Many people claim that the past has authority over the present. Many claim that words from decades or centuries in the past are more relevant today than current developments. Even though the old words were produced through specific developments limited to a time and place, we may worship those words rather than notice current developments. In other words, “governments should be however Gramma told me that they should be!”

In fact, some people assert that all other people should be however “I” learned from some alleged authority that all other people should be, including me. A spoiled child (or a citizen throwing a tantrum) is of course doing exactly what they think they should be doing according to whatever model of behavior they learned from whatever source. That is natural. “By throwing this tantrum, I’m just being loyal to Gramma. Don’t you GET that? Wow, obviously no one understands me!”

However, operating automatically according to some old pattern is distinct from learning. The challenge for a spoiled child is that they internalized a model and then gave more authority to the model itself than to the purpose of the model, which may be summarized in these two words: functional adaptiveness.

Models are constantly being revised. Those who stop learning, perhaps out of their supposed loyalty to Gramma (for instance), may be doing the last thing that Gramma would want them to do: stubbornly adhere to a model that is clearly not functioning well for them.

As for economic trends, anyone who focuses more on how economic trends should be than on how they actually are is actively inviting financial challenge- or even chasing it. Some, when faced with such financial challenge, evidence their resistance to reality (and to prosperity) by complaining. Only by receiving without judgment can one experience prosperity as well as inner peace. Resisting emerging developments because those developments are “disloyal” to one’s sacred models is foolishness. Models that do not apply to current developments are due for revision.

So, one opportunity is to receive spoiled children (of any age) without judgment. The rage, desperation, and even shame of many people… is perhaps not much different than one’s own prior experiences with those same or similar patterns.

3 Responses to “from spoiled to mature”

  1. Carl Freestone Says:

    What if a past model works well for everyone in the community? I don’t think there is anything new under the sun, as King Solomon may have said. It has all been tried before, and somethings that are very ancient work and continue to work.

    • jrfibonacci Says:

      In God’s timing, ancient things are brand new, then gone in a flash. So, either you are dead to what is emerging now or you are learning, experimenting, refining, emerging, innovating.

      If something is working smothly, it might not even be noticed at all. Do you notice how you complete the amazing task of processing these shapes on a screen ad makong sense out of them? Once upon a time, that was impossible for you. Now, it is effortless.

      So, Carl, I do not know why everyone keeps telling me to upgrade from Windows 95 though. I am waiting patiently for telegraphs to come back in style. Finally, I deny the existence of cell phones. Anyway, even if they could exist- which they cannot- they would be very bad. For instance, the other day someone with a very ancient cell phone was trying to get it to work and in fact it did work, but then the battery died! It would obviously have been much better if he had just used FedEx instead of texting. Of course, FedEx is also very bad- corrupt from top to bottom- so I take that part back. 😉

  2. jrfibonacci Says:

    Fionnuala – February 20 at 7:24am
    Hello, yes i have a 5yr old and we try so hard not to spoil..her but at the same time theres everyone else, tons of friends, we dont want a scene at most times so we let it ride! so yes any thing we can share to make live better i would like too know.
    thanks!

    J.r. Fibonacci February 20 at 11:30am
    as for the 5 year-old, she will learn from everyone. it’s fine. let her learn.

    and, only make a scene playfully and on purpose. in other words, if you ever notice that you are making a scene already, then you can keep making a scene now – with my blessings – as long as you do it playfully.

    Consider that much of making a scene may result from “trying not a make a scene” (how embarrassing!) and then having an erratic, explosive breaking through of that resistance with “over-correction.” Do you know the term “over-correcting,” like when driving and noticing suddenly that one is already very close to some boundary, then adjusting very abruptly- perhaps too much of an adjustment?

    Sometimes an abrupt adjustment is worth the risk- it may save lives by avoiding a collision, though sometimes an abrupt adjustment can result in danger where there actually was not much danger before the abrupt adjustment. This is why it is so important to make a scene playfully, for making a scene involves tension and haste and panic, while making a scene PLAYFULLY involves relaxing now.

    Anyway, you may have noticed that the blog is not really about children or child-rearing, but noticing how as adults we may maintain infantile patterns (like of dependency AKA no empowerment/victimhood) at least in some areas of our lives, such as relationships or finances or fitness. If you are willing, Fionnaula, notice in what ways you may have still been acting spoiled lately as an adult.

    Here is a sign: saying or thinking things like this… “______ [name of the accused person] really should already just know [or know NOT] to _________.” That is what I call “passive aggression,” though a very subtle form.

    Either a 5 year-old already knows how to fluently read Korean or not. Whether I think someone else should be a certain way is an entirely distinct issue, and possibly irrelevant.

    That is a silly specific case of the basic model: either someone does something or they don’t. If we relate to someone as if they are “a failure,” that is being a spoiled brat. I’ve done that a lot, including lately. So, if we would like certain other people to be or act a certain way, it is our opportunity to guide them, model for them, discipline and train those other people to be however we would like them to be, or else leave them alone as we focus on other people or other opportunities with those same people.

    Now, one opportunity is to playfully be spoiled. Plus, if other people are guilt-tripping themselves, you can say things to them like: “haven’t you ever been the parent of this 5 year-old before? You really should already know exactly how to do everything. Learning is for children. Grow up! You should know everything already. What happened to your teenage over-confidence? You really should be more like I think you should be. What a disappointment you have turned out to be! Not only are you a failure, but that means that I am a failure too because I really should have already produced perfection in you. Well, if you do not shape up quickly, I’m going to get BITCHY!”

    Be playful. Conveniently enough, I know a 5 year-old who is a master of playfulness if you want to hang around with someone and study how they do it. 😉

    Fionnuala – February 21 at 4:46am
    Wow thanks for that…

    J.r. Fibonacci February 21 at 11:55am
    you’re welcome.

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