Simple Truths – Stop showing them the finger
I am not sure if this is an Indian phenomenon or just plain universal. Somehow we seem to have grown up with this ‘blame the whole world syndrome’. Nothing deters us from finding a finger to poke at someone else. God is the usual suspect but if that does not assuage our frustrations then any and every living being can be a good substitute, to say nothing of the ridiculous compulsion to blame that which is inanimate.
Let me illustrate this with something that most Indians would identify with, if not actively participated in. Little children always fall, either because they are still discovering the joys of two feet and their ability to traverse ground they were once forced to crawl on, or they just seem to be like a yo-yo with two feet. In any case, they are bound to fall.
Better sense has taught us to be silent to a child’s initial shock when they fall and not to contribute to it by transmitting our own fears. Gentle concern in a soft non agitated voice is more helpful than a hyper agitated adult attempting to calm a now bawling child who has inadvertently discovered that his or her pain and shock has more attention value than they first thought it had. The voice decimals are needless and pointless.
This brings me to the matter at hand (even though we are discussing feet). Now that the child has stumbled and fallen and the noise of the super agitated adult has sufficiently mixed with the distraught child, a solution to the matter at hand needs to be found. Here is where the child learns perhaps one of its first and worst ways of dealing with challenging situations.
Most adults, in order to calm the child and perhaps themselves, will now look around, often to any one if not ridiculously to an inanimate object, to point a finger of blame. Don’t be puzzled when you hear an adult begin to baby talk a child with these or similar words, “bad chair, beat it” if not “bad doggy, shout at him.” We have come to believe as adults that if we blame someone and console the child they will find consolation and stop crying. In reality most children bawl away but in those quick seconds have picked up one of life’s worst learning’s; when you are faced with a tough situation, find someone to blame and if there is no one, find anything to blame.
I learnt this simple truth from Ayesha Rego the mother of my God child. Her approach is both honest and refreshing. In moments like this she simply puts on her best adult voice and speaks to Elijah, often through the hot tears streaming down his face which attempt to match his inflated lungs. There is an adult rational conversation that takes place between mother and child. “Is it possible for you to walk slowly rather than run in the house?” There is no blame to pass on and this two year old has learnt a valuable lesson; I have to take responsibility for my actions.
Think about it, challenging situations trigger in us the compulsion to shoot from the hip and any one around us can become the unwilling target of blame. No one can make you angry as much as you would like to believe it to be true. What is true is that someone may have been nasty or rude but the choice to descend to the depth of rage and anger are entirely yours and you cannot blame anyone.
Fr Warner D’souza
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