There is a poem I read and read quite often entitled "If a child". I have pasted it below for you to read. I believe every word of this is true and would further add that some those learned behaviors are responsible in large part for the misery that Earth is today. Coming as I do from a backwards part of this planet I see the differences more clearly than those who were not born into the kind of world I was raised in.
In the 1960's I was privileged to live in abject poverty. That may not seem like a privilege to you but to me it is what helps me see the world a little more clearly than some others. I lived on the outskirts of a small village where the trip to the nearest town or city was something you planned for and looked forward to you. For most of my childhood and half-way into my teens we lived without electricity and running water. The bathroom was a building outside and water had to be carried up the hill from the well. Light was provided by propane lanterns and heat by wood stoves. With all that privation you would think I would have had a sad childhood but my childhood was the best part of my life.
I wandered fields and grew to appreciate green in all of its shades and hues. Woods & fields were all around me. To go swimming was only a short 15 minute walk. I was free when I was out in the open or walking in the woods and I could let my imagination soar.
I didn't have a TV, I read books or played with my brothers and sisters. It was not possible to shut myself away from my family in my own room because the five of us shared a room. I had chores to do and as soon as I was 10 I was left to look after my brothers and sisters for a few hours while my parents went out.
Mmmm I have strayed from my topic but it was needed to explain what comes next.
I was never complimented or hugged when I did good so I became a perfectionist with low self esteem. I was called clumsy and careless so often that I came to believe I was a klutz. In my adulthood I have become clumsy and prone to carelessness. These are examples of how your mind creates your personality and either weakens or strengthens your character.
A child is not born a smoker but when raised by parents that smoke they usually become smokers in their teens, ditto alcohol and drug exposure. I was given my first sip of beer when I was a year old, my father was a week-end alcoholic and they both drank during the first 7 or 8 years of my life. In my adult life I also became a weekend drinker.
My ex-husband says that nature triumphs over nurture all the time I disagree. I think that both your mind and your character is shaped by the way you are nurtured. Quite often nature or the true self get buried beneath all of the should've, would've and could've that come up in our life.
Mind shapes character not the other way around and by that token our mind can help us recover some of our nature if we want it to.
If A Child...
- If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.
- If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.
- If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy.
- If a child lives with shame, he learns to feel guilty.
- If a child lives tolerance, he learns to be patient.
- If a child lives with encouragement, he learns to be confident.
- If a child lives with praise, he learns to appreciate.
- If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice.
- If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith.
- If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself.
- If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, he learns to find love in the world.