Behavior is determined by our heroes or villains, who we think we are most like and or who we want to be like. The search begins early on.
Then there were other family members: my brothers, one grandparent, my aunts uncles, and cousins; next came childhood friends, neighbors, and teachers. Most were heroes in the sense I wanted to be like them. A few were people I definitely did not want to emulate.
From the media there was the Lone Ranger and Tonto – my first fictional heroes. Shortly after, came Velvet Brown, the girl played by Elizabeth Taylor in the movie National Velvet. I wanted to be a jockey.
In time I read E.B.White’s A Once and Future King; his Merlin became and remains at the top of my list of fictional heroes.
Finally, Thomas Moore as depicted in A Man For All Seasons rounded out those who in my young years made me want to emulate them.
As for villains, there was Hitler and Hirohito darkening my early years; Stalin and Mao joined them.
Jerome Kagan lists who we identify with (meaning who we want to be like) as one of his eight factors determining a person’s behavior. Every child wants the approval of these around him or her; every child wants to meet the standard good guy/ bad guy promoted in his culture. Trouble looms when the standards promoted encourage saved and damned; think the Inquisistion, or fatwahs. No child wants to be among the damned.
Trouble looms, however, when the standards cannot be met. Think of the Columbine High School killers. Surrounded by Christians; they did not or could not identify with their standards; more of less out-cast, they turned to killing. If you cannot be good, you might as well be bad.
What to do?
EMOTIONAL FITNESS TRAINING TIPS
Self awareness, knowing how we think, how our thinking and our feelings are reflected in our behavior is a major ingredient of Emotional Intelligence. Not all of us are self, aware. I am in some areas, not in others.
A personal example of self-awareness: I was assaulted by a red-haired bully when I was five or six. I have a spontaneously negative reactions to red-heads. This is a prejudice and knowing how it originated enables me to set in aside and deal with the person as the individual he or she is.
The following questions are designed to improve you self-awareness.
Tip One: Know your heroes, particularly those from your childhood.
Tip Two: Know your culture’s heroes.
Tip Three: Know your villains.
Tip Four: Know your culture’s villains.
Tip Five: Check the above against the universal value of treating others as you want to be treated.
Tip Six: Think about who you or your culture places outside of the culture of caring as defined by the universal value.
As the result of these questions, have you changed your thinking about your heroes or villains?
Foster self-awareness in you children by asking similar questions.
Sharing is caring; so is liking, or commenting. All three help keep me going.
Thank you and work at staying strong until next time,. I work hard to do the same as life is often difficult, but exercises like this one lets me find the good.
This post was not inspired by this WordPress Daily Prompt
Seat Guru You get to plan a dinner party for 4-8 of your favorite writers/artists/musicians/other notable figures, whether dead or alive. Who do you seat next to whom in order to inspire the most fun evening?
But my guests would include E.B. White, Thomas Moore, The Dai Lama, Mark Twain, Mother Theresa, Hillel, and Queen Boudica. I would have Hillel sit at one end of the table, I would sit at the other end. Queen Boudica would between E.B.White and Mark Twain; Mother Theresa between Thomas Moore and the Dalai Lama.
But every once in a while I would announce “Musical chairs” and the seats the order would shift randomly
LINKS OF INTEREST
Easy Emotional Fitness Exercises (www.emotionalfitnesstraining.com
The five components of Emotional Intelligence (www.sonoma.edu)Emotional Intelligence (en.wikipedia.org)Emotional Fitness Tips for Parents (parentsarepeopletoo.com)
An Emotional Fitness Program for Parents(amazon.com)