Monday, May 4, 2009
My New Wallet Part II
Last week, while transferring the contents from my old wallet I ran across two tattered articles I had carried around since the mid 1970’s. Although this was a turbulent time period in history, it was back in the days when Dear Abby was not worried about political correctness (vs. her replacement in today’s world) and the lines between right and wrong were much more clear. The simple life portrayed in Leave it to Beaver was a reality for many of us back then.
These articles have framed my thinking for the past few days – and I feel compelled to follow up so that the thoughts will quit rolling around in my head. (Maybe they never will – because they are so fundamental to the basic needs of human nature, but I might be able to set aside the immediacy I feel to jot it down).
Dr. Thomas Malone, a psychiatrist in Atlanta wrote the second article, (which by the way, will be laminated before it is assigned to a slot in my new wallet), as follows:
"In my practice ... people sometimes ask me what psychiatry is all about. The answer is increasingly clear to me. Almost every emotional problem can be summed up in one particular bit of behavior: It's a person walking around, screaming, 'For God's sake love me!' Love me - that's all. He goes through a million different manipulations to get somebody to love him.
On the other hand, healthy people are those who walk around looking for someone to love. And if you see changes in the people who are screaming, 'Love me, love me,' it's when they realize that if they give up screaming and go to the other business of loving another human being, they can get the love they've been screaming for all their lives."
I saved this article for obvious reasons, but the message to me is twofold. 1.) We need to express enough love towards our children so they don’t have the vacancies that cause them to scream out for love in other ways, and 2.) We need to teach our children to serve others so that they can become selfless and experience the satisfaction that comes from helping others.
Childhood memories when giving to others was a matter of course are good to recall. I picture both of my parents with their hands outstretched in service in a variety of ways. In turn they taught us to do the same for family, friends, neighbors and strangers. It was not uncommon to have someone else at the dinner table or to help and serve those in need and as a result, it was passed on to my children. This, I believe, is a saving principle! When true service is rendered, a sense of purpose and deep satisfaction accompanies.
I have observed the reality of people crying out to be loved in a world that can be pretty insensitive and uncaring. While raising my own children it was always evident when I got too wrapped up in other things, and my kids found ways to get my attention. During the years I spent in the public schools, most misbehavior could be assigned to the fact that many children were on their own when they went home after school, dealing with the emotions of their parent’s divorce, or suffering from neglect in some other way. When children grow up with holes in their emotional soul, they continue in behaviors that cry out for attention and cry to be loved and accepted, often passing that same void on to the next generation.
To suppose that all emotional holes can be filled in an instant would be naïve. It is a process that can take years to resolve. But be assured; extending ones self by loving and caring for others can fill the emptiness and vacancy created at an early age a little at a time.
There are many ways to help children along the path of growing up in this difficult world. Among the greatest is to LOVE them and then teach them the principle of service. Rolling up our sleeves together is a gift beyond measure and will help to fill their emotional buckets ---enough to have surplus, with an outpouring to help others!