My mother was a disciplinarian. If we passed a certain test she would ask us to recite the words to the tune of The Spirit of the over. After the Christmas holidays, she instructed us to do the same.
Our childhood memories are joggers of ice age conformity, rules, and anxiety about fitting in. It was not natural to be this way. The United States was founded with values of education, hard work, personal achievement, and self-respect. As we grew up and entered school, values changed from education towards rigorous home study programs and difficult social dances. I remember the day we moved to a new school. I still remember the smell of new furniture, and the huge posters plastered to the ceiling proclaiming who I was at that event. It was customs and intimidation like emerged from that day on.
We are playground people, subjects of the big classroom. As we grow we learned that we had special features like hair, skin tone, and size. As teachers skipped from purple to red-faced, blue-eyed to dark, the children ate it up. Children are not the same, no matter how similar they look. Each knows the other exists only in the imagination. So as we grow through our childhood, we do not abandon the instinct for societal conformity, even if there are no rules to follow. Just look at today’s schools, where overcrowding is changing the schools into extensions of society. From my perspective, it is time to begin. What do we have to do, to show our children we love them more than officially placed rules? How do we teach them the difference between right and wrong?
In each of us, there is an Authentic Being locked away somewhere. It wants to get out and do something special. As parents, and teachers of future children, let’s learn to share the answers to the questions they are asking: What are we going to do with our lives? Who am I, and who are we becoming?
My list of rules for conduct:
Be yourself within and without. When you are authentic you walk the path of life. You chose your actions, and your life will speak for itself.
No questioning of another. When you are authentic, you walk your talk. There are no secrets from teachers or parents. If you are being used, you will tell or talk.
Visualizations. What do you visualize and what is the outcome of your courageous plans? How does what you see happening in your mind affect the other people in the room.
Warmth. Be kind, courteous, patient, and helpful to others. Eventually, you want to be spoken at on your good day. Be aware of what you are doing well and thank God for smiles.
Assertiveness. When you let others know what you think, you create respect. You may not like the behavior in yourself, but withheld behavior will create self-respect.
Be one with the group. Bring the talk, not just the talk. Remember you can leave your comfort zone to be one with people. You are your own best friend, be true to yourself and to others.
Speak with understanding. Speak from the heart and with respect.
Be grateful. As you pass people inline or in a discussion, rely on gratitude. Give others their space and thank them for being themselves.
Love unconditionally. Just pick up some litter wherever it is. Love those who have hurt you for what they are. Love those who misjudge you, not for who you are. Don’t condemn yourself for poor choices. There is always an opportunity to start down the path of forgiveness. You can love unconditionally.
Be positive. Always see the bright side of life. Remember the good times and live in them. Love the people who tend to annoy you.
Live intentionally. Be the person you want to be now. Watch your daily behaviors and institute new ones.
Communicate. Speak loudly and clearly with all your love. Nurture your relationships by listening more and speaking less.
Treat others the way you want to be treated.
Take plans off the front burner. Ensure you deal with issues before they come to the surface.
Change. Change your identity and your strategies so they are more of your own.