Thursday, June 16, 2016

My Daily Reflection: where do we learn values?

I had a dream last night.  

In my dream a child grows up with no positive role models.  They see greed, and anger, they see hatred and revenge, the see love used for control and power, they see greed and ruthless desire for more.  In the midst of this they create a list. 

On that list are the characteristics the child imagines are the good characteristics, honesty, trust, kindness and generosity, gratitude, compassion, empathy.  

The list grows as the child learns about values that mark a good person.  

As the child grows up they face situations where the easy answer is that which they are familiar with.  

And every challenge the child faces they handle the same way, they pull out their list and ask “what would a good person do?”.  This child bases all their actions on a list of qualities that they never experienced.  This child never doubts what it takes to have good moral values even though those values are the exact opposite to which they have been exposed. 

As I woke up I wondered; is it possible to grow up to be a kind empathetic compassionate person growing up in a home where being right is more important that love, where being in control is more important than compromise, where winning above all else is what matters? 

Where do we learn our values?

Is it true that we only learn what we live?

That the home environment that we grow up in determines the kind of person we become?

Or do we have choices to make in growing up? Can we see wrong and recognize it as wrong and decide to do differently?  Or are we doomed to become and repeat that which we experienced? 

Are our reactions, our safety strategies as a child doomed to become the very character traits in the adult us that we fought against as the child us?

The psychologists would have us believe that our childhood determines what kind of adults we become.  If this is true, are we all doomed? 

Renate Dundys Marrello 
2016 - 06 - 16

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