Why Happy People Cheat
Things That Matter - Science & Spirituality
As a parent, what you want for your child is for them to be better and brighter than you or your parents. Often, through our children we believe we can actualize dreams that we have not fulfilled ourselves. We also have this expectation that if we are great, our children must be better. The problem with that is we cannot choose which portions of our DNA will be expressed in our little ones.
What if you are a parent who is a genius? Remember, there are all different of types of genius. Musical, kinesthetic, fine arts, spiritual, literary, culinary, spatial, mathematical, the list is endless. If you are a MENSA parent, or are a genius in a particular area such as being a virtuoso or maestro, raising an average child can be extremely difficult.
When your child’s brain function completely different than your brain of course it is frustrating. If you are a noted writer and your young one struggles in English, it can be tortuous to watch them work. Yet, if you believe you are a genius but cannot find a way to relate to your child, in fact, how genius are you?
Try to reach your children through their particular interests. All children will display interest or aptitude in some given activity. If you have a child who loves automobiles, use cars as the platform from which to teach them everything. From colors, counting to the principals of physics.
Now, we realize that certain children with autism spectrum disorders can be reached through their interests and taught. There are doctors, lawyers, musicians, and artists making a living who were previously deemed unable to be taught. These children, who are now gainfully employed productive members of society, were destined for institutions. Nobody is saying that every child will grow up to excel in a few or even a single subject. So this leads us to the question- can’t a child be average or even fail in some things and still be a perfect being?
As a matter of fact the endogenous issues of the highly intelligent brain are often incompatible with a simple life. Genius and madness are so often found together that we can identify many geniuses by their antics: Van Gogh and his ear or Einstein for not uttering a word till he was five or six years old. Interestingly though, the utterly crazy behavior of a genius we describe as eccentric. However, in the average person, our acceptance of such actions is surprisingly low. It seems that our tolerance for major oddity increases with the level of a persons talents. The importance is not to see a particular type of intellect as being all there is.
How about recognizing and celebrating the genius in being average! Why do we look down on the student who happily plods along with a C average? A person who is okay in sports, then goes on to a university and graduates in five years. This person then goes on to get a job with full benefits and raises a family if they choose. That person lives a life without any major hiccups and is happy. After all, the ability to navigate the world with all its intricacies, twists and turns without loosing one’s mind is impressive.
Looking at the world from that perspective, who is the real genius?
Choice. It sounds like so much freedom – the ability to decide what we do. Sounds like, we analyze things and come up with a decision. But do we really do that? Do we really behave as if, at every moment, we have a choice? Do we exercise our choice when something happens, or, do our habits, customs, upbringing, circumstances, feelings and thoughts choose our response? Choice sounds great, but in my personal life, choices have been hard to make. Too many times, I allow my circumstance to make the decision for me.
Before I can make any choice, I have to be able to see that choice. For example, before I was able to lose my belly fat (some of it), I had to think that I could. Thinking my stomach could never be flat again, because I had a baby, was the thought I lived by for 18 years!!! Finally, after believing I could lose belly fat, thinking it was possible, broke down the barrier my thought had created. I had to reject a previous thought to be able to choose. That is just one example of a time when I didn’t even see a choice.
There are also other times, when I don’t see a choice. When I am angry or in pain from being hurt, I can get so overwhelmed. Then, like an automatic response – pain, anger, hurt – lash out. I do not recognize the choice I have to respond differently. And I am happy to justify my response based on my circumstances. Other times, I am too busy putting one foot in front of the other, going through the motions, coping, responding like I usually do because the idea of doing things differently doesn’t even cross my mind. Patterns are so engrained in me that the fact that I can live differently escapes me. I don’t recognize/realize the choices I can make. The idea of choice is lost in the sea of my circumstances, my habits, my thoughts, my anger, my pain, my hurt etc., etc., etc.
And habits don’t only blind me from my choices, they go even further, they hijack choices I know I have. Habits can be a choice annihilator. Here is a scenario: I will take the same route driving even though I know there are better ways to go. There is no pain blocking me from seeing my choice, no anger, no hurt, no debilitating thoughts. I may even want to choose a different response. Yet, even when I know I can make a different choice, I slip right back into the old choice because I am accustomed to doing “it” a certain way. I know I have a choice yet I do the same old thing. I fail to exercise the choice I know I have.
Then there are other times when I fail to exercise a choice I know I have, not from habit but from thoughts. I know I have a choice but I rule it out, like it never existed. Like when my desire to keep a secret or pride leads me to behave as if I have no choice. Or, because of a perceived outcome, I rule out a certain choice because I don’t consider it a “real” choice. Whatever I am afraid of, or unsure of, limits my choice. When in reality, a choice is still a choice, even if I don’t acknowledge it. Sometimes I confuse whatever holds me back from making a choice, with having no choice. In other words, I confuse not exercising a choice with having no choice. Also, I talk myself out of things, I make them “non choices” when they are choices I chose not to make, for whatever reason.
And then there are those novel moments when I make a choice I know is not right but I make it any way- because I want to – is usually the reason. And finally there is the choice I choose not to make because I don’t know what to choose. That is in itself a choice, but I don’t usually see it that way. But choosing not to choose is the choice right?
The choices we make are ours. No one has control over our behavior but us. There are no circumstances that take away our choice. Our choice, despite our circumstances, is always our choice to make. Years ago, before I was ready to hear that, I rode high on the wave of “my circumstances made me do it” or I had no choice. Years ago, I hardly saw choice in my responses. Some responses seemed automatic, others justified, even when I made choices I knew I shouldn’t. And now, even though “I have a choice” feels more real, often times I still get too much comfort in blaming my behavior on what happens around me. It is hard to stay grounded in myself sometimes, hard to make wise choices, especially when all hell is breaking lose. But that is the journey: to stay grounded in the way I need to be despite anything else- to make conscious choices.
This year my New Year’s resolution was to remember, I always have a different choice. When I confine myself into the box of no choice, I am busting, not bursting, busting open that lid to see. What choices do I really have; what am I missing? This year, I am going to see what else is possible.
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Saturday 12:00 pm April 1, 2017
Center For Social Innovation (CSI)
601 West 26th Street, 3rd Floor, Suite 325
New York, New York