Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Beloved Terrorists

I was thinking about terrorism recently and I realized that many of the people who use threats to control others do so with good intentions.

They are infected with fear themselves and they believe that by passing on their fears to others, they will save others from the fearsome consequences they dread themselves.

I am familiar with this kind of terrorism, having come from a church background where terrorism is practiced regularly. The people who preached a gospel of fear were not cruel people. They honestly believed that their teachings would benefit all who would heed them.

I have also known the kind of terrorism that communicates: "Conform or else." Parents are often guilty of this kind of terrorism. Their intentions are usually pure. They want us to become people of good character and good habits so that our quality of life will be the best it can possibly be. In my view, the only reason it becomes necessary for them to use terrorism to achieve their goals is their own lack of imagination, and possibly lack of a solid foundation. My discovery with my own children is that if you lay a foundation of open communication, which includes listening to at least 350 of the 400 question they ask every day when they are small, and answering as many of them as possible, you may find it unnecessary to instill fear in them. It is the relationship that causes them to want to develop good character. They naturally idolize their parents and want to please. If you let them know how much you appreciate their displays of love, generosity and other elements of good character, it is human nature for them to want more of that. It is called positive reinforcement. I am a firm believer in natural consequences, as well, but I believe they are not needed as often when you use plenty of positive reinforcement.

Of course, there are those terrorists who know exactly what they are doing. They want power and control, pure and simple. It seems from my observation that such people are usually brought down by their own harmful intentions. The terrorists I am talking about here may not carry machine guns or take part in suicide missions. Many of them wear nice suits and hold high positions in government or the community.

But I'm not sure they are capable of doing as much damage as the terrorists who love us, the ones who mean well, and so the fears get mixed up in the love and are much easier to believe and harder to shake.

We all have lessons to learn in this life, and one of them is to use our own gray matter to figure out for ourselves what we want our lives to be. No matter what we may have been taught, we are responsible for creating our own best lives, and if we choose not to, there is no one to blame but the person looking back at us from the mirror.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by. Please feel free to leave your comment, and as long as it's not spammy or troll-y, I'll be happy to approve it.