Tuesday, June 25, 2013

INFLUENCES


It's hard to figure out sometimes. Is it genetics or environment that persuades an individual to embark on a particular pathway--whether "good" or "bad"...

I've never been extremely ambitious. Not compared to what I've seen looking around...Growing up, my parents were hard workers...But my sister --who had severe mental illness --was considered "ambitious" if she made it to the bathroom to do number one...My only brother moved often during his younger years...from one state to another... that had the better public assistance program for low income residents...

What if I'd grown up in an overachiever type of family?  What if I'd had to compete with my siblings to be bigger, better or show off more? Would I have had the time  (or even the desire?) to be reflective and ponder when young, such matters as "What does Jesus really want me to be like in the world?"

Some kids have a tremendous pressure to do do do and to be be be. To "make it" in the world. Or else they are without parental approval. Parents can cause a lot of emotion and reaction in a child just by giving them "the look"...Can you imagine what it must be like if they are told repeatedly over and over again what they must do?

I used to be more judgmental. Now I look at someone and I think, "What kind of environment did he/she grow up in? Is their behavior an outcropping of a dysfunctional emphasis on the wrong things?" "Wrong things" of course, can mean whatever is different than what I believe is the "right" thing...maybe moral, maybe ethical, maybe qualitative "norms"...

Identical twins can share many, many similarities in personality. But then there's cases where they don't. Some get along famously... but some cannot stand one another. Some adore dressing alike... but some absolutely detest that.

Some things are so universal though, they are always "right"and never wrong.  Like showing love and kindness to one another. I almost added "respect"...but then thought of those who think it's perfectly acceptable to stomp on another's head to succeed..to get "a-head"...Unfortunately, maybe that's a "value" taught by parents who withheld love from their child if said child didn't mimic their behavior and  beliefs.

That's where Jesus is so help-FULL..When discontent finally kicks in-- and one realizes that there's nothing fulfilling about being on top if one feels low in one's Spirit--Jesus can show us The Way. The way out.  And the way in... to true contentment, found only in being at peace with oneself and one's Higher Power.

Influence does play a role in shaping one's life...past, present and future. Especially a truly Loving Influence--also fondly known as God...
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