人生之钥
Growing up/长大

Growing up/长大
自从孩子降生那一刻起,作为父母,我们就总是希望给他们最好的。全心全意爱着他们、保护着他们,养育、安抚着他们,回应着他们提出的每一个要求。
我们应该宠爱他们多久呢?有没有那么一次,我们不去理睬他们的苦恼,让他们自己去承受一点点郁闷?或者,不去试着逗他们开心?我们为什么就不能这样做呢?
我们先不要去想,孩子们是否被剥夺了渴望、梦想他们不能得到的东西的内在需求;是否没能去体验那种得到了盼望许久的东西时的极大满足。


我们只需去想象一下让这种情况继续下去的后果:孩子们长大后,进入了成人的世界,却发现没有人会满足他的每一个要求,他们身边的每一个人都跟他有一样的想法,那就是,自己才是最重要的……
想象一下,他们由于只顾自己的需求而无法处理好与他人的关系。因为他们从来都没被教导过,要去通过修正自己的需要以满足他人……
教导你的孩子去独立生活吧——生活上独立、情感上独立、交往上独立——这是每一个为人父母的义务,且开始得越早越好。
你是这样的人吗:为你自己是谁而感到愧对父母,或者为你没能成为他们期望的人而感到抱歉?
如果是,那么你就属于那些并不少见的、工于操纵的家长的受害者。再没有什么比一个母亲或父亲让自己的孩子感到他没能达到自己的期望更容易办到的事情了。
这很符合他们的心意——尽可能地去控制孩子,减少不轨行为的发生几率,以让孩子赢得别人的认同。
如果这种“管制”能够保持到孩子成人以后,那么它带给父母的“好处”也会随之增加,因为这种习惯常常会转移到孩子自己成立的小家庭里,这个小家庭也会生活在对父辈们的权威的敬畏中。
当孩子们渐渐长大、独立后,这些父母又提高了自己的要求,只有得到儿女们的奉承才高兴;而孩子们也生怕有什么事情让父母不开心。似乎再怎么努力,也不能弥补父母对自己的失望之心。
只有到死,才能打破这一精心策划束缚。而这样的父母,将会永远地长眠于坟墓中,得不到儿女真正的爱。
正如每个7岁的孩子一样,我很崇拜自己的第一位老师,欣赏着她用至高无上的、无限的权威所赋予的能力,驱赶着我们的无知。
她所说的每一个字、所讲的每一个知识点,我都好似吸吮母亲乳汁般地舔舐着。
有一天,她向我们介绍“起源”这一概念。“你们在教室里看到的每一样东西,”她说,“以前都是别的样子。”然后,我们每指一样东西问她,她都会解释出它们原来是什么。
比如,这张桌子,曾经是森林里的一棵树……那个书包是用牛皮做的……而那件毛衣,则是从羊身上的毛而来的,等等。
幸好有这么一个解释事物缘起的机会,电源插座到底是由何而来这个问题以前一直困扰着我,现在终于有机会弄明白了。我兴奋地指了指插座问老师。
她的脸色突然变白了。过了一会儿,她似乎不知该说什么。然后,她顿了顿,用一种教导式的语调说道:“这个插座,嗯,嗯,是进口的。对,它来自非洲,是从一个很稀有的灌木丛里长出来的。下一个问题。”
从那一刻起,我就再没有相信过权威。
“或许这就是上帝的旨意。”一位母亲在聊天中开玩笑似地说,“是上帝让你的小心肝变得淘气、可恶,好让你在他们飞离巢穴时感到那是种解脱,而非苦难。”
然后,她又悄悄地小声说:“有时候我真觉得连我自己都无法忍受我的这种反叛的想法。”
我试着用古老东方的至理名言让她放宽心,有道是,那些给我们带来最多麻烦的人或事,正是我们能够从中学到最多的源泉。
“哦,是的。”她冷笑着反驳,“我是学到了很多。明白了我不该那样去教育我的孩子,我真是对他们好过头了。”
即使是发生在最健康家庭中的青少年问题,我们也不应该放松警惕,不该将其视作一种正常的过渡阶段而忽略它。当家庭中业已确立的家长—孩子关系已经不再适应实际情况时,这些冲突恰好反映出了某种必要的转折和变化。
不论是长期潜藏的孩子的不满最终浮出了水面,还是家长制已经成为了一种必要,青少年的反抗都传达了一个信号,即家庭中需要建立一种新的关系。
与任何一种人与人之间的冲突一样,只有相互尊重才是化解之道。要记住,你处理这种冲突和应对过渡时期的方式,将决定着你今后与成人后的儿女的关系。
有一次,我在医院接受治疗,当时我的病床刚好跟两个女孩的病床对着,她们也是来住院就诊的。一种隐约的友谊似乎在她们中间滋生了。
一天夜里,那个稍微小一些的孩子突然痛苦地哭了起来。
“我根本不想这样,”她呜咽着说,“是爸爸妈妈硬那样规定的,但是,丹尼尔说,如果我不那么做的话他就再也不跟我说话了。”
“过来,”稍大一些的那个女孩轻蔑地说道,“你不会稀罕一个乳臭未干的小子的。”
她的话似乎并没有让小女孩儿平静下来,小女孩伸出手拿起了手机,似乎作出了一个很重要的决定般拨通了电话,自语道:“我要给丹尼尔打电话。”
她娃娃般的声音中透着紧张和哽咽:“嗨,丹尼尔,是我。我感到糟糕极了。没人告诉我事情会变成这样……就好像我真的做了什么可怕的事一样……一件再也无法挽回的事。我不知道自己该怎样面对……我似乎应付不来……丹尼尔,我好怕。”
当她停下来准备听丹尼尔怎么回应时,我想我们都想知道电话的那头会如何回应。“哦,是吗?”我们听到女孩儿说,“哦,那好吧,咱们再聊。”
她放下电话,愣愣地发着呆,看起来像个十足的孩子。她的朋友不耐烦了,问道:“丹尼尔到底说什么了?”
过了一会儿,小女孩儿才回答说:“他说他刚理了个新发型。”


From the moment our children are born, we as parents want to give them our best. Shower them with love, wrap them in security, feed and comfort them, respond to all their needs.
For how long should we be doing this? Is there ever a case for not heeding their cries? Being in a position to alleviate their distress, or, quite simply, to make them happy, why on earth shouldn’t we? If nothing else, a prompt response eliminates a lot of friction.
Never mind if the children are deprived of a chance to explore their hidden resources through longing, yearning, dreaming of things they cannot have. Of the supreme satisfaction of finally obtaining something long coveted.
But imagine being the child of parents who have allowed this pattern to continue: Entering the adult world only to find that it does not cater to your every need but is full of individuals likewise deluded into thinking they come first…
Imagine seeing your relationships fail because all they are based on is want. Because you have never been taught the art of renouncing your own demands for the sake of another…
Insistence on relief the minute a need arises is as bad as any addiction. Training children to survive unaided – physically, emotionally, socially – is a duty all parents owe their offspring. And the earlier it starts the better.
Would you be one of those who go through life apologizing to your parents for being what you are or, rather, for not being what they had hoped for?
If so, you are the victim of an artful, not uncommon, form of parental manipulation. Nothing is easier for a mother, or father or, in extreme cases, both, than instilling a sense that the offspring does not measure up to expectation.
It suits their purposes ideally: augments their ability to exert control, lessens the risk of misbehaviour and, not least, ensures continual efforts on behalf of the child to win the approval otherwise withheld.
If this hold can be maintained into adult age, the advantage grows in proportion, often transferring to the new young family, who will live in awe of in-laws and grandparents.
As they get elderly and more dependent, such parents step up their demands, making son or daughter dance attendance,terrified of doing anything to displease. Still no effort will ever be sufficient to make up for disappointing them.
Only death will break the fetters of this carefully devised entrapment. And the parents will go to their grave never having received the gift of their child’s true affection.
Like most seven-year-olds, I adored my first teacher, seeing her as infinitely superior in her elevated position of authority, appointed to dispel the darkness of our ignorance.
Every word uttered by her, every scrap of knowledge she imparted, I lapped up as if it was mother’s milk.
One day she introduced us to the concept of origin. “All you see around you in this class-room,” she declared, “has been something else before.” Now, as we pointed out different things to her, she would explain how they had started out.
A lot of pointing ensued: This desk, we learnt, had once been a tree growing in the forest… just like the copy-book… That school-bag was made from the hide of a cow… the sweater had been knitted from sheep’s wool… And so on.
Thankful for an opportunity to clarify the background of an object that had long mystified me, I pointed to the bakelite electric socket.
The teacher blanched. For a moment she seemed at a loss for words. Then she composed herself and said, in a loud didactic voice: “That socket used to be… er… er… It’s imported. That’s it. From Africa. It grows there, on a very rare bush. Next, please.”
From that moment I have never trusted authority.
“Perhaps it is the way God intended it,” sighed the mother of two teenage boys, half in jest. “To make your little darlings so obnoxious that it will be a relief, not a tragedy, to see them flee the nest.”
Lowering her voice confidentially, she added: “Sometimes I feel as if I can’t take another day of living with so much opposition… ungraciousness… rudeness…”
I tried to cheer her up by quoting the old Oriental wisdom that it is from those who give us most trouble that we stand to learn the most.
“Oh yes,” she retorted cynically. “I’ve learnt my lesson. How not to bring up children. I’ve been far too nice to them.”
The teenage conflicts that erupt in most healthy families should not be taken lightly or ignored as a passing phase.They reflect a necessary shift in family dynamics, as the established parent/child positions become outgrown.
Whether it’s long harboured childhood grievances finally surfacing, or a straight-forward need for adult autonomy, teenage rebellion is a signal that an entirely new bond has to be forged.
As in all personal clashes, only mutual respect will achieve it. Keep in mind that the way you handle this passage will determine your future relationship with the adult son or daughter.
In a public ward my bed was placed opposite two teenagers hospitalized for a different reason. A precarious friendship seemed to have developed between the two.
One evening the younger one broke down and wept bitterly.
“I never wanted this,” she sobbed. “It was Mum and Dad made me. And then Daniel… Daniel said he’d never speak to me again if I didn’t do it.”
“Come on,” sneered the older girl disdainfully. “You wouldn’t want a snotty brat on your hands.”
Not much comforted, the grieving girl reached for her mobile phone, having made what sounded like a momentous decision: “I’m going to ring Daniel.”
Her girlish voice resounded, tense and tearful, through the room: “Hi Daniel, it’s me. I feel awful… No one told me it would be like this… It’s as if I done something terrible… something that can never be undone. I don’t know how I shall ever get over it… It’s more than I can cope with…Daniel – I’m scared.”
While she drew breath listening to Daniel, I think we were all wondering what his response might be. “Oh yeah?” we heard her say. “Cool. Okay, speak to you soon.”
She stared into space, looking very much like the child she was. Her friend got impatient. “What did Daniel say?”
It was a moment before the girl replied: “He said he’d had a haircut.”

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