Psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, and moral philosophers all understand man's need to belong Belonging means that "being" is affirmed. Our places of formation are within group frameworks of family, community and the larger culture. Whenever the child's "world" of family is broken, either through a physical divorce or a spiritual one, the child's identity is marginalized. Children in these kinds of environments grow up without a sense of "self". Their undeveloped selves are fertile ground for others to trample upon, either through overt abuse or self-limiting behavior. This sad state never leads to a productive life, where the child attains their dreams, goals or hopes (if they ever recognized them). Over and over these children play out in their lives the "victimization"that has defined their lives from the time of broken-ness.
I think whenever the child grows beyond this mind-set of victimization, then there is hope for change. But, first the child must recognize through their own self-reflection, or other's reflection and help that change is needed. Then the child/adult is ready to take ownership of thier own lives and not continue the patterns that have so long defined their behavior. This is maturation.
"Self" is not to be denied, in these instances, because "self" needs to grow and become. This becoming never becomes actualized without another loving the person's "being". Unconditional love and encouragement is necessary in these instances, so that the person can earn their goals and develop their character.
I find that fundamentalistic environments hinder, in fact annilhalate the development of self, because of the teaching of "depravity". When the "flesh" is considered "evil" or "bent innately upon itself", then there is a necessity to "train children out of "self" and into "other". While teaching children to consider others, it should not directly or indirectly disaffirm the child's sense of "self". Self is the child's identity and is the ground upon which the child develops their desires. Fundamentalists would not condone affirming desires, as desires are "bent on evil" and are "selfish". Even certain disciplines would be considered anti-Christian, which would limit the young person's areas of interests!
I find that all of life is to be affirmed, as all of life is a gift and potential gifting of God. So, I choose this Christmas season to not allow another to define my life (unless I choose for them to do so). I choose to not be the "victim" or the "second class citizen" in the culture of "god". Fundamentalism loves to define and confine lives for the "sake of god", and i choose that fundamentalism will not be allowed to maintain any control over my life any longer. It has had enough to say in and about my life so far. The rest of my life is going to be taken back from a fundamentalist's view. And I will become a part of the Human Race and become and enjoy being HUMAN!
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