Breaking the mold of being a child is difficult. The mere addition of years does not make that happen. The dependency many adults choose, in fact, keeps them in a child-like mentality. If the doctor makes our health decisions, an accountant our financial ones, a minister our moral ones and a politician is left to decide our rights, how is that different from a child being told what to do by teachers and parents?
Substituting authority figures and shifting dependencies does not equal maturity.
Childhood is necessarily filled with lots of dos and don’ts, rights and wrongs, rewards and punishments. However, children who are well disciplined are not necessarily self-motivated. Tell children not to tattle and perhaps they won’t – for a while. Teach them ethical concepts of confidentiality and loyalty by touching their inner sense of conscience, and tattling is more likely to be removed from the personality. Discipline a child who followed the neighborhood ringleader and threw apples at passing cars, and perhaps, just maybe, he won’t throw apples again. By giving him self-confidence he will more likely have the courage to turn from peer pressure. Tell a child not to eat so many French fries and perhaps she won’t – until the next chance when you’re not around. Teach her the logic behind the value of natural foods and the damaging effects of food processing and you have given her a life-long road map to better health.
Growing up is about thinking – reasons, causes, consequences, exercising conscience and the long-range view. Unfortunately, as we distance ourselves from the natural world, in our comfortable homes, air conditioned automobiles, and cushy jobs, we think less and less as we become more and more dependent. We live in a time when virtually every need can be met with barely getting out of a chair. No hunting and gathering today. Nope, refrigerators are full, and if they aren’t we can drive to a grocery. If we’ve incapacitated ourselves enough we can get the nearest handicapped space and use a battery cart so we don’t even have to walk to do that. Back home we have every imaginable modern appliance making life “easier.” The television set is there handy for more dumbing down and to give us a rest from that grueling trip to the store and fast food stop on the way home.
Our modern world of convenience is a health trap, both mentally and physically. But we clamor for more convenience, more leisure, less responsibility, more entertainment and less work. We need the opposite, more work and activity for our physical health and more control over our lives for our mental health. We’re like sheep begging to be led to the slaughter. The less we take care of ourselves, the more we become dependent on others, the more we put ourselves at their mercy. Will our best interests be served by others or ourselves? Does history teach us that when we surrender to others and trust that they will look after us that that turns out to be the case? The rise and fall of nations throughout time scream a resounding no! Will we learn from history or repeat it?
Although it is difficult in modern, interdependent, complex society, think of yourself as a sovereign. Claim your inalienable rights or you have none. Ultimately you are the best steward of your own welfare. By regaining control you move from childhood and make life more interesting, exhilarating and healthy.
Here are some ideas of what I mean:
1. Need a repair or home improvement? Try it yourself. Buy “do-it-yourself” books and ask hardware and lumberyard clerks how to do it.
2. Sew and mend your own clothes.
3. Plant a garden.
4. Cut each other’s hair.
5. Clean your own teeth.
6. Home school your children.
7. Represent yourself in court.
8. Write letters to right social wrongs. Express yourself after you are fully informed.
9. Help solve the environmental crises – plant trees, recycle, reduce, reuse and get active in protecting common areas and resources.
10. Be as healthy, strong, and as smart as you can be. You learn how to do it; don’t try to hire somebody else to.
11. Cook (actually, learn more about how to uncook) your own meals.
12. Prepare your pet’s food.
13. Study the Constitution (when was the last time you read the contract between your government and you?) and assert your rights.
14. Be your own doctor. Study and explore ways to heal yourself and develop your full health potential.
15. Learn to play an instrument. Try it on your own without lessons. Always look for opportunities to say, “I did it all by myself.”
16. Challenge “experts.” If they imply you’re too dumb to understand – fire them.
17. Develop your own business – full or part-time. Make it something you enjoy as much as a hobby. It doesn’t have to be a big moneymaker. It simply has to be yours.
18. Or, make your job your own business by doing more than expected. Be creative and always try to improve. Be a leader at work, not a follower.
19. Bike, walk or roller blade to work. Free yourself from the automobile as much as possible. The sunshine, fresh air and exercise pay some health bonuses as well.
20. Write a book or an article. Yes, you. Write about anything of interest, or about which you are capable of researching. How about an autobiography? You’re the best expert on that. If you can get it published, fine. If not, do it yourself.
21. Learn a new sport – but don’t take lessons. Watch, read and buy videos. Surprise yourself and others with what you can do on your own.
22. Stop buying. Necessities and some treats once in a while are fine. But 50 pairs of high heels or 40 neckties? Say no to the marketers. Make a stand with your dollars. Support companies of conscience. Use your money in some way to improve our world. You be the benefactor. You take control. Serve others; don’t demand that they serve you.
23. Take the attitude that if another flesh and blood person can do it, so can you. It might take you longer and you might not do it as well, but so what?
Get the idea?
Granted, you can’t become totally self-sufficient, but every step you make in that direction – the more you can thumb your nose at “experts” and government dependence – the more life you will have, the longer you will live it and the healthier you will be. A population busy taking care of itself will value and protect the freedom to do so. A population ignorant, dependent and with their hands out to government invites despotism.
Don’t let modern life smother you with its beguiling lure of ease and comfort. Life is hard work if you do it right. The goal of life is not some phantasmagoric end we might imagine (forever elusive, incidentally), but the journey well traveled with you at the helm.
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