What Makes You Kind or Hateful?
No one gets to choose where they will grow up. Your parents are the luck of the draw. You may be raised by an abusive and an alcoholic mother or a mentally ill, untreated father. You may have a healthy family upbringing where your mother and father are educated and emotionally stable. Reality is not so binary, but these examples will serve their purpose.
Either upbringing can result in a caring and loving human being. Either can also create someone who is angry and hateful. We might be able to explain one result easier that the other, but the formula is not precise. Let’s put aside the possibility of you being a psychopath or sociopath for now.
Genetic makeup will also play a part, i.e., nature vs nurture, but results will vary. As the brain matures, our decision making should improve, but not everyone’s brains develop at the same rate or level.
In my opinion, each variable and given fact nudges you either towards or away from hate. You are responsible for making essential decisions every day. These decisions lead closer to various destinies and develop character in a cumulative manor. Parents should be training their children to make good decisions. One child may become more empathetic because of a difficult childhood or genetic heritage. The other child may be unaware of a growing anger or hate that will alter their personality.
If you open your mind at some point to therapy and self-awareness, change is possible. If you close your mind to growth, a kind child might develop into an angry adult. We still have more questions than answers, I know, but our awareness is broadening.
Anger and hate can inhibit a person from reasoning and rationalizing effectively. Perhaps the greatest gift that a parent can give a child is self-awareness and objectivity. If you teach your child that you do not have every correct answer, they will likely remain curious and open minded. They will want to learn from beyond your realm of influence.
If the frontal cortex of the brain, where we reason, only fully develops in our mid-twenties, then we should refrain from life altering decisions until then. That, however, is not the reality. If you are in an abusive or negative household as a child, perhaps getting out on your sooner is the best choice. If your parents are insightful, kind, and natural teachers, you benefit from remaining under their guidance until your frontal cortex is fully developed. One certainty for me is that we should refrain from judging others as often as possible. There are many factors that are out of our control.
We all benefit from looking after one another as a community. No one can control who their parents are or how quickly their brains develop. Humans are subject to emotionally charged decision making and it takes one bad choice to push us down a harmful spiral. If the community is there to support a family that lacks resources, like better schools and medical benefits, more children will be spared the detriment of a painful childhood. More parents will be better equipped to raise a family.
Parents and children should have access to the help that they need. The term: “it takes a village” comes to mind. If we help a family become healthier and more emotionally intelligent, everyone benefits. Raising a child and being a parent are difficult tasks. The more that we are there for one another, the better. Being kind takes awareness and practice. Having a well-trained mentor like a parent, teacher, coach, or guidance counselor will make all the difference in the world.
Frank L Perrulli
September 12, 2021