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Mindset and Choice

Updated on December 10, 2012

Mindset and Choice

The mind is such a responsive thing in a person- especially a very young, unformed person, - that any emphatic, continuous, repetitious input, especially when it's actively intended to shape the mind of the youth, takes deep roots and grows in the directions which are instilled. Most cults or other strongly single-minded systems are quick to actively crush the natural tendency of a human being to want to explore all the possibilities and to develop all its own special abilities. But if those contradict the message, attitude and belief being implanted, they're put down or possibly demonized.

I see this within the family. A boy-child has natural ability to excel in both right and left brain arenas. But the dad is indoctrinated to exclusively value and respect toughness, mechanical interests, and manly sports. which are valuable in balance with creative, sensitive and artistic interests and bents whcih are present in the same child. When others attempt to encourage the more sensitive interests, the dad is adamant that it's to be understood that "MY son will not play musical instruments - or paint - or be interested in reading, or any sissy stuff. . ." And the son is conditioned all the more emphatically to disrespect those areas of learning and accomplishment, even up to inclusion of a well-rounded diet! If the boy truly has interests in both directions, he's somewhat frustrated, but is likely to choose the areas which get approval from Dad and accept that it's not masculine or even acceptable to also excel at the other or "eat rabbit food".

I've seen this, and it's heart-wrenching. One hopes that the true intelligence and abilities of the boy will triumph as he grows into a more independent person, but the dad is unlikely to permit it if he's close enough to maintain the propaganda that it's not OK.

So this malleability of the human mind has both good and bad potentiality, of course, - as almost all human experiences and encounters do. What is sad is when the input is for negativity and the intention to create a closed mind is truly overwhelming, as it can be. The other response of an emerging person can be to go too far the opposite direction in order to reject being molded and dominated - which can be dangerous for the personality, too, when or if it emcompasses all input.

This possibility of being indoctrinated may be due to some characteristics of the conscious mind, such as its tendency to sort out specific things for its attention, and to block out other possible input. In fact, it tends to do that within a person, especially one whose training has preconditioned it. The focusing mind seems to try to take over the driver's seat of the personality and overwhelm the less focused, more elusive but more inclusive subconscious and the wisdom of the entire body. Creatures with less developed mentality actually can and do rely on the whole wisdom of their beings to survive and to thrive. Humans, because of our wonderfully well-developed mentality, have to make special efforts to learn to listen to all our beings and to allow the ability to think more globally, that is - taking in more of the input that's all around us, as well as the specifically focused thinking our minds are ready and willing to do. Some people flexible abilities to emphasis on either specific or global kinds of thinking as needed, but all have innate capability for both. However, when a youngster is sufficiently indoctrinated to focus on and believe in only one way of processing information from one perspective, then less aggressive openness of the mind is overcome and lost. It's nearly impossible for such indoctrination to be undone, it seems, whether the focus is relatively benign or not, once it's taken root so deeply that it simply can't waver or consider any other perspective - - sadly.

Surely the tendency to seek agreement and approval which is inherent in the mind plays a big part. We're interdependent and social creatures whose history and development over the eons has depended on our ability to cluster together and organize to protect ourselves from larger, more physically dangerous animals and natural forces. So we are still drawn to it. Independent, individual thought and ideas are riskier, not only of endangering us to greater forces beyond our individual control, but also we risk disapproval, even condemnation, by our group which can act as an organized machine to overcome what it may view as danger to its own best interests. It has eons of historic practice in it.

One remembers the "holy wars" and other campaigns to stamp out different beliefs. Remember witch-hunts & burnings? Remember scorning of early scientific advances? Remember pooh-poohing of "the new math" and various less-directed, open-minded educational methods designed to allow individually innate development? All of that is still far from acceptance at grass-roots levels.

Mistrust abounds and fear of anything not in the established mold and the list goes on and on. In fact, fear is probably at the roots of the problem and underlies most efforts to enforce one and only one viewpoint. It's terribly obvious in the likes of current radio personalities whose objectives are to create anger, mistrust & suspicion, resistance and discrediting of people whose ideas digressfrom their own.

Even well-meaning efforts to bring balance to such a climate can result in creating yet another "ism" which polarizes people involved. Probably individual example of tolerance and reason is the most effective, though if counter-indoctrination is strong, the effects will be minimal, or - worse - may be demonized.

Yet if enough individuals realize that more acceptance and openness for "other" if necessary, then there's hope. Fortunately,there are growing numbers of folks who really are looking for ways to co-exist.

One at a time, our personal examples of civility can make a difference. It's probably most effective when it arises out of an honest tolerance simply expressing itself. We must be aware that our ideas may be on the one-sided side, as well!


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    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      9 years ago from TEXAS

      Thank you, Maita. There is so much of it happening. Parents may not even realize they do it. Even the attitude can communicate that the kids' own thoughts are of no value. A good parent must try to look at the child's perspective a bit from the child's eyes and see that the child is learning to apply his knowledge at whatever stage to thinking through his world. I think most kids would prefer that to just being left without any guidance for their own thinking processes - at which point they turn to each other for guidance, where they can only gain what each other has gained. A parent could understand and help fit it into the larger perspective - plus the kid would be more willing to share with that parent. How often do they just "give up" and decide their parents will "never understand me'? -- Often I'll bet. One thing they are acutely aware of is being manipulated to abandon whatever they see and think for themselves and take up their parents' views en masse as though they were supposed to be empty wagons just waitinig to be loaded up! Actually - for whatever length of life they've experienced - they have gathered many impressions and ideas. They're still sorting them out - and surely can use guidance - but they are NOT blank canvases on which others should fee free to paint!

      Thanks for the comments, Maita. This was only my 2nd hub and it's slipped 'way down the charts. hehe ;)

    • prettydarkhorse profile image


      9 years ago from US

      Indoctrination and the power of it is like subjugation, authority over the son etc.

      Freedomw to choose and the power to self internalize decisions should be left with the mind who is still unripe like the childrens,e xcellent hub and insights into the power of indoctrination, Maita

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      9 years ago from TEXAS

      Thank you, loveofnight! I appreciate your thoughtful comments!

    • loveofnight profile image


      9 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

      this was indeed a very interesting hub and a good read as well.....thx 4 share

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      9 years ago from TEXAS

      Feline Prophet. Oh yes! One's conditioning is just that - conditioning, in the sense that we are taught either directly or by results to respond in certain ways to incoming experience & stimuli, and to accept/think in agreement with that conditioning. I've read that if a child is conditioned by verbal, physical and emotional means to believe he or she is a "bad child", it can be terribly stressful to be given positive assurance that he/she is a "good child" or person,and this situation continues even into adulthood. The adjustment one's subconscious makes to be in sync with one's earliest self image, right or wrong, is so powerful that the person who's made it is literally upset & anxious if the image is challenged, no matter how "nice' it may appear. The person who believes himself to be "bad" will need to demonstrate that his self-image is the right one even if it means 'acting out' bad behavior. The same applies if the programming is that he/she is "dumb" or "sloppy" - whatever the self-image is conditioned to accept. In other words, traits at various levels take root by being accepted into a youngster's self image. So when it's a matter of ideas and higher thinking, probably those will follow suit with the self-image that has been conditioned and instilled at a young age, too. Unfortunately parents whose own self-images are poor are often eager to discourage superior traits in their offspring which challenge their own self-images and cause them stress.

      It's my belief that the opposite is so, as well, and that if the self-image is positive, the subconscious will find ways to support that as well. It would be a vastly better world if attention were given to encouraging good self-images in young children and if they were 'acting out' desireable, positive behaviors and traits. Obviously - it needs to begin very early.

      It's not to say that even small persons will be unable to resist accepting self images which are just not valid. But it will be an uphill climb for them. A brilliant or a creative child will somehow find that certainty within, usually, even if the environment does nothing to recognize or encourage it, or possibly tries to demean or discourage it. But there probably will be precious time lost before it crystallizes in the child/person - time which will possibly affect how easily and how effectively he/she is able to apply his brilliance or creativity.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      9 years ago from TEXAS

      Cheryl - yes, so true. Your point about guiding them with one's example and influence, rather than by outlining a stanse for them not only teaches them to observe others well and weigh the value of those others' actions and to notice any dissonance between what they SAY and what they DO, but if one is authentic in their sights, they are likely to want to emulate, if not immediately, then later when their own chips are down and they recall one's good example when dealing with life's challenges.

      My parents each had their own methods of teaching. Each had higher educations which they'd sacrificed to acquire, and their major ambition was to see all four of us through ours and to be able to take care of themselves as long as they lived, which they accomplished plus more. Those were powerful examples.

      Dad was good at explaining and he was fond of using others' examples as well as cleverly worded poetry or short quotations from wise persons in making his lessons vivid. He was a strong character who never accepted defeat, a debater, and an attentive father. He always took time to hear what I had to tell him and received the fact that I'd learned to count to 100 or to whistle as though I'd discovered a cure for cancer! His praise was in his attitude as he listened, as much as what he said when I had finished.

      Mother was almost strictly an example teacher and she avoided making one feel less-than even as one was learning and stumbling along. She used encouragement and support when helping one learn how to do things. She seldom talked about principles, instead she demonstrated them in her life, showing kindness to even the least persons, being faithful to her values and having one heck of a fierce spirit of character of her own! She was challenging the powers that be long before women were given the right to vote here in the US! She managed to fulfil her homemaker duties and still was an artist of much stature, a splendid seamstress, a reader, a writer and a humorist! I had 3 MUCH older siblings who were always ready to inject their sage counsel, but seldom had much interest in knowing me. I grew up, basically, with 5 adults - then there was Grandma who lived with us the first several years of my life! She was really serious and a bit intimidating. Plus she didn't much approve of my mother's high jinks and she always agreed with Albert (my dad)! ;)

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 

      9 years ago

      You make very valid points, Nellieanna. We are all products of our conditioning, and it takes a very strong individual to step out of that comfort zone and think for himself.

    • _cheryl_ profile image


      9 years ago from California

      Very insightful Nellianna, it's always refreshing to read up on any parenting advice from other's wise perspectives. Mindset and choice are very important factors to focus on in our kids. Especially trying to teach them to develop their own way of basing their choices and perception of things on their own, hopefully knowing that you've made a big enough impact on them to influence their mindset to be strong and individually driven. Thanks for this food for thought!

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      9 years ago from TEXAS

      OK, De Greek, you asked for it! ;)

      1) you must have access to graphics you would want to use to illustrate a hub & they must be either on your computer or on a website from which you can upload them. (I have strong reservations about my sources and only lift directly from my own website). If you want to lift and save that one I used, right-click on it and select "Save Picture" and file it in your computer somewhere you can find it when you want it. That's a tip from experience. If you are going to collect graphics, create a filing system so you can ever find them again! The sooner, the better, before they get out of control!

      2) the process on Hubpages for uploading and injecting them, briefly is:

      On Starting Layout, choose Photo, though you can add more photo capsules later, as well.

      On Assemble Your Capsules, under "Photo", which appears under your title if you've selected it on Starting Layout, click "edit". You'll be asked to choose source- either "My Computer" or from the web.

      When you click "My Computer" as the source, you then browse your folders and find the graphic you have and wish to upload.

      Click "Save" to save it to your title Capsule. You'll be able to edit or delete it if it's not right. One important adjustment is to choose from options: "full width", "half width" or "quarter width" to get the best fit & clarity of your graphic. This can depend on the original's size & clarity so you might need to test it to find out which works best.

      When it's been saved, to edit you need to click "edit" on the photo capsule on the hub page being formed, just as you do to edit the text capsule.

      You can add another photo or photos & I'm sure from observations that graphics can be added within the text, although thus far I've only added more after the Comments capsule.which is a provided option. Comments needn't be posted before a photo capsule is created for that location.

      When I learn how to add graphics within the text body, I'll let you know; it could be useful. Or if you find out perhaps you could fill me in! As usual I just dumb along figuring stuff out, which is part of the fun for me. I'm not easily spoon-fed. ;) lol

      Hope I'm not confusing you. My methods are usually so unorthodox that it's difficult to explain step by step. But I'm more than happy to help & to accept meaningful help, though I can no more promise to use yours as might be expected than I can offer mine as might be expected, as this undoubtedly demonstrates!

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 

      9 years ago from UK

      And how do you do that thing with the bottle pouring into the cartoon's head??? I am jealous! I want to learn that too....

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      9 years ago from TEXAS

      p.s. - Perhaps the improvement of the species, which is supposed to include selection of the fittest, is simply tested & fittness is strengthened by inevitable conflict for new arrivals created by the fact that parents & teachers are on the scene from previous times with their concerns being with challenges of those times they've survved.

      So, unless parents are clairvoyant, they cannot know or conceive of what their offspring may face or what talents they may have or need which will fit into that future.

      If parents have struggled with practicalities of their generation, they'll naturally want to see to it that their children are armed & prepared with educational & other tools for dealing with those issues & they'll surely overlook some bents in their offspring which will be useful & see them as inapplicable if not foolish.

      In my mind, - this is all the more reason to TRUST that one's children - the new inhabitants who will help CREATE the new life-styles have valuable though different abilities & they will acquire the wisdom to realize how those will serve themselves & their brave new world as it develops.

      Qualities which served one generation may not be as effective in the next & those which hadn't even occurred to parents may be the exact, best ones which will be needed.

      The principle should be to encourage a child in all his/her positive bents, trying to not judge their merits according to one's own experience alone, while also equipping him/her with the obvious skills & valid attitudes one possesses & can impart, subject to review and revision as needed.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      9 years ago from TEXAS

      Thanks for the thoughtful comments, CMHpno. It's true. While it's important to provide basic essensial guidance to a growing child from birth when they are already forming their perspectives about our world, to program the little person in our images & with our perspectives, which may or may not be on-target, is not only cruelly stifling, but hinders the progress & improvement of our species. It's through each new generation's advances that mankind is improved, at least on this earthly plane. I guess there are always individuals with such strong personal life-force that they overcome even such early training, but one has to wonder whether they might have done more if their genius had been encouraged instead!

    • CMHypno profile image


      9 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      The Jesuits said that if you gave them a child until the age of seven, they would give you the man. It is very sad when parents and other adults have such fixed ideas on what a child is like, that the child cannot develop in their own unique way. Indoctrination is not fair, and it is very often cruel. Very thoughtful, insightful Hub.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      9 years ago from TEXAS

      Yes, it's possible and it's factual, sad to say. However, I like to believe that in most such instances, the parents have no idea the damage they do and think they're just guiding and bringing the children up much as they had been, with the conviction that children must be "trained" like errant pets or tree branches. Plus, in many instances, there is little tolerance for the errors which are part and parcel of all growing experience, with a result that an ever tighter rein is applied on the childrens' efforts at independence and individuality. Thanks for the reading and comments!

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 

      9 years ago from UK

      Is it possible that there are still parents who torture their children so? Denying their won flesh and blood the oportunity to bloom and to grow... ???

      Good stuff, this...


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