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The Psychology of Human Free Will vs. Irresponsibility
Confront Free Will to Avoid Irresponsibility
The Power of Free Will
All humans are born with free will. Free will is often the defining line between good and bad. We use our free will to make life's most challenging decisions. Yet, free will is often ignored or used as a mechanism to avoid responsibility. We see this in early childhood when a toddler chooses to stick his hand in a cookie jar and can't remove it. His free will urged him to this dilemma he must now extricate himself from. When asked why his hand was stuck, he may blame his older sibling or refuse to admit his misdeed. The degree to which responsibility is connected to free will depends on the degree to which breeding emphasizes responsibility. Free will is enormously powerful, consciously or unconsciously. It can be likened to a knife that slices through a priceless painting or is used for survival in a wilderness.
Why Responsibility Grows Out of Fashion
The tendency in today's society is to avoid responsibility at all costs. Refusal to admit blame, "own up" to a misdeed or lie is a growing societal problem. One ripple effect of these types of irresponsibility stems from the tendency to diminish the degree of crime by a largely for profit legal system. This has altered the dependency on strict responsibility to the point of exhaustive enabling of many forms of unacceptable behaviors that are or border on criminal acts. Generally, this enabling begins in the home when a child "acts out" and the "act" is reduced to "kids will be kids." Thus, the argument becomes a trendy, all too flexible form of discipline that requires "time outs." Time out from what? How does a time out really impress upon any child that degree to which their behavior has become unacceptable? Particularly, when parents themselves replay the same types of behaviors without being "timed out."
Discipline - A Thing of the Past?
Today's version of discipline is based upon psychological behavioral modification manipulated by parenting "trends." No one suggests physical corporal abuse as a form of discipline. Yet, parenting trends are rarely effective. Discipline, it would seem is a thing of the past, replaced by psychological trends that are ineffective. So, what precisely are parental options when firm discipline is needed to avoid childhood recidivism into unacceptable behavior that can lead to more serious problems as young adults?
Study the habits of the most accomplished and creative singers, dancers, scientists, mathematicians and athletes. It's widely understood these are highly self-disciplined individuals. As an example, a gymnast may begin at an early age to develop gymnastic skills. This is accomplished not just by talent alone. Talent is like a rough diamond that requires continuous polishing to create the most perfect gem. This is the premise upon which parenting should base discipline. If parents provide the best examples of self-discipline, children adapt to the idea that it's part of natural growth. To avoid irresponsible behavior in children requires parental consistency, patience and tolerance for minor failure.
Children need to be exposed to failure in order to correctly assess their level of responsibility for their failures. Parents who regiment children to dodge failure only exacerbate the child's failures and create fear of failure. Strong, self-discipline children learn by repetition those values that they need to survive and to succeed. Children are natural "copy cats" when it comes to "being like Mommy or Daddy." This is why parents need to focus more on themselves and their own behaviors to avoid setting the wrong examples of acceptable human behavior, than on their children's behaviors.
While a parent is going into a twenty minute discourse as a means of discipline, the child has already "tuned the parent out." When the parent grows agitated with the child's lack of attention, it's because the parent is remiss to realize children has shorter attention spans than adults. The child thus feels the parent's "discipline" doesn't really "help."
Take note to whom children pay strictest attention. Their Little League coaches, dance teachers, gymnastic coaches and Karate teachers. School teachers, unfortunately, are all too often viewed by students in dimensions similar to their parents. What is this common denominator? Parents and teachers approach discipline more rigidly than other others in charge. A child's discipline perception of their parents and teachers become one and the same. When children feel they are actually being helped or taught something new and appealing, their attention spans easily widen. This should be a very telling clue on how to formulate responsibility in children that will translate into responsible, cerebral adults.
By Its Nature is Free Will Known
A well disciplined, responsible free will is borne of self-awareness of limits and capabilities. The fog of illusion in the most irresponsible in today's society is a heightened sense of misguided self-awareness. These individuals are not what they imagine themselves to be. Generally, these are individuals who believe themselves to possess a higher degree of superiority. The more superior the complex, the less likely they will be self-reliant survivalists.
The old saw, "Only the strong survive" is a clue to why some individuals from the most humble beginnings survive the worst possible disasters life throws in their paths. To these individuals, hardship is their most constant companion. This allows them to responsibly react to disaster in the most common sense levels. The more privileged an individual may be, the less likely they will accept any disaster or react responsibly to their need for survival.
One example of this is the Great Depression. From the moment of the first crash in September 1929, followed by two successive crashes, the most privileged individuals simply couldn't see their options for survival. Believing they could "take it with them," they withdraw all of their money from banks with rapidity, worsening the economic fallout for millions of others. Then, when their money proved worthless, many opted for suicide.
Compare this to the collapse of the Confederacy after the Civil War. Many plantation owners felt the severity of having to "hire" laborers where formerly labor was free. Few of those plantations remain in existence today. Yet, the young men who fought the war and survived saw many opportunities to rebuild their lives using their finely honed sense of responsibility to their families and their states.
Confront Free Will to Avoid Irresponsibility
It's important for every individual to know and understand the power of their own free will. Free will is the basic underlying guide to decision making and responsible living. We can choose to do what's best or what's easiest. We can choose to follow the path of righteousness or evil in all we do. Today's society avoids the subject of how they use their free will. Free will is a taboo issue for some individuals. This is one way to spot their irresponsibility. A genuinely self-disciplined, responsible individual has no fear of confronting their free will often and with deepest integrity. Opting for lies, distortions and deceptions only prolongs the agony of lack of self-respect and resulting irresponsible errors.
At the end of each day, review your and only your actions. What would you have done differently and with more responsibility? How did your free will affect the decisions you made or didn't make? A daily inventory of your level of responsibility and confrontations with issues related to your free will can improve your self-image and your self-confidence.