by Christine B. © 2012
The human race is a bred of manipulators. Almost everything we do seems to be so we can get someone else, or a lot of someone else’s, to do what we want them to do for our own personal benefit.
I guess we come by manipulating others naturally enough. We are taught by our parents at an early age that if we do what we are told to do, we will be rewarded and not punished. Parents manipulate their children into being good, learning to use the toilet, and acting in a way that will protect them from danger. Are we ever taught to perform random kindness because it is the right thing to do? Not often, I’m afraid. There seems to be no one who tells us that our goal in this life is not to get what we want by manipulating those we care about, but rather to love and respect others without the expectation for personal gain.
Our priests and clergy tell us that if we don’t sin and if we give money to the church we will go to Heaven. Our couches tell us that if we play hard and better than the other players we will win the game—and that winning is everything. Having fun is not the goal of sports—we must beat the other players in order to succeed, even if it means we hurt others in the process.
Our teachers tell us that we must get high grades in order to have a happy, successful life. Learning for knowledge’s sake is secondary. No one seems to teach our children that our goal is not earthly success, but giving to others and making those we love happy. It is drilled into our psyche our entire lives that the key to happiness is having a lot of money in the bank, a beautiful house, and more toys than anyone else,
Large corporations pay advertising agencies thousands of dollars a year to convince the buying public that they should purchase what they have to sell. Politicians hire an entire staff that teaches them how to manipulate voters in order to get into office. They all have the, “Tell them what they want to hear, and once I get what I want, I’ll do what I want” attitude and lifestyle.
Military leaders tell us to kill the enemy… they give us what seems like honorable reasons for doing it, so we do what we are told. We have been taught that the only way to peace is through war and sacrifice, and somehow that makes sense to us. Those that try to tell us that peace comes from love, not war are drowned out because we have been so programed to think otherwise.
So how do we stop this cycle of self-importance and eventual self-destruction? Perhaps we could teach our children at an early age to do random acts of kindness on a daily basis, with no expectation of personal gain. If we taught our children that loving and making others happy is more important than anything we can acquire for ourselves, we might be able to stop the mass manipulation of others. We could tell our youngsters that winning isn’t everything, and that having fun, being productive, making an effort to give back to humanity and enjoying our lives in the process is the true sign of a successful life.
We could teach our children this by example. We don’t need to give everything we own away, but we could treat everyone with respect wherever we are… don’t scream and yell at others while we’re driving, especially if our children are in the car. Use other’s bad driving habits to teach our children to be better drivers and to respect others on the road.
We can volunteer to help people who don’t have as much as we do, and bring our children along with us to do the same. Show them how important it is to make someone else smile, even if it is by telling a stranger that you like their hair style, or what they are wearing. Hold the door open for others, and when you see someone who needs help, offer your assistance to them whenever you can. Instead of ignoring a homeless person In need, give them food, offer them a job, do what you can to ease their pain, even if it isn’t giving them money.
The most convincing lessons our children learn is by our good example. Show love and concern for others in your own family and they will learn to do the same with others. Don’t teach them that manipulating your partner or them (our children) to get what you want or to get them to act the way you want them to is acceptable behavior. Act lovingly toward each other at all times. Treat each other with respect. Teach your children to learn from their mistakes and don’t punish them for making them. Give them choices not commands. Tell them the consequences of their actions and then allow them to decide what will work for them. If they make what you believe is the wrong decision, allow them to learn it for themselves. We all have to make our own mistakes in order to understand what is right and wrong behavior.
If you don’t want them to drink, don’t drink in front of them. If you don’t want them to cuss, don’t swear. If you don’t want your children to be violent toward others, don’t be violent to them. If you want them to listen to what you have to say, listen to what they have to say and don’t tune them out. If you don’t want them to smoke, don’t smoke. If you don’t want them to take drugs, don’t take unnecessary medication yourself, and teach them patience by being patient. If you want them to be good drivers, be a good and patient driver yourself. Teach them responsibility by being responsible. Don’t dominate your children, raise them with love and respect, and they will learn to treat others the same way.
The only way to end the cycle of manipulation is to stop manipulating, and show love and respect for others at all times. We all have different paths we must take in this lifetime to learn the lessons we are meant to learn. Judging the way others live their lives is not productive to our own advancement. Instead of saying, “No!” explain why it would be best if they didn’t act in that matter. Instead of stifling their imagination, discuss it. Be tolerant, not haughty; be loving and giving and not selfish; be kind and understanding, not superior; and practice patient until you get it right.
Instill the idea that standing up for what you believe in does not necessarily mean you must debase or kill someone who doesn’t believe the same way you do. Impart tolerance for the ideas and choices of others, and not to talk trash about them behind their backs. Teach your children to love freely, not to manipulate others for their own benefit; and while you’re at it, teach yourself the same lesson.