Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Listening to Mentors

My parents used to always complain that I couldn't accept criticism.  This was strange because in my reports from work and from university, I was said to be a happy warrior, not questioning the orders, and doing what was requested.  I was told by some that I was a good worker or rather a self starter.  That isn't, actually, very true.  When alone I tended to get bored of the task at hand.  But aside from that, if it was a job that I could do, I would do it, usually to my best effort. Taking criticism is a skill that requires a person to be humble in ways, and to have a hunger for wisdom.  I never accepted being told to do something that was foolish, or, to force me to work for the sake of work. There are people who see labor as being good, for whatever the reason, and that isn't true.  Arbeit macht frei is a German phrase meaning Labor will bring Freedom.  My mother and father believed this.  If they saw a person reading it gnawed at them.  That person could be raking or shoveling or mowing or doing any number of things.  This reading business was unproductive, at least, to them.

I think that being honest with yourself is critical in your development of your maturity, intellectual honesty and wisdom.  If you lie to yourself you will have false beliefs about goals and end results that will be misleading.  Having a mind that is open to sincere and honest effort, even if that results in failure is far more productive and honorable than false notions of success, and redefining the desired end goal. This isn't written to shat upon my parents.  It is to say, who I am is someone who wants now and needed to know things, to make correct decisions, and to accept and understand advance about life, so that I could build a foundation for further development.   My future depended then upon the arrival of four people in my life at certain times.  When I was 22 years old I was a failure.   I did have some flaws of DNA, of anxiety, of acquired issues leading to trauma, but many of my failings to that point came from three reasons.  Loneliness, Lack of direction, and Magical thinking each caused me to believe I was a martyr, I was being punished, and I had no future.  These were never true, but because I was not able to know different, yet.

#1 UNCLE LEO: Then I lived with my uncle and auntie for a summer.  And for the first time I had the input into my life from an adult male "parental" figure who was constant, generous, loving and honest.  If I was asked a question and gave a stupid answer, he'd call me out, or cry bullshit, at the same time, he helped me understand the world by giving me hope to get through everyday events, and to have an outlook of positivity for future endeavors.  Instead of being torn down on a daily basis, he told me I was better than the world.  That is, I knew that if I was to lie or exaggerate about an issue, he'd say bullshit, but if I were to tell him I was being chased by a gang of people with crow bars and tire irons, he'd hand me an aluminum bat and go into battle for me.  He believed in me.  He was the first person to do so. People don't really seem to understand that having been given up for adoption and then ignored mostly by the adoptive father, I felt rejected by my first two fathers.  This was my first father figure who did what I believe fathers should do.  In many ways, it healed me.

#2 COUSIN JEFF:  Shortly thereafter I spent summers staying with another family, and this family's father took it upon himself to help me develop a moral and ethical framework of life.  It was just as important in the long run of my life and first mentor mentioned above, but it was different.  I was moved by the fact that good parents can be human, make mistakes, be hurt, be angry, but, at the end of the day they are accountable for their words and actions.  By apologizing or owning their words and actions, they allowed their children to become whole after small fractures of fighting or hurt happens.  A good parent or adult even, isn't problem free, but they make right what they had made wrong.

#3 PROFESSOR RON: In my personal academic mental growth there were people who demanded that I should ape their beliefs rather than discover information, consider it in theories, and then analyze it all in a cogent and clear argument or thesis.  Yet in university what I learned was this: (that is, outside of the facts and ideas regarding the meanings of the classes being considered) it is far better to learn what you need to know and damn the end resulting grades, than to be graded poorly for a poorly argued and unbelieved thesis that you never believed.  If you are going to be shot down, be shot down for what you think than to try to regurgitate what someone you dislike wants you to memorize so that they can stroke their tiny Academic member mental cock when you try to recite their bullshit beliefs or ideas. 

#4 PASTOR MARK:  And once you move to the later stages of your existence, do this, find someone who loves children, and in a good way, of course, and find out, how do they maintain their hope.  How does that person continually pour positivity into their child/children? Do they have the outlook of life from an ego of putting their imprint upon the world by creating a bunch of children carrying that person's DNA?  Life is more that eating, sleeping, shitting, labor, and play.  How and why does this person do it, and find it a mission to send out their children ready for adulthood to be whole and happy people? 

I fail a lot.  I am not able to always be the adult I believe I should be, but it is my weakness not the lack of mentorship that is the reason.  If I had not had these special four people in my life, I'd never have survived. 

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