Of Love, Hate and the Love-filled Joy of Children

My grandson got married, but I wasn’t invited.

Amazing, isn’t it? All I did was show him love and buy him things. OK, he just turned four years old, and his parents weren’t invited either. Nor, from what I hear, were the parents of the bride.

I’ve seen photos of him holding hands with his “wife,” even in preschool.

Shameless!

Who knows what they do when no one is around?

But if this is how love starts, I approve. Fill your hearts full, children, because life will drain them, too — then, with luck, refill them again. Kind of like going to the gas or petrol station.

As to anger, let me say a little about that.

Anger is like a multi-blade knife with blades sharpened to a keen edge, mindless of who it cuts and capable of slicing both ways.

Where does such intense dislike come from?

First comes love, then rejection, then reaction to the dismissal from the life of another. A whisper saying you’re fired, no matter how delicate the voice.

Or, perhaps the starting point of antagonism is a failure to win respect, approval, and acknowledgment. Loathing can grow from the absence of caring parents or the simple difficulty of achieving success, however you define it.

Therapists have all heard the conventional wisdom that depression is anger turned inward. Don’t forget, however, that anger can result from disappointment in life turned outward.

We live in a competitive world, including competition for mates. Someday these two kids will seek consolation for a broken heart.

Someone will say, “Oh, you are better off without him,” or “He isn’t right for you,” but such statements rarely console.

Neither do they provide solace when the words are, “Oh, you are better off without that job — it wasn’t right for you.” Of course, both the young ones are far from the job market.

As we witness a world with more than its share of anger beyond romantic and professional disappointment, many of us are triggered by something less tender than lost love.

Some feel displaced from their spot in the world, their previous role as a worthy breadwinner, or as a person known for giving good advice and helping a neighbor fix his car.

Populist politicians and their allies play on this sense of injury, fomenting anger upon anger like a giant test tube full of bile with daily inflammatory statements, addictive but strangely validating.

Yeah! He gets it. It’s not my fault. I’ve been screwed! It’s THOSE people. They don’t look like us, don’t believe in our god, and steal our birthright.

My grandson and the love of his life don’t know about any of this. They only know about respect, affection, friends, and toys. Maybe an occasional “enemy,” meaning a minor league bully or two, but nothing serious.

We all want love, don’t we? We all hope for applause, a job that pays well enough, status, and an appreciative mate. We all hope to be well thought of, praised, and admired by those to whom we are close. 

In a different world perhaps this wouldn’t be much to ask for, but these days we are too often replacement parts that have been replaced.

Confronting a sense of disappointment in life, too many hunger to pay back those they think are responsible. They only need a model and some encouragement. When all the guys are whining, somehow whining is OK, not as shameful as it used to be.

Still, we search for someone loveable. If politics enters that pursuit, it can be contaminated by opinions that tend to be unloving.

We are not as companionable as we were a few years back. Now we grind our teeth or laugh at the ones “ruining” our country, whoever they are, however preposterous the claim.

We lack the innocence of my grandson and his companion. Indeed, when she was ill and away from school for a week, he missed her and worried about her, dear boy.

Lucky for them, they are not on the internet, an occasionally monstrous place. Many of our interactions with fellow humans come electronically, where plenty of anonymous hatred can be found.

Despite all its wonders, metaphorical bombs are easily thrown by those who are literally out of sight.

If one imbibes the toxic message of anger now widely distributed, I doubt one will become more tender or charming. The four-year-olds have innate wisdom and sweetness, qualities not characteristic of those addicted to TV’s political anger-fests.

Nor will the Rageaholics have much reason to approach those of different races, nationalities, ethnicities, or religions, perhaps even those who pray to no god.

Trust me — one of them might be “the one.” Or, at least, a friend not so different from you as you thought.

We live in a time of loneliness, the anonymity of cities, and the solitary pursuit of “being your own person,” however worthwhile that may be.

Though the small ones don’t know it yet, the time of our lives walks and whistles quickly past the clock, especially if one desires to be loved.

Companionship begins with a decision to pursue it, knowing armorless vulnerability places the heart at risk. The kids haven’t learned that yet, either.

Bless them.

The second decision is this one, made by a wise man over 2500 years ago:

I don’t have time to hate people who hate me because I am too busy loving people who love me.*

An ancient Chinese man said this, but the kids I’m talking about live it.

————-

*Laozi, also known as Lau Tzu (the “Old Master”) born in 604 B.C.

The first image is a 1957 photo of Two Children Holding Hands by Irvin Peithman, sourced from Wikiart.com. 

4 thoughts on “Of Love, Hate and the Love-filled Joy of Children

  1. I think you described the malaise, Dr. Stein: “Confronting a sense of disappointment in life, too many hunger to pay back those they think are responsible. They only need a model and some encouragement. When all the guys are whining, somehow whining is OK, not as shameful as it used to be.” Oh my. So much sparks from those sentences.
    It’s the ‘pay back’ and whining mentality…a twisted form of group think that encourages the destructive negativity. A model and some encouragement as the antidote? I agree. As much as I want to turn my back on the ignorance, I can’t turn away…even when I want to for my own good because I see the behaviors borne from pain – abandonment, loss as you described. Thank you for a loving post full of realities…and a glimmer of hope. The Lau Tzu quote was new to me…what a perfect way to shine the light. Love the people. 💗

    Liked by 1 person

  2. drgeraldstein

    Thank you, Vicki. Yes, it is evident enough for those who wish to see it. The old comment, “It can’t happen here,” is also the title of a 1935 novel by Sinclair Lewis, written when the real threat was an ocean away. Now it is here.

    John Stuart Mill wrote, “Let not any one pacify his conscience by the delusion that he can do no harm if he takes no part, and forms no opinion. Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing. He is not a good man who, without a protest, allows wrong to be committed in his name, and with the means which he helps to supply, because he will not trouble himself to use his mind on the subject.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. How sad for our species that we lose our childhood innocence! As adults, we so easily fall victim to fearmongering and hate of “the other.” There is, too, what you describe as a world in which “we are too often replacement parts that have been replaced.” Sad to say, this has been my own lived experience. When we lose our value to others, we become invisible and are soon replaced.

    Like

    • drgeraldstein

      It is a challenge to live in our time, Rosaliene. Will AI make it better? Humans will use it, of course. Sleep well and dream of other things, my dear.

      Liked by 1 person

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