Yesterday I saw a report on TV. It was about a 4 year old boy preaching like a pro. From a very early age he started to imitate his grandpa, a preacher. Comments on this come from very different perspectives. The family adores the mini-preacher and thinks that he feels ‚God’s Presence‘ when going into that state. The community thinks he is Jesus reborn. Others say that this cannot be since the Bible doesn’t believe in reincarnation. Then there are the others, who claim that this is child abuse. Many opinions, is there any truth?
I offer another perspective that people don’t seem to grasp: the simple conclusions of psychology. It’s very easy, really: a child, for as long as the child is dependent and could not live on his or her own, has one goal: to make sure he/she lives. There is nothing mysterious about that, it’s very logical. The goal has to be reached under any circumstances. So children are very clear there, even though it’s nothing they could state in words or even thoughts. It’s what drives all human beings. How to make sure to stay alive? By making sure they are loved. Being loved, admired by their parents is there insurance. And a child will find a way. They sense it, they know their role, they know exactly how to pull it off. Because there is nothing else in their lives at first. Staying alive by making sure the parents care is their job.
From what this little boy does – not just every sunday in church but also every day at home where he practices – it is clear, he is making sure, he lives. That is his way of securing his parents‘ love and admiration. That’s nothing extraordinary. It’s natural. What’s unnatural is that parents in general seem to have lost the sense for their children. They don’t see how hard their kids are working. How unreachable they have become. Now if you ask such parents, they will repell every idea of them not loving their children. They will then give you a long list of everything they do for their children. Because not loving one’s children is a social crime. But what if that is also a natural thing? In a world where love for oneself is not a given, there is no love to pass on. Not even to one’s kids.
It’s easy to imagine where they kid will end up. Burnout and depression are likely and somehow mellow outcomes. There are other ones that are way worse. Like cancer.
In this world we try to ‚heal‘ the kids when they show signs of extraordinary behaviour. Where the child manages to find the exact right spot, parents will be too proud of him or her to realize, what’s really happening and let it go on. Children who don’t find that spot will be taken to psychotherapists or doctors and they will be fed medicine. That’s not a solution, that is just crazy. The solution is simple and yet hard to achieve: learn to love yourself and show your kid how it’s done!