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Friday 14 November 2008

Lost Little Boys Who Rule The World

Supposing we started from childhood and looked at the heroes and heroines of history. Let's take Churchill as an example of a hero of history. Once there was a sad little boy whose mother abandoned him, wasn't interested in him and sent him to a school where he received a daily thrashing. He wrote to her regularly and she occasionally replied. The sad little boy wept and his resentment grew. All he wanted was the love of his mother.

The mother's husband died and she, having spent her life to date, and being a victim herself of the chess game that families play among themselves, switched her ambition to her son. Suddenly, the little boy - by now almost a man - took centre-stage in her life and he milked it for all it was worth. The mother paid him every attention; her whole life was devoted to him...and how he relished it! She was American. When war came, how he longed for her approval! If only America were part of the war...(if only my mother loved me...still lost little boy at school)...What if an American ship were sunk...then America would join the war...The Lousitania. Oh what tragedy! And the little boy got his mother's (and America's support).

Earlier, another little boy longed for his mother's love. He thought she didn't love him because he spent much of his life in the care of tutors who were repeatedly (through his eyes) cruel to him - forcing him to mount a horse, when he was constantly falling off it; forcing him into machines to stretch his arm that never grew properly (thanks - in his eyes - to his cruel mother who brought him into the world that way). What could he do to win her love? Show himself to be a strong man! Grow a great big moustache...wear military uniforms...look the part of a great military leader...Dear Kaiser Wilhelm (whom I happen to love) - another lost little boy.

If we go back to Ivan the Terrible, or even Caligula ('little boots') we see history is filled with lost little boys in positions of power. Does the world change? I think not...but before we accept anymore leadership or any more messages from people who tell us they can make everything right, let's look into their childhood and see where they're coming from....


Marilyn Braun said...

I don't know. I have a hard time with this. On the one hand, yes, the actions of parents can have devastating effects. But on the other-hand, where does blaming the parent end and taking responsibility for ones actions begin?

I don't know much about Kaiser Wihelm, but I would think that his being made to ride a horse was more related to his station than in any attempt to put a square-peg into a round hole. His arm cannot be completly blamed on his mother, if at all.

King George VI was made to wear splints, made to write with his right hand instead of his left, his father and mother were distant and his father in particular reprimanded his sons on a regular basis. He developed a stammer as a reaction to that. But I don't think he spent the rest of his life trying to prove himself. He had the support of his wife, Queen Elizabeth, who encouraged him to seek help with his stammer. He rose to the challenge when the monarchy was thrust upon him.

Despite all that he went through, he took responsibility for his own actions and his own future. He made a choice. And Kaiser Wilhem could have made that choice as well.

Again,yes parents can do damage to a childs sense of self and self-esteem but there has to come a point where you accept responsibility for your actions. You can't spend the rest of your life blaming your parents. They may have started lives as 'lost boys' but it doesn't mean that they couldn't 'find themselves'. IMO It's a choice.

Christina said...

Hello Marilyn - thank you for commenting! :-).

Oh, I totally agree that people cannot go through their lives blaming their parents and that was not my intention in writing the post at all. What really concerns me is that many people in positions of power fail to address their own issues and then project them on to the world. It is a cycle that goes on from one generation to the next and will only change when we examine where we're coming from and our real motivation.
I certainly lay no blame at the feet of the Kaiser's mother (contrary to her own wishes, much of his childhood/education was taken from her by her father-in-law).
I utterly agree with you that the 'lost little boys'(and girls) needed/need to take responsibility by facing their own issues.
It is necessary, I think (as the brilliant writer, Bradshaw, stresses) to place responsibility where it is due - perhaps with parents who were doing the best they could - but that is quite different from blaming them or spending an entire life as a victim.
I did not know that George VI was made to wear splints - how horrendous!! He, and all his brothers, sufferered great cruelty from their father who, in my view, was an out and out bully. Interestingly each of those sons grew up with psychological problems in varying degrees.
What I think is vital is to realize that leaders often act out their own sense of inadequacy on the world stage - quite often with horrific results.
Thanks again for commenting! :-)