Nurturing Children and Ourselves
By Vivienne Legg, 23rd September, 2020
Embarking on a piece of writing about this topic as dealt with by the renewed teaching fills me with pleasure because the study of it, along with the study of the might of the thoughts, tells me that we human beings on Earth have much more potential than it might appear. With harsh pronouncements from the renewed teaching texts on the miserable state of our development and lack thereof, and initially only a vague understanding of how to move forward, it can seem overwhelmingly bleak. And of course, such a study of child-rearing also involves a thorough look at all that is wrong with child-rearing methods on planet Earth, but it necessarily also provides the illuminating logical reasons for that and the key for turning the situation around. In other words, we are not stuck this way. We can turn the situation around with an appropriately great and thorough effort. Those of us who are willing, can begin. There are so many important and interesting aspects to explore in this, and although they take many different forms, it is not difficult to understand over-all. As ever, it seems to boil down to one major and simple factor: we need to get back to respecting reality which of course is the major theme of the teaching which repeatedly reminds us of the harm religious teaching has done in terms of leading us away from that study of reality.
Respecting reality requires great thoroughness, and, as ever, Billy deals with this topic in great detail. In his book ‘Erziehung der Kinder, Jugendlichen und Erwachsenen’ (‘Nurturing Children, Adolescents and Adults’) he walks us through all the ins and outs with a degree of thoroughness that of course I cannot do justice to here. I have to be satisfied with summarising some of the main points. But I mention the thoroughness because this matches the approach that he teaches for nurturing all who require nurturing, and as far as he is concerned, this no doubt includes all of us who involve ourselves in the study of this teaching. If it is our world of thoughts that forms our lives, and thoughts establish themselves through repetition, then it makes absolute sense to explore them in detail and to build a constructive replacement for any non-constructive thought patterns through repetition and reinforcement of those new thoughts. Thoroughness attends to the real complexities and extent of a human being. It makes no senses to just let the up-bringing process happen in a passive or accidental form.
To my mind, Billy’s instruction on child-rearing and nurturing others is largely this: Notice your own behaviour by paying proper attention. Notice the true nature and all the details of the child or other one that you are nurturing. Work out a system of rules and guidelines that will serve the development of the child as an individual. Explore and discuss all matters of life and the guidelines and rules with the child. Accept the natural developmental role of mistakes in both yourself and the child. Exercise equality with the child and with your co-parent/guardian and between all children involved. Be constant. Finally, begin with your own self-nurturing because we all have a lot to learn. All this requires that we drop our illusions of grandeur, illusions of superiority, attempts at controlling something uncontrollable, that we drop our unhealthy ambitions and drop our beliefs that interfere with a study of reality and its natural law. We need to do this thoroughly and all the time, because reality is applicable all the time.
One way we need to honour reality – which stands out for me and explains a key misunderstanding of child-raising generally – is this: we can shape and form ourselves but we cannot shape and form others. We can change and drive our own consciousness, to form our own lives, but we cannot do that for each other, and that includes for children. And this is because of the true nature of the human being.
I have explored this topic before in the context of the renewed teaching, especially in my article on the wrongness of using coercion, pressure and force with each other (http://au.figu.org/coercion_pressure.html). The principle is based on the knowledge that, by nature, we are actually self-determining beings who direct and influence our lives through the conscious and unconscious processes of our own thoughts as we follow our own inner, evolutionary impulse to develop love, knowledge and wisdom. If someone is succeeding at overriding the power of decision of another person by pushing their own decisions onto them, it can only result in a form of enslavement that ignores all respect and esteem and acknowledgement for the integrity of the individual and his/her own natural creative potential. So, trying to teach anyone through beatings, for instance, is not only inhumane but is an illogical violation of their natural process of self-determination and it prevents them from learning through logic by causing them instead to behave in the ‘right’ form only due to fear. So they are not really being taught at all. They are only being trained to fear non-compliance. Rewards play the same role by causing the child to do the required behaviour only for the reward and not through his/her own ability to reason and understand. Even to engage in a bit of persuasion is a form of the same Gewalt because it does not respect the need and right of the individual to personally decide a thing through their own thorough processing of the subject matter.
This principle applies generally to all human beings but it also applies quite specifically with children and all others whose development we might be involved in nurturing. They are the drivers of their lives while the nurturer should only assist by providing a healthy learning, nurturing environment and guidance. In that environment the child or other one is not only allowed to make its own decisions, it is allowed the opportunity, through experience and thorough exploration and conversation, to learn how to make those decisions. This understanding of child-rearing attributes the child (or adolescent or adult needing nurturing) with the ability to naturally appreciate reality and logic to such an extent that he or she will willingly follow a well-designed and well explained and explored routine and system of rules. This logic-based and reason-based system, which begins with respect for the child, does not give the child grounds for bad behaviour. All this being the case, there is no place for force and compulsion. There is no place for punishment and reward as a means of raising a child, because those things interfere with the natural process of exploration and observation of reality for the purpose of finding the reasons for things.
In his chapter regarding the wrong, authoritarian up-bringing methods of reward and punishment, Billy explains how such methods also cause overtaxing and stress in both the parents and children, giving a further reason for bad behaviour and errors in both. However, when all that is avoided and it is done the right, democratic way, where a social equality and equal value is upheld between the adult and the one being raised, then the child or others needing up-bringing recognise that equality and they recognise how they are supposed to conduct themselves.
“That all then spurs them on to contribute everything conceivably possible to their own upbringing and education, to make themselves better socially/socially great and to integrate themselves into the family and into society as well as into their laws and Ordnung.” (p.128)
“Das Ganze beflügelt sie dann, selbst alles erdenklich Mögliche zu ihrer eigenen Erziehung und Bildung beizutragen, sich eine soziale Grösse zu geben und sich in angemessener Weise in die Familie und in die Gesellschaft sowie in deren Gesetze und Ordnung einzuordnen.“
Billy asserts that, “The majority of the human beings of today, especially parents, believe that they can nurture/raise their children, but truthly that is nothing more than an illusion, an overdeveloped imagination.” (p.11)
“Das Gros der Menschen von heute, speziell Eltern, glauben, dass sie ihre Kinder erziehen könnten, doch wahrheitlich entspricht das nicht mehr als nur einer Illusion, einer hochgezüchteten Einbildung.”
“True nurturing is based on pure intellect and rationality as well as knowledge of the creational-natural laws and recommendations, on virtues, societal norms, self-control, kindness, feeling for others, respect, honesty, decency and all other high values.” (p.11)
“Wahre Erziehung beruht auf reinem Verstand und auf reiner Vernunft sowie auf Kenntnis der shöpferisch-natürlichen Gesetze und Gebote, der Tugenden, der gesellschaftlichen Normen, der Selbstbeherrschung, der Güte, des Mitgefühls, des Respekts, der Ehrlichkeit, des Anstandes und aller sonstig hohen Werte.“
Other high values that Billy lists that are required for true upbringing are love, understanding, encouragement, peacefulness, freedom and harmony. But most parents on Earth will have to develop all these qualities first, with considerable effort.
Wrong kinds of child-rearing that impinge on the child’s natural need to decide things and to learn how to decide take various forms. They include not only authoritarian parenting (religious or otherwise) but also over-protective, pitying parenting in which the child is not encouraged to take initiatives and try things which would allow him/her to have the necessary experience and thinking. This form is disempowering and not actually supportive, because it tells the child that he/she is not capable of dealing with life and its challenges. Another form of parenting that takes away the child’s opportunity to think for itself is that which allows too much freedom in which there is no firm structure within which one can test ideas. Another is parenting where exploration of the reality and its truth is displaced by religious belief. Also parenting where there is no encouragement, no love, no conversation and no stimulation can be included in this list. All of that requires further explanation, as Billy does in his book, and is too much to recount here. So I will now look more at what Billy explains about the true nature of the child because we can only understand why these upbringing methods are inappropriate if we have a good look at the child’s true nature.
We can begin by coming to understand the concept of equality and equal rights as it concerns children. That is, a child has less knowledge and experience, but that does not make him/her unequal. It only makes him/her less knowledgeable and less experienced. As his/her fellow and equal human being, the parent/guardian has the obligation to guide and teach so that he/she can find his/her way in the world. We might be afraid that honouring equal rights in a child means to allow too much freedom and thus make parenting/upbringing impossible – which would certainly have been my fear – and that a certain amount of control is necessary in order to actually be a responsible parent and to bring the child to willingly follow that system of rules. But Billy is not talking about the ‘flower children’ method of upbringing where children are free to do anything they please and where there is no Ordnung, which he describes as a negative method that does not teach the child to respect Ordnung.
So, how do you achieve this equal rights thing and still be a responsible nurturer? According to Billy the answer lies in treating the child with trust and respect – appropriate due to his/her intrinsic rational and creational qualities – and at the same time providing a very thorough teaching about the right way to behave. It does not involve dictating how to behave but teaching the child and having the child partake in the thorough conversations about it and encouraging their input and consideration. It involves giving very firm guidelines but also giving the child the option not to follow the rules. This whole method is based on understanding the intrinsic natural impulsion for goodness in a child and the logical nature of the child. In other words, it is all about having a much more positive view of the child – of the human being – than we normally do. I find that very pleasing. The child is not naturally stupid and irrational or a sinner with no inner guidance of its own. He/she is only inexperienced and lacking knowledge. Billy explains that he/she has natural intellect and rationality and logic even as a baby, although the processes involving those are unconscious at first.
Not only does the child have natural rational and creational qualities, so do all parents, although those qualities are often very largely ignored. In the context of describing the problem of a general immaturity of parents on Earth due to their own poor upbringing, Billy points out that there are exceptions to that because there is a creational–natural impulsion for love, dignity, morality and humanity in everyone and some unconsciously follow that impulsion and align their thoughts accordingly. He states however that parents and others raising children, and those who have studied psychology – in this context, child psychology – do not know about the creational-natural laws and recommendations.
“Consequently they cannot know anything of the creational-natural impulsion which is present in every human being, which softly pushes for everything good and positive and therefore for all high values which, by means of a right and good upbringing, stand the child, adolescent and adult in good stead and make him/her full of virtue, well-mannered, humane and an amply righteous human being.” (p.25)
“Folgedem können sie auch nichts davon wissen, dass ein schöpferisch-natürlicher Drang in jedem Menschen vorgegeben ist, der leise nach allem Guten und Positiven drängt und so also auch nach allen hohen Werten, die dem Kind, dem Jugendlichen und Erwachsensen durch eine richtige und gute Erziehung zugute kommen und ihn zu einem tugendvollen, manierlichen, humanen und umfänglich rechtschaffenen Menschen machen.“
But if this is not paid attention to and activated then very much has to go wrong in terms of negative values. And so, the recognition of this impulsion for good is very important in all forms of nurturing.
This inner goodness and rationality are behind the fact that experience and reality are the very best teachers for a child, not punishment and reward, and this is because, as mentioned, the child – or adolescent or adult who needs nurturing – is logical and learns from reality and its truth. The same sense of logic leads a child to act rebelliously if a parent is acting in a form that does not respect its equal value as a human being. So while that child’s behaviour is a negative and disturbing thing, it reflects the logical nature of the consciousness of the child and can thus be corrected with patient and careful attention to its cause. The natural urge to demand to be treated in a form that corresponds to one’s true nature is totally rational, if not necessarily conscious. All this explains that not only are children and human beings in general naturally logical, strong and capable of learning through intellect and rationality if those things are nurtured, but that reality itself is a trustworthy teacher. This is in stark contrast to Christian teaching, for example, which discourages a study of reality and instead requires the weak human being to only look ahead to Heaven while trusting God. This is altogether discouraging because of what it says about the individual potential of the human being.
Child rearing according to the creational laws is based on a reciprocity, on a partnership between child and parent which is based on equality. Neither one is a lowly being. However, the parent must provide guidance thorough explanations of things, presumably in the way Billy does, so that the child’s natural urge to explore and learn is nourished. No matter how logical, a child will still be limited by his/her specific environment. The child has to decide how to put all that is learnt by them into good values, and the detailed explanations are necessary for that process. Then they will integrate themselves into the social order through their own initiative and do not need to be forced (which would not work anyway).
So, the child, the human being – neutral at birth, and not good or bad – is not just piece of clay that someone can mould. It is a being with a built-in impulsion for learning, evolving, recognising logic and being an individual while naturally having an urge for social connectedness. To try to even influence the child to turn out this way or that way is described as wrong by Billy. This is explained especially in the context of religious belief, whereby eventually the constant compelling behaviour of the parents/guardians succeeds in having the child make the belief his/her own. But in those circumstances it is never a true acceptance born of the child’s own contemplation and experience, but a false acceptance due to fear or a desire to please, or it is due to giving in because that is the easier path. So, to force one’s will and endeavours onto a child that one is raising is all in vain and is illogical anyway due to the ‘acceptance’ being only false. But to engage in such proselytising amounts to a Gewalt-based intrusion into the consciousness of another.
”What happens due to the influencing is a Gewalt-based intrusion into the consciousness as well as into the world of the thoughts, feelings and into the world of the psyche and self-decision of the one who requires nurturing/raising.” (p.404)
“Durch das Beeinflussen erfolgt also ein gewaltsames Eindringen ins Bewusstsein sowie in die Gedanken- und Gefühls- sowie in die Psyche- und Selbstendscheidungswelt der Erziehungsbedürftigen“.
Thus, through this false form of acceptance, brought about through the influencing activity of the parent, the child’s own developing or existing opinion is nonetheless throttled by the undermining by the other ideological or religious views and opinions. And this is so important to explain because, as a result of thwarting the child’s own views and opinions, he/she is thwarted in his/her ability to think for herself/himself. And this not thinking becomes an entrenched habit. And when the world is predominantly populated by human beings whose ability to think for themselves has been throttled to a greater or lesser extent, we have a very serious problem, as is clearly the case. (If we need a stark example, we can find one in the ways that so many individuals are behaving in relation to coronavirus restrictions.)
Billy repeatedly emphasises the need to be thorough in conversations with children. All matters need to be discussed and dealt with. The child needs the opportunity and impetus to consider everything for himself/herself. For these all-important conversations though, it is necessary to not only treat children as equals but to allow them time to ask questions and raise topics and explain what their opinion is of something. (How many modern parents or parents struggling just to survive will give the time necessary for this?) The parent needs to achieve a close, loving partnership with the child so that there is a mutual trust where the child feels understood and valued as a human being.
Positive acknowledgment of right behaviour provides the very important encouragement. Praise, on the other hand, constitutes a type of exaggeration and a reward which only causes the child to act correctly in order to get the praise which also is discouraging because it is thought that such is needed. In contrast to encouragement, rewards are extremely harmful and counterproductive because the child is put in an inferior position by them, thus is shown unequal value. The child sees that there is a lack of respect when a right behaviour is met with a prize as if he/she cannot know or come to know how to behave well through his/her own appraisal of things. And so in that case there is no common ground to be found between the parent and child. This also prevents a feeling of belonging to the family.
As part of the process of allowing the child to think everything through the child must also be taught to cope with negative occurrences, and thus not be thwarted by over-protectiveness. For instance, it is important to teach about birth and death and the whole cycle of life so that it is understood as a non-permanent thing which serves a deeper purpose. Death must not be a taboo topic. Billy writes that there is no time when the child is too young for this, and that is the case also for learning about the process of procreation. An over-protective parenting not only prevents the child from learning about coping with difficulty and loss through death and other things but, as mentioned, it also discourages it from exploring life and being able to have necessary learning from that exploration. It gives the child the message that he/she is not capable and the child therefore does not try.
Respecting the true value and self-responsibility of a child comes down to allowing it to recognise and correct its own wrong behaviour and this means the child feeling the discomfort of wrong behaviour by not being shielded from the consequences. All of the realisation and correction must come from the child itself,
“because those responsible for raising the child or other one requiring upbringing-nurturing do not in any form have the right to curtail the self-responsibility of the one requiring upbringing, to throttle it or to take it on themselves.” (p.138)
“... denn die Erziehungsberechtigten haben in keiner Art und Weise das Recht, die Selbstverantwortung der Erziehungsbedürftigen zu beschneiden, sie ihnen abzuwürgen und deren Verantwortung selbst zu übernehmen.“
So when a child is behaving badly, and comes to feel impulsions of discomfort (Regungen der Unbehaglichkeit) because of it, then that is the right process for self-correction and an improvement in harmony between the parent and child.
The child must be allowed to feel that impulsion of discomfort. Therefore, Billy explains that pity, preaching and chiding are wrong.
“In fact, parents and other nurturers/up-bringers very often have the opportunity to allow the emergence of the consequences of the wrong behaviour, actions and conduct of the ones they are responsible for, so that the effective effects can unfold. But just that is often disregarded, because in place of feeling for others sheer, wrong pity as well as preaching and scolding come to the fore in order to protect the ones being raised.” (p.145)
“Tatsächlich haben Eltern und sonstige Erziehende sehr häufig die Gelegenheit, die Folgen des falschen Benehmens, Handelns und Verhaltens ihrer Erziehungsbefohlenen eintreten zu lassen, damit sich die effective Wirkung entfalten kann. Gerade das wird aber oft missachtet, weil an Stelle von Mitgefühl blankes falsches Mitleid sowie ein Predigen und Schelten an den Tag gelegt werden, um die zu Erziehenden zu beschützen.“
I understand from Billy’s explanations that pity prevents the experiencing of the painful results. Preaching in an attempt to compel the child to see the error just creates noise that does not respect the actual thought processes of the child and inhibits their natural ability to think something over. Chiding or scolding is like a punishment and again does not address the matter logically, but instead builds up irritation and a block to reason.
If our attention is turned to the true nature of human beings and the true nature of reality and its truth we can really be encouraged in the process of parenting or nurturing in general. Although it will be quite a huge task to change from old, ingrained traditional and religious authoritarian methods of child-rearing, the inspiration for right methods is naturally in us. Love, understanding, encouragement, peacefulness, freedom and harmony are, as Billy explains, a wonderful tool for nurturing correctly. And we are taught in this renewed teaching, and through our own experience when we make an effort, that they are present as creational power in every human being. They just have to be recognised and brought to the fore.
Concerning Bad Behaviour
“Normally it is easier for the one being raised/nurtured, of any age, to be good than bad, because normally, from birth, they do not want to be bad because they are fundamentally born neutral; consequently the evil and bad only arises in them afterwards through mis-raising and mis-instruction.” (p.397)
“Normalerweise ist es für zu Erziehende jeden Alters leichter, gut als schlecht zu sein, denn im Normalfall haben sie schon von Geburt an nicht das Bedürfnis, schlecht sein zu wollen, weil sie ja grundlegend neutral geboren werden, folglich das Böse und Schlechte erst nachträglich durch Misserziehung und Missbelehrung in ihnen entsteht.“
(Billy explains that an exception can occur if there is an inherited pathological psychopathic bad behaviour, but that usually is triggered by bad parenting.)
To convey some of what Billy describes about dealing with bad behaviour I have come up with my own example. It involves using something that is termed gewaltsame Gewaltlosigkeit, which is explained elsewhere in the teaching but which I need to explain here a little too. This gewaltsame Gewaltlosigkeit which is passive Gewaltsamkeit has to be understood not in the usual sense of bad Gewalt but only:
“in the sense of a positive, pacifying, harmonising, equalising, uplifting, rescuing and Ordnung-making application in the form of a power, might and influencing and so forth, which logically offers passive resistance.” (p.249)
“…, im Sinne von einem positiven, befriedenden, harmonisierenden, ausgleichenden, erhebenden, rettenden und ordnungsschaffenden Einsatz in Form von passiven Widerstand bietender Kraft, Macht und Beeinflussung usw. in logischer Weise.“
If your little girl decides to have a tantrum in the middle of the road with oncoming cars, you have to exercise gewaltsame Gewaltlosigkeit – that is to say, calmly but decisively snatch her off the road to safety. It is an action that had to come about in order to prevent something worse. The little girl did not know how to fix the situation without the use of bad Gewalt. But you must not also exercise bad Gewalt and get in a rage about it. You just firmly and calmly explain in detail the error that the child made – even if you have to wait until later when she is capable of listening. Arguably, you might have to also restrain the little girl for a while if she insists on continuing to be dangerous. But again, this is a logical and calm action accompanied by thorough explanations and discussions as soon as possible and explanations about what now needs to happen and then follow-up discussions later on around the whole topic. All the while, we need to remember that this child, who deserves to be treated as an equal, requires guidance for her development due to her lacking knowledge and underdeveloped ability to appraise the situation consciously.
I have to point out that I never had children of my own, and my task is simply to convey what is taught in the renewed teaching. I imagine that the conversation would go something along these lines: “It is time to behave in a way that is responsible and does not cause danger to yourself and others. It is time to think of how your actions could harm others like the drivers on the road. What do you think they experienced when they saw you so close on the road in front of them? (This is all in a non-chiding form.) You need to show me that you will be sensible and thoughtful and kind now so that I can feel it is safe to let you go and so that I don’t have to worry about you instead of doing the shopping that we need so that we can have dinner, etc.” Whatever words one chooses, the point is to bring the child to recognising for itself the logic – the positive cause and effect connections – in turning to the right behaviour. This will be best achieved by letting her recognise that you see her as an equal who has simply made a mistake. You are not looking down on her as an inferior being who needs punishment and then reward if the right behaviour is carried out. You are showing her that she is respected for her own emerging but not yet developed ability to use reason and intellect. She can come to recognise the logic and need for your restraint because of her innate logical ability. Unless there is also a deep need to get attention this way, the logic and thoroughness and calmness and decisive logical action should do the trick.
Billy explains such an approach with this following example. When a person who you are nurturing is hurling verbal abuse your way, and will not stop the assault by listening to reason and explanations, you can remove yourself from the situation thus logically forcing them not to have an opponent. But as you do so you must calmly make it apparent that it is not their person that you are removing yourself from but the abuse that is coming out of them. “Love, friendliness, peacefulness and affection must recognisably remain.”
If there is a deep need to get attention through tantrums and other bad behaviour, that also has to be corrected patiently by giving the right sort of attention, if it has not been forthcoming before, and having the right sort of explanatory discussions about it. Although all are equal in value to ourselves as nurturers, we still have the responsibility not to pander to their improper demands.
All this requirement for calm explanation does not exclude the necessity of now and then delivering a harsh rebuke, but we can be sure that the right reason for that will be based on logic and serves the purpose of encouraging understanding and correction of behaviour in the child or other one concerned. All the necessary explanations have to be contained in the rebuke so that the child is in no doubt about what it is about and what needs to be corrected. However, Billy asserts that,
”The majority of those with upbringing authority are not able to distinguish or have trouble distinguishing between firmness, strength, love, righteousness, equal rights and control.” (p.150)
“Das Gros aller Erziehungsberechtigten vermag in der Regel nicht oder nur sehr schwer zu unterscheiden zwischen Festigkeit, Stärke, Liebe, Gerechtigkeit, Gleichwertigkeit und dem Herrschen.“
This discussion about gewaltsame Gewaltlosigkeit allows us to better understand the need for firmness rather than control. But we still have a great amount of trouble distinguishing between these two things. We tend to naturally realise that taking a strong stand with something is good in order to provide a firm structure and boundaries. But these examples of gewaltsame Gewaltlosigkeit show us how to do it in a way that is not authoritarian. Not being authoritarian must also apply to the harsh rebuke, which presumably is called for because the individual concerned is too stubborn to respond to anything else. Naturally this will not be effective in a context where a power struggle has been characteristic of a child and parent relationship where the child asserts its right to respect by provoking a telling-off or punishment from the parent. In these circumstances the harsh words will just be responded to with the child’s attempt to assert its own rights once again and feeling pleased to have caused the parent/guardian more trouble, as seemingly expressed by the rebuke.
Billy says that those who need an upbringing/nurturing do need a firm and strict hand in order to feel at ease. Certain rules and requirements given to the child may seem dictatorial, but as a rule they are not seen that way by the child if it is justified and they are given the right to choose between the rule and the consequences of not following it. So, really, it seems to be saying that if the firm rules and limits are willingly accepted, due to their right nature, and requirements are not dictatorially put, then this does not constitute control. I suppose this can be compared to a different situation in which we voluntarily undertake some sort of training, with music or sport or some other discipline, and we accept that we have to do what we are directed to do in order to achieve that purpose. And we will accept a rebuke as fair if we have nonetheless neglected to follow the directions due to laziness or carelessness. To esteem the child means that not too much is presumed or expected, but also not too little is expected either, and there is not too little trust. A lack of firm boundaries does not facilitate development or indicate trust. To look again at the above example, we can see that a piano teacher who does not reinforce the need for daily and orderly practise cannot expect progress from the child. Instead it will be a chaotic impulsively-driven interest in the music which cannot develop in any one direction for long.
As alluded to already, much bad behaviour is simply the result of a child rebelling against authoritarian, dictatorial parenting, by consciously or unconsciously expressing his/her right to equality. Also, as mentioned, bad behaviour can arise from the natural desire for attention in a situation where attention has been lacking. And so, much of the bad behaviour can be patiently corrected through a giving up of authoritarian parenting and by giving plenty of the respectful real attention that is due. However, none of this means that one should become a slave to a demanding child, because that does not allow for self-respect and respect for the rest of society. To teach a child bad behaviour that way, which would cause him/her endless problems in life, would not be a form of respect for the child. Firm guidelines still apply, but they are explored and discussed and understood by the child who receives plenty of nurturing attention during that process.
“Not only children and adolescents but also adults who require an upbringing are sharp observers and very quickly recognise the righteousness of logical consequences in regard to their behaviour, actions and conduct, regardless of whether they brought about the logical results themselves or whether they were conceived of and applied by the ones charged with upbringing/educating.” (p.148)
„Nicht nur Kinder und Jugendliche, sondern auch erziehungsbedürftige Erwachsene sind scharfe Beobachter und erkennen sehr schnell die Gerechtigkeit logischer Folgen in bezug auf ihr Benehmen, Handeln und Verhalten, und zwar ganz gleich, ob sie diese logischen Folgen selbst heraufbeschwören oder ob sie durch die Erziehungsberechtigten erdacht und zur Anwendung gebracht werden.“
Nurturing and self-nurturing is a life-long process. Under normal circumstances the child needs a nurturing upbringing until the age of 25, according to Billy. Meanwhile we never finish our own nurturing self-development. But not only does it never end; if we are looking honestly at ourselves with the necessary thoroughness for this process, we discover that our childhood nurturing was lacking this or that element and this is regardless of how well-meaning our own parents or guardians might have been. After-all, their upbringing would have been lacking something or other and so would that of their parents/guardians. If we can work out what exactly was missing from our own upbringing, we can begin the process of correcting for that by introducing it to ourselves now in our self-nurturing development.
Vital ingredients for our success in self-upbringing are surely the same as for nurturing a child or other person: attentiveness, thoroughness, exploration, learning from experience, self-respect, respect for reality and its truth, respect for Ordnung and the use of logic, intellect and rationality. Also we need to avoid reward and punishment and instead just learn through our own experiencing. The personality, individuality, character and intelligence of each person must be taken into consideration in nurturing/development methods. All are not alike.
Some of us, if exposed to a form of rules and guidelines in childhood that contained authoritarian elements, might have gravitated towards a life in which Ordnung is somewhat lacking. We may have interpreted the structure itself as the problem, rather than the unthinking obedience it required of us. As with so many things, this is an understandable but irrational reaction. As Billy points out, a lack of Ordnung reveals a lack of esteem for that which is required for a good upbringing by the parent/guardian. Even babies are already reportedly able to develop (unconscious) respect for Ordnung if they are well integrated into the good, right educational upbringing.
As ever, our own logic tells us why Ordnung is necessary. How can we undertake a proper upbringing/nurturing if Ordnung is not maintained? How can you ensure a well-balanced, healthy diet is maintained if mealtimes are chaotic and accidental? The same applies to everything else. How can you maintain good hygiene if something else threatens to interrupt your self-maintenance activities? How can you establish a good pattern of thoughts if you have no regular routine to form them around? What about nurturing relationships? Ordnung applies there too, such as in conversation, so that respect is shown for the other one. And Ordnung is important for ensuring there is adequate recuperation and recreation time. Of course, we do accept Ordnung in various contexts, which only underlines our unhelpfully contradictory view about it.
Correcting for deficits in our own upbringing is no easy task and, as mentioned, requires thoroughness and attentiveness. And of course I can see that this very study of mine of the topic of child nurturing and nurturing of ourselves serves very well to further this process in me, because not only does Billy address all the key points very clearly, he does it with a high degree of thoroughness, but not in a way that does my homework for me. I still have to work to bring all the threads together and understand it as it applies to my own experience. The task of writing about it is key to doing that all-important processing for myself.
As one who was raised in a heavily religious family, I can see that religion’s widespread negative contribution to upbringing is profound if we consider that it never allows the child, adolescent or adult who requires nurturing to be equal with the prophet or god, and if we consider the extent to which reward and punishment are utilised, which leads the child away from reflecting and logical analysis. Religious faiths require that their teaching and rules are accepted as a matter of faith and are not questioned. All of this leads to a habitual lack of thinking and rational consideration in the majority of human beings. On top of that, many Earth human beings obviously believe that the highest human striving and moral values and ideals come out of their religion and do not know that those things exist to be discovered in the natural-creational reality.
Having religion drummed into children subjects them to Gewalt and compulsion and to becoming dog-like, submissive human beings. Opinion-less prisoners of belief who do not trust themselves to have opinions can’t develop themselves in love, knowledge and wisdom through the experiences that they should process but do not and they also cannot teach their children to freely think for themselves. This is clearly why Earth Human beings are described by the renewed teaching as largely stagnating and, why with all the increasingly unfolding disasters that this state of affairs has brought about, the time to strive to correct for this deeply entrenched mistake is very much overdue. There is only one successful way forward and that is through disciplined, patient, logical effort. My optimism regarding this understanding is not based on how things look in the world now and are likely to look for a very long time to come, but on the fact that the Earth humankind is not doomed to be self-destructive and dysfunctional forever but just has to move its way out of the lingering effects of an unfortunate past. According to all we read from Billy, and what we can experience ourselves, we never lost our inner natural drive for goodness and so we can begin that transformation. Is there really any other path at all that makes sense?