Spoil the rod and spare the world

The senior Bill Gates co-chairs the world’s largest charity - the $27.5 billion Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Earlier, he was senior partner in a classy law firm in Seattle. When an interviewer for Fortune asked him for the secret of the “inc...

Spoil the rod and spare the world
The senior Bill Gates co-chairs the world���s largest charity ��� the $27.5 billion Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Earlier, he was senior partner in a classy law firm in Seattle. When an interviewer for Fortune asked him for the secret of the ���incredible working relationship��� with his son who was once the richest man on the planet, Gates Sr said one of the best pieces of advice he ever got was about the business of getting along with and encouraging the right things with your youngsters.

Bill���s mother and he early on were involved in parent effectiveness training at the church they went to. The most significant and central insight that was emphasised there was ���never demean your child���.

���When you think about the centrality of that, in terms of a relationship with an offspring, you���re off to a really good start,��� Gates Sr added. ���I���m a great fan of my son���s. I think he���s an incredible citizen and a wonderful businessman and we let that show in the things we do together���.

The moral of the story is that Microsoft would be in real trouble if everybody in Silicon Valley had parenting like that!

Jokes apart, don���t underestimate parental power to make or break children���s lives. Alice Miller, the celebrated Switzerland-based therapist goes so far as to blame abusive parents for the majority of neuroses and psychoses of mankind! In all cultures, wrote Miller in her bestseller, The Drama of the Gifted Child: ���Sparing the parents is our supreme law.���

Even mental health professionals are not immune to the great taboo, she added, ���(because) they too are creatures of the poisonous pedagogy which they assimilated and internalised during childhood.���
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This may explain why the ���honour-your-parents��� maxim (matru-pitru-devobhava) is so ubiquitously found across all cultures. ���Do not forgive or venerate your abusive parents,��� Miller advises. ���Doing so can only hinder your recovery.���

Instead she exhorts her clients to ���remember and feel the pain of your childhood���. Many therapists fear this insistence of remembrance of past hurts ���because they are afraid of the truth. So they continue to preach forgiveness to the once-mistreated child���, Miller argues.

In adulthood, the hatred gets displaced onto scapegoats as happened in the case of Hitler, she says. What love at the right time might not have done? An artist and not a dictator: spoil the rod and spare the world.
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