We all question who we are and how we effect all those around us. Most of us live in a mini-culture, others leave a bigger footprint. We should all strive to have a positive or meaningful impact on all of those that we touch with our lives. A report last week on actor Charlie Sheen reveals a less than flattering footprint. A better example of a child’s personal perception of who he is was shared with me several years ago. He was in his Aunt’s wedding and was to carry the rings to the front of the church. As he did so, he growled at the attendees growling to the R and then the L. His mother was upset when he finally arrived at the front of the church and she promptly asked him what he was doing. ” I am the Ring Bear” he said.
It seems that I am seeing more Charlie’s than ring bears. I think all of us start out as ring bears. Many of us lose the magical thinking that makes childhood so special. We all hear of the formative years. When is that? To be honest it starts at birth and continues all our lives. I have always thought the first five years are the most important and then comes adolescence. Personally I do not remember my first five years, and due to personal tragedy I by-passed adolescence without realizing it. I am a long time removed from my education or medical formative years. I was lucky to had many excellent mentors. Some of my mentors were in person and some in print. I enjoyed Psychiatry and Child development the most. The person whose writing I found most impactful was that of Selma Fraiberg. I have given her book Magic Years to young doctors who also enjoyed reading it. It is one thing to read but another to enjoy the antidotes sprinkled throughout the book. It appears that the age of maturity keeps getting older just as old age advances as I age.
The age of reasoning or at least the age when we were to know right from wrong was seven. Now it seems that we are given a pass and many adults particularly men do not achieve psychological maturity until after 18, if at all. Girls often start puberty at 11-13 and boys 13-15. I guess that is why 9th grade girls are checking out the Juniors. It is scary with social media and movies, music and loss of family structure. Many of our kids are left without the mentors and role models. All they are left with is Charlie Sheen, Lindsey Lohan, Chris Brown among others.