April 9, 2008

This is the page for blog postings and public feedback.

2 Responses to “Postings”

  1. johnsippola Says:

    Dear Britt,

    I thought I’d leave this more personal comment on your blog rather than on the ecunet server. I do occasionally respond publicly to some of the postings, but your Christmas reflections brought back some memories that I thought my response might be more appropriate delivered personally.

    Your Christmas thoughts brought back many memories of sliding down the hills of Port Arthur, Ontario (now Thunder Bay) with my sister.

    It stirred up some personal reflection on my early experiences of power and powerlessness as a child.

    While I had a good childhood, like most children I experienced lack of control in an adult world. In my work as a pastoral counselor over the years I’ve noticed how so many adults trace their feelings of powerlessness and the anger / rage attacks that often accompany powerlessness to childhood experiences. Usually something happened over which they had no control like parental addiction, or a decision was made that trapped them in some profound way. We all have stories from childhood that reinforce perceptions of powerlessness into adult life. And many of us remember the impotent rage we felt as children. Like when my Father said No to my request for the car for a ‘hot’ date.

    Nevertheless, your story reminded me of the many positive and creative ways we dealt with powerlessness. We couldn’t stay up, but, we read under the covers:). We didn’t always have access to wheels. But, we could hitch a ride with someone else. As adults we sometimes forget these earlier episodes of mastery and power within imposed limits.

    As you mentioned, children don’t just respond with anger, but often (after the anger has subsided) respond thoughtfully, spontaneously, and imaginatively to the limits of childhood. I see this over and over again with my five and seven year old grandchildren. If early experiences of powerlessness are accompanied by growing mastery, creative problem solving, imaginative decision and with a good dose of compassion for one’s self and others – there can be a sense of real freedom and powerfulness – even within limits.

    As adults we often experience lack of control and the powerlessness and limitations imposed by “life”; powerlessness over spouses, ones “X”, job, income, (poverty) death. The experience of powerlessness in adults and children is a primary cause of anger, rage, aggression, violence, and rivalry’s that turn violent.

    For too many adults the consequences of powerlessness are paralysis and rigidity – which in turn lead to a constriction of choices and rise of aggression in many forms – rivalry being high on the list. We feel trapped when we think we’ve run out of viable choices, and our minds and our imaginations shut down.

    Children often find imaginative ways to address the feeling of powerlessness, and as adults we can learn from this – to question the feeling of powerlessness rather than accept it and never to forget the range of options and choices we really do have – even when we feel trapped.

    For me, the quintessential movie illustrating this creative, compassionate use of imagination is the Italian film, A Beautiful Life, where the Father creates an imaginative world for his son and himself in the midst of a Nazi concentration camp.

    Again, thank you for your Christmas reflections. May the peace of God be with you and your family this Christmas.


    John Sippola

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