I was looking at my collage transcripts (the other day). I guess I am good at reflecting or PONDERING. It is clear to me I was trying to understand life in general. I remember taking psychology in high school. Then in 1978 I took General Psychology 101 at Metro Tech Community College in Omaha Nebraska.
I now believe it is everyone’s responsibility to overcome their childhood when they are old enough to do anything about it. Every generation is trapped within the boundaries and limitations of the previous era’s wisdom and ignorance. I see my striving to understand reflected in education and religion. If God (or Supreme Being if you wish) is the creator of all, the study of both reveals the other. Science reflects God and God’s wisdom can be seen in science. I do not believe they can be separated because God is the Master Scientist.
Anyway….I was always trying to understand. Watching, reflecting, pondering, learning, and praying. Trying to understand my family, childhood, others, experiences, and life in general. There will always be an element which is beyond our understanding, above our ways. This is the Devine Mystery which we have to rely on faith and just know God’s way is beyond our human understanding. The ultimate Human Dilemma, the Human Condition: to know we don’t know. We are imperfect and lacking in understanding. What a thing to come up with….After years of trying to understand……coming to understand there are just some things which cannot be understood.
Never the less, some things are so obvious they are confusing. I remember taking a speech class long, long time ago. I had to stand up in front of people. I was scared to death. My heart was pounding, my hands were shaking as I held the note cards. My voice trembled. My entire body trembled as well. The critiques said over and over again, that I should “just be myself”. Guess what? I was just being myself: Scared to Death. I didn’t know how to be other than scared to death so their statements to be “myself” were not useful. I did understand this was a complete oxymoron.
Now back to RAD. I flipped through my “Abnormal Psychology” text and found nothing on Reactive Attachment Disorder. My child development texts are considered to be from a “Normal” perspective. “Disorder” suggests abnormal. Okay. One can find some information in the DSM-IV. The DSM-IV is the guide which the mental health field uses to classify and categorize symptoms of various “disorders”.
Would it be normal or abnormal to fear picking up a hot skillet without a hot pad, if you have been burnt before? Would it be normal or abnormal to fears dogs if you were attacked by a dog before? Would it be normal or abnormal to fear public speaking if you have never done it before? Probably….for all these scenarios.
The human being is an exquisite sensory system of nerves which culminate into a hair-trigger alarm system, which when activated, releases an explosion of energy channeled into an instantaneous flight, fight, or freeze response for survival. Since humans’ natural predators were among the fastest and smartest on the planet, such as lions, wolves, vipers, and man himself, man needed an incredible nervous system to survive. The very fact of man’s survival is evidence that God, in God’s wisdom, endowed man with this ability.
So to counter this danger, perhaps first exposed “in utero”, the human child has one of the most sensitive alarm systems in nature. The slightest perception of an unnatural movement can trigger the flight, fight, and freeze response which for countless millennia enabled the human to survive the stealthiest cats, the most cunning of wolves, poisonous of vipers, and the smartest of humans.
If a child did not have certain responses such as hyper vigilance or hypersensitivity, something then would truly be wrong. Even hypo-vigilance or hypo-sensitivity are normal for survival. The human nervous system also had to conserve energy during times of food shortages or times of long confinement. When groups of people huddled together in small shelters in mid winter, conservation of energy was critical as well as suppressing aggression. Confined in close quarters with little food, it is easy to become irritated and hostile with each others. If the nervous system did not slow down to depress hostilities and aggression, humans would have ultimately exterminated themselves even before they starved to death.
The very fact of man’s survival is evidence that God, in God’s wisdom, endowed man with this ability.
The ultimate Oxymoran. Can we not have compassion and love for these children? Do we remove fear by inducing fear? Do we remove fear with restraints, punishment, timeout or isolation? We may never fully understand but how about reflecting and pondering? We may never fully understand but how about overcoming the previous generation’s conceptions of RAD? How about overcoming the previous generation’s boundaries, limitations, ignorance, and misconceptions of RAD…. by learning, growing and questioning the given solution? Consider new ideas. Consider a new perspective. Tap into your compassion and empathy. Does it not say……”perfect love casts out fear”? Can we not try compassion? There may never be an answer for some, but let us ponder. Maybe we must first ponder, “what is love”.? Some will say that punishment is a form of love. Some may.