Finally, it happens! A strange mixture of joy and odor filled the air; but Daddy is not rejoicing so much at what he sees, but what he will not have to see anymore! My little girl can only assume that her Daddy really enjoys looking at the stuff, so each time it happens she calls me in to see what she did. It doesn’t take too long for me to grow tired of the process, and soon I am pleading that she just flush the toilet without the ritual viewing. Gradually, little Susie comes to understand that her wonderful “gifts” have lost their value. And not only this, when Daddy’s adoration turned to disgust her whole world turned upside down.
During the course of all this activity, my child has been presented with a very basic contradiction that cannot be computed in that little head of hers … nor does it get resolved in the years to come. Indeed, this is a difficult concept: for if what comes out of me is good, then I am good; but if it is later made known to me that what came out of me was not good, then am I bad? No wonder her dolls fell in and out of favor.
So, as we grow up, don’t we find it easier to separate these ideas into philosophical compartments that can be discussed in a more sterile environment? Somehow, we can observe the evil that exists in the world around us (as well as the depths to which our own minds can plunge) and yet still hold the conviction that people are basically good! The really odd thing to observe is how fast we shift from condemning to excusing with no realization that we have totally contradicted ourselves!
Don’t blow this off just because you may think the “poo-poo” connection doesn’t apply. Consider another lesson from life: learning to ride a bike. Can you remember the intensity involved in the ordeal? At one time in your life it represented the impossible, but somebody believed in you, and they encouraged you on with a, “You can do it!” You came to burn with a resolve to prove that you had it in you. And somewhere in the process of the ups and downs and scraped knees … something magical happened … you were riding a bike! Whoever stood by cheered; the uninitiated just beheld in wonder at this new thing. But like all good things, this, too, passed from wonder to disinterest to despite; for the praises ceased and the threats took their place. Do you remember how after a while no one noticed that you could ride, unless you attempted some dangerous tricks? And then the only thing mom or dad would say about your bicycle was where not to put it and where not to ride it! I’ll bet you can still recall some choice words used to describe your wheels.
The bottom line in many, many areas of our lives is that we learned how to separate these perceptions into manageable portions so that we could function in the midst of them.