Our sum total weighed in the balances
By Charlotte Cerminaro
Are we defined by our actions, the sum of our deeds? I know a couple of 19th century psychoanalysts who would say no, that it is what we feel, our impulses, even our dreams, that tell us who we are. I know it has become a popular idea, that our feelings, not our actions, are what’s important. Children are taught that their emotions should determine action, that feelings are more important than truth. Good character is associated with having a positive self-image, that this makes someone a good person.
But this just can’t be true. If real-life events are a barometer, then people are noticed and remembered by actions. By action I don’t necessarily mean running and jumping---sometimes the most influential, memorable deeds are done with words. Using words to encourage, comfort, speak the truth, ask questions. Keeping a promise to a friend, however small, will be remembered years later as a pivotal moment of trust necessary for friendship.
As a parent, wife, sister, daughter and friend, I’ve come to realize that my actions are the outward manifestations of dedication, growing over many years, through countless experiences and untold memories. Some memories are pleasant, some unpleasant, but choosing to frame these relationships with continued loyalty and dedication is not based on always having pleasant feelings or good impulses. And this is really the core problem now, in most of the western world.
For more than four decades, children and young adults have been taught that their feelings, impulses and self-esteem are more important than what’s true, more important than other people’s God-given rights. At best, these narcissists appear selfish, vain, shallow and ignorant. At worst, without a modicum of teaching on self-control, many men can become egomaniacs, aggressive, even violent, and prideful in the extreme. Women brought up this way do not fare well either; they are about as faithful and moral as a dog in heat. Of course, most liberals deny these facts, but their own tactic---citing animal behavior to explain human behavior---looking at animals in their natural state reveals the uncomfortable truth. Going to a higher source for information, the same descriptions can be found throughout the bible, in most textbooks on narcissism, and even in Freud’s analysis of the morally uninhibited man and woman. He was in no way condoning it.
I realize saying these things might make some people angry or upset, but my intentions are fact-finding, speaking the truth, not popularity or political correctness. The harsh truth can make people combative, uncomfortable, especially if they think they already know everything there is to know about something.
Looking at real events and behaviors, not what Hollywood and popular culture are trying to brainwash us with, we can see the indelible legacy of two generations. Their belief that personal feelings belong at the top of the Ten Commandments has destroyed the relative safety and innocence of childhood and scarred our minds with images of unthinkable savagery and selfishness. School shootings, gang wars and unprecedented bullying have become initiation rites for some young men, while abortion-on-demand, sexting, and overt, over-sensualized behavior and clothing for thirteen-year-old girls--already burdened with teenage hormones in a child’s brain--is just too much freedom and temptation, especially when you remove parental responsibility and authority.
What will happen when this next generation reaches adulthood, parenthood? Just thinking about this causes a reflexive, collective shudder and fearful prayer, for those of us with children in that age group. Setting a good example, giving our best advice, these are not antidotes for what awaits them in terra incognita. A kind of pragmatic, altruistic common sense can be modeled, but we are just human, prone to mistakes. As Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King said, “One day we will learn that the heart can never be totally right when the head is totally wrong.” And the only way to get our minds and hearts aligned is to understand the nature of this problem, for “...our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities.... against the world rulers of this present darkness, and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” There is only one antidote for a problem this powerful and pervasive and that is Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the truth that sets minds and hearts free.
Charlotte B. Cerminaro is a Juilliard-trained classical musician who, in addition to being a studio and orchestral musician, enjoys writing. © 2018