Security, Guidance, Wisdom, Power… and Competence

This article was originally published on Al Fin Next Level

The following are some more thoughts that originated in Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”.

Most children are given a horrible start in life. Left largely to the mercy of schools, peers, social media, mass media and mass entertainment, who can blame them for becoming vapid and easily manipulated by “celebrity culture” and by equally clueless peers? But what if kids were given something solid to work with, from the earliest years of their lives? Then they would be the actors, rather than the helplessly acted upon.

Whatever is at the center of our lives will be the source of our security, guidance, wisdom, and power.

  • Security represents your sense of worth, your emotional anchorage
  • Guidance means your source of direction in life
  • Wisdom is your perspective on life, your sense of balance
  • Power is the capacity to act, the potency to accomplish something

These four factors are interdependent. Security and clear guidance bring true wisdom. Wisdom becomes the spark or catalyst to release and direct power. When these four factors are harmonized together, they create the great force of a noble personality, a balanced character, a beautifully integrated individual. __ Adapted from Stephen Covey … The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

These are not “all or nothing” factors. They can each be charted on a continuum. Each can be developed and integrated with the others. But everything that a parent says to the child and each activity performed, should be said and done with those factors in mind.

Let’s go back to Covey’s idea of “center of influence vs. center of concern.”

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Essentially, at the beginning, our circle of influence is rather small and we can control only a few things, most pertaining only to ourselves. At the same time, our circle of concern is huge and cluttered, leading to a feeling of helplessness/frustration. If we commit to focusing our energy on the things that we can control, we start changing from within. This in turn, changes dramatically the influence we have over others. So, we end up increasing the scope of our circle of influence while at the same time crowding out clutter from our circle of concern.

Try to see things from the child’s point of view.

If you want to raise responsible, self-disciplined children, you have to keep the end clearly in mind as you interact with your children on a daily basis. You can’t behave toward them in ways that undermine their self-discipline or [self confidence]. __ 7 Habits

If the child has a solid grounding of security, sound guidance, habits of thought and action based on wisdom, and a connection to the source of power inside of them, for them to build their futures will seem an enjoyable challenge — problems and all. This will be especially true for those who are given a Dangerous Childhood © of broadly based skills and competencies of both a practical and theoretical nature.

Imagine new generations of children who are raised to be integrated, harmonized, and grounded in wisdom. Imagine if they are given true competence to act in the world. Imagine the power they might bring to the challenges of the future. Then contrast them with the generations of thugs, arsons, terrorists, and violent insurrectionists who haunt the cities of the modern world.

Much of the chaos of the world is the result of parents abdicating their responsibility to their children — both born and unborn.

Note: It was many years ago that the book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” was recommended to me. But since I had read so many self-help books and psychology books already, I decided to skip this one. Now, after receiving yet another recommendation, I am taking a closer look. And the ideas are proving very provocative.

Sometimes it is not the ideas in a book which are helpful, but rather the way the ideas are put together. And sometimes you just have to read them at the right time for them to have an impact.

Parents who are intent upon raising a Dangerous Child will find helpful guidance in a wide range of sources. Never stop searching for new ideas.