On Golden Pond (1981) won three Academy Awards in 1982. It showcases familial dysfunction quite apparently normal wherever people inhabit the earth. The father, Norman Thayer Jr. (Henry Fonda), and daughter Chelsea (Jane Fonda) exemplify the hurt of family gone wrong in unforgiveness, but they do finally reconcile. Many real families—and the individuals within them—do not, however, find such success.
The issues, causes and solutions of intrapersonal and interpersonal relationship problems make for absorbing analysis, and I purport that an interest in the whole person is central to this study.
We never truly consider the whole person in our living of life—and this is fundamental to our problem; the absence of adjustment and healing.
The whole person—their infancy, their childhood, their development, their adolescence and adulthood, their mid-life, elderly years and eventual death—is routinely not considered, and if it is, it’s mostly forgotten. And because of this, many of life’s events become “grudge-worthy” at a personal level and hence earlier stanzas of the lifespan become too painful to bear the honest look back at times; most of us don’t have a clue as to why this is so. It makes for many, a sad life when all truth is told.
When we forget the whole person we forget the child underpinning it all!
As in time-lapse photography, we can but imagine the person at each stage of the lifespan represented by his or her soul—that, again, of the child.
‘The child’ is of paramount relevance to all of us. The child is forgotten whenever we sell or swap authenticity—the pure state—with the pretentiousness we typically see in much of archetypal life today—the dilute state of dissonance where good things are done, yet we really don’t know why!
The effect is compliant love at best. This is not something that burns from within, as love should. Indeed, it is not love, for love is pure and instinctual.
And for most of us we certainly don’t feel good when we do good things for the most part. In this, we have lost our essence; or we never found it in the first place. We just know ‘the good’ is the right thing to do. This disparity affects our souls and actually damages us mentally, emotionally and spiritually in the long term, because we’re actively refusing to live paralleled and congruent lives; lives dedicated to “freeing” truth.
Children are core to this message of forgiveness because:
1. They’re at the receiving end of adult misery, maladjustment and anger.
2. All adults are simply kids—and damaged kids at that; without exception. Taking hold of this truth, however, is freedom for us.
3. Children are our future; our only hope—today’s babies will rule our world in one or two generations—isn’t that scary? And yet, what did our grandparents think with the same proposition twenty to fifty years ago?
I love the song years ago called, Search for the Hero Inside Yourself. If you didn’t know of it you’d still have some idea of what it’s about simply by reading its title. It’s the song that harkens us back to the fundamental purpose we were born with; to attain and live a life of victory.
If we’re to even begin to understand our problems we must go back to our childhoods and learn to forgive the key perpetrators, and hence, even ourselves. We must necessarily go back and ‘make peace’ with our pasts. But we often don’t recognise the past as our enemy.
For many, this will be a process hardly that important—yet it’s important for all of us. For others still, this might be a case of removing many barriers before they can even set foot upon the path of that journey.
The irony of life is this: the little boy or girl inside each one of us returns in an instant no matter how old we get; whenever the emotions are involved our ‘little beings’ are either exhilarated or exigent. And so the ‘big being’ follows. At all life stages the child within—adjusted or not, as each case is—is very effectual. We undermine this effect to our own detriment.
Attending to the child in each one of us is crucial to our wellbeing, now and in the future. With courage and wisdom we must simply approach the truth, and begin the process of routinely grappling with it.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.
I am currently preparing a draft manuscript titled, Why Must I Forgive? – Establishing True Freedom in Life, where I’ll explore a seven-stage process centred on all-relational forgiveness, toward realisation of the stratosphere of personal life freedom and mastery. This article is part of that manuscript’s introduction.