When I was 8 years old my parents took me to live with my Aunt Clara and Uncle Ben on the farm.
It was there that I had my first encounter with the violin. On Friday evening, after chores were done, we took our weekly baths, and then Uncle Ben would take his fiddle from its home on top of the upright piano and play.
I was in love. Oh, how I wanted to hold that instrument and make it sing.
But it was forbidden fruit. Only Uncle Ben was permitted to touch.
Up to this time, the musical part of my personal development had experienced only my mother singing. I had probably heard other music during my 8 years of life. But nothing struck into my developing brain to cause me to thrill – until the violin.
I could whistle, and I am sure I could carry a tune. My sister and I sang a duet for a closing school program, and no one ran screaming for the door with their hands over their ears.
Personal Development: Working on the parts of my self that enable me to participate well in the human experience.
Even the restriction to not touch the violin was part of my Personal Development. It involved a pattern of obedience and respecting the property of others.
Personal Development engages you in many parts of your life. Some examples are –
Anxiety – Peace
Acceptance – Tolerance – Dislike
art – culture
Personal image – view of others
Skills – a work ethic – a play ethic
Your Goal in each area and stage is to be Balance – Avoid Extremes.
I think of the four stages in the work of developing a person in this sequence:
1. Knowledge – Exposure to things and experiences for the purpose of knowing
2. Acceptance – Allowing and considering new experiences
3. Preferences – Deciding what you like and what you don’t like
4. Performance – Mastering skills to the levels of Accomplished and/or Expert
Parents control the beginning stages of Personal Development, as infants and children are subjected to the parents’ preferences and choices. Touch, taste, attitude toward ‘new’, sounds, music, activity, style, dress.
Parents pass on their own attitudes toward Knowledge and Acceptance, which controls the child’s Development in these stages. This embeds a pattern that will likely be followed by the child as the child becomes an adult.
The Preferences stage begins in the infant/child and continues into adult-middle-age.
The Performance stages of Personal Development have the best outcomes when Care-takers begin the work during the childhood years.
Before we reach our adult lives most of the foundations for Personal Development are already in place.
Parents control early exposure to the ingredients of Personal Development.
Parents provide a pattern for dealing with new experiences.
The child begins to accept or reject the parent’s patterns for dealing with ‘new’.
Adults determine their own response and actions toward development. It is often more difficult to acquire the Performance Stage when beginning a new skill as an adult.
HINT: Many old people tend to be stuck in their ways, with little acceptance of change. Don’t be an old person.
My daughter, at a young age, decided she did not like peas and beans. Unfortunately, a vegetarian diet makes liberal use of those dietary items.
She had the balanced diet of baby food items. Later, we placed some beans or peas on her plate, expecting her to develop an acceptance of them over time.
She would carefully work her way around the plate, avoiding the detested items.
We would make her sit at the table until she cleaned her plate.
She would sit there for hours, with her arms folded and her bottom lip pouting.
To this day she does not like them. Not everything works out the way the parenting books say it should. And some children have a clear understanding of their preferences early in life.
Adults need to have an openness to change in order to take themselves through all four stages listed above.
Personal Development needs to take into account our Personality Type.
Depending on which school of thought you choose, there are 4 basic personality types, or there are 12, or there are 16, or even more.
Human Personality has been studied quite thoroughly. Take an on-line test if you are unsure of your label.
Check out this link with several tests you can take.
Personality tests will provide you with some knowledge to help you in your interactions with life. But nothing in the results should make you give up with a dismissive “Oh, Well! That’s how I am.” Certain tendencies are identified, but you can change, you can learn how to adapt, you can move toward the center.
Your Personality (Temperament Type) will reveal strengths and weaknesses that you may have. Use the strengths to move the weaknesses to have lesser control over your choices.
Focus on cultivating habits/patterns that are “Good-for-me” and “Good-for-those-important-to-me”, in work and recreation, – in other words – in your Personal Development.
I was in my 30s before I acquired a violin of my own. I can’t play any recognizable melody on it. Never had the resources to take lessons.
But my grandson is taking lessons and plays for me.
I hope this article will encourage you to work on your self – and your children and grandchildren.
What have you done with/for your children to promote their personal development? With what results?
What have you done for yourself?
I’d love to hear from you.
Email me or Comment on this post.