I always looked upon people in control of their emotions with respect. My mother was one of them. As children we never ever could answer her back or get away with saying anything under the sun. She was mild mannered, soft spoken and never encouraged us to judge people. Not only my mother but her sisters and brother were a nice lot so we grew up without actually witnessing ugly scenes and heated arguments. How such a mild mannered person could discipline us without raising her voice is something I wonder about to this day. I do feel tempted to pat myself on the back and claim that it was possible only because we were obedient children. But though 21 of us share a common gene pool (or at least 50% of it) as cousins, the permutation and combinations could not be identical. So I wonder, how then are we all the same when it comes to core issues?
My children however have a different take on the matter.
“How very boring it must have for you as a child! What a dull existence. See the spice I added to your life as a teenager. Your mom never had the pleasure.” Says my son.
“It is difficult to deal with an overdose of goodness. It seems so abnormal. Imagine being well behaved all the time!”
“Your home must have been like an extended hostel! No wonder you adjusted well to hostel life.”
I am not so sure about that. We too had our share of simple pleasures without having threatened to slit each others throats and my mother may not have encouraged arguments but we did voice contradictory opinions when required. I must admit that I could not discipline my children with silence as my mother had done. They felt free to quarrel and patch up, to listen to loud music and to play as much as they wanted as long as their school reports were decent enough and there were no physical injuries.
I often wonder whether my children were right in saying that being too good is bad. Whether in this world where might is right, a little aggression actually helps one deal with the competitive world that awaits them? Have the rules changed or was the world always a random assortment of different kinds of people, some aggressive and others mild but most just moderate?