Learned from childhood (not necessarily verbalized)
a. Measure up (you’re climbing a ladder to get to ahead and when you get there it’s already been moved 3 rungs up)
b. Don’t let your guard down. People won’t like you.
c. You can’t trust a man until he’s 6 feet under 
d. Sex is dirty. So save it for the one you love. 
e. Good Christians don’t show negative emotions
You must let go of false messages from your childhood and carry your OWN cross. Not someone else’s.
What mottos have you had to battle and what effect have they had on your life?

David Seamonds


The Marshmallow Test

IN THE 1960s Walter Mischel, then an up-and-coming researcher in psychology, devised a simple but ingenious experiment to study delayed gratification. It is now famously known as the marshmallow test. In a sparsely furnished room Mr Mischel presented a group of children aged four and five from Stanford University’s Bing Nursery School with a difficult challenge. They were left alone with a treat of their choosing, such as a marshmallow or a biscuit. They could help themselves at once, or receive a larger reward (two marshmallows or biscuits) if they managed to wait for up to 20 minutes.

The marshmallow test is often thought of simply as a measure of a child’s self-control. But Mischel shows that there is much more to it. One of Mr Mischel’s early studies in Trinidad suggests that a preference for delayed rewards also can be a matter of trust. Children who grow up with absent parents, Mr Mischel surmised, may be less likely to believe that they will actually get the promised delayed reward from the stranger who is carrying out the experiment. Indeed, he found that children with absent fathers, in particular, were prone to opt for immediate rewards. He believes the test also shows how the ability to postpone rewards is closely related to vigorously pursuing goals and to holding positive expectations. These traits, in turn, help explain why waiting for marshmallows at the age of five has such a strong relationship to outcomes in adult life.

from The Economist

What Your Childhood Memories tell you about yourself

A counselor once told me that our memories work something like a cheerleader's megaphone-only in reverse. The opening is wide but there is not enough room for very many memories to crawl through the tube to come out at other end and stick in our heads. So we unconsciously pick the memories we hang onto. This is why he suggested I try to recall my earliest memory tied to a strong emotion. It would tell me something about myself.

At the age of five or so, I walked with my grandfather to a playground near his home. The road was tarred but not paved. I was looking down at the rough surface when I spotted a $5 bill. I remember gleefully looking up at my grandfather and proudly showing it to him. He offered an approving nod.

My counselor guessed that choosing to keep this memory might speak of my closeness to my grandparents and optimism. The road may be rough, but if you keep your eyes open, you'll discover wonderful surprises-and there is joy in sharing them.

The very fact I choose to remember talking to my counselor about this story, out of the many hours that we chatted, could say as much about me as remembering that story does itself.

Say, what's your youngest memory tied to a strong emotion? What does it say about you?

Stephen Goforth

Self-control as a Child

Behaving yourself as a child brings big rewards in adulthood. Researchers tracked more than 1,000 people from toddlerhood into their early 30s and found that the more self-control they showed as kids, the healthier, wealthier, and happier they were as grown-ups. By contrast, children who struggled to complete tasks and handle frustration without lashing out at their peers were more likely to be overweight, drug dependent, and ridden with debt as adults. The study’s authors say that self-control can be taught and nurtured with practice, and that no matter what a child’s circumstances, “good parenting can improve self-control and improve life success.”

The Week Magazine

the risk of independence

All life itself represents a risk, and the more lovingly we live our lives the more risks we take. Of the thousands, maybe even millions, of risks we can take in a lifetime the greatest is the risk of growing up. Growing up is the act of stepping from childhood into adulthood. Actually it is more of a fearful leap than a step, and it is a leap that many people never really take in their lifetimes. Though they may outwardly appear to be adults, even successful adults, perhaps the majority of “grown-ups” remain until their death psychological children who have never truly separated themselves from their parents and the power that their parents have over them.

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

Shadows from the Past

Feelings in relationships as we now understand them run on a double track. We react and relate to another person not only on the basis of how we consciously experience that person, but also on the basis of our unconscious experience in reference to our past relationships with significant people in infancy and childhood - particularly parents and other family members. We tend to displace our feelings and attitudes from these past figures onto people in the present, especially if someone has features similar to a person in the past.

An individual may, therefore, evoke intense feelings in us - strong attraction or strong aversion - totally inappropriate to our knowledge of or experience with that person. This process may, to varying degrees, influence our choice of a friend, roommate, spouse, or employer.

We all have the experience of seeing someone we have never met who evokes in us strong feelings. According to the theory of transference, this occurs because something about that person - the gait, the tilt of the head, a laugh or some other feature - recalls a significant figure in our early childhood. Sometimes a spouse or a superior we work under will provoke in us a reaction far more intense than the circumstances warrant. A gesture or tone of voice may reactivate early negative feelings we experienced toward an important childhood figure.

Armand Nicholi, The Question of God

Other People are Responsible for the Way I Feel

A consistent characteristic of imperative people is the desire to persuade others to be just like them. When encouraged to look back to their childhoods, most imperative people can recall a history of strong persuasion. The parents have been so intent on keeping order that their behavior said, “If I can get you to behave in my world, there will be order.” Developmental years were full of relationships that featured arm-twisting, intimidation, or threats.

Jack told me that he had learned early on that it was not safe to be vulnerable. He told me, “I remember a scene when I was only five or six years old. I had just stepped onto the back porch of our home to set something outside when a very loud clap of thunder sounded. Scared to death, I ran indoors, where my father grabbed me and told me to quit acting so ridiculous. Then my mother scolded me for upsetting my father. I was immediately defensive and told them they were both mean. The next thing I knew, I was smarting from a spanking.”

“In a sense you were in school at times like that.” I said, “You witnessed how effectively they persuaded you to be what they wanted, so you eventually learned to do likewise with your family.”

While it is a good thing to express opinions (as opposed to repressing them), it is not healthy for us to become bossy or condescending or explosive in order to get our way.

Les Carter, Imperative People: Those Who Must Be in Control