Curly Fries & Apples: The Power of Your Invisible Influence

Children learn by seeing you perform and by listening to you speak, but that’s not all.

image of a dad with his child on the beech at sunset for article by Larry G. Maguire

Photo by Derek Thomson on Unsplash

Children learn by seeing you perform and by listening to you speak, but that’s not all.

When our kids were young, they’d have friends over. They still do, but as they grew, their interests changed, and different kids appeared on the scene. Early on, there was this one friend of my eldest son who, to me, always looked pale and undernourished. A nice young lad, well mannered and behaved. When he came around, we’d offer him something to eat, and his was response was always “I don’t like that”. No matter what we offered him, the answer was still the same. Apparently, he only ate curly fries and apples. My wife and I agreed that there was something not quite right there.

Fast forward eight or nine years, and he’s no longer friends with my son, apparently spends time alone at lunchtime and is getting into a bit of lumber with the school authorities.

Hindsight is 20/20, but I can’t help but feel that the stage was set for him early in life at home. What example must have been set to establish in this boy a preferred diet of curly fries and apples? Not much, I expect. He might not end up on the scrap heap, but the future health doesn’t bode well for the curly fries kid.

What we say matters. What we do matters more. But what matters the most is what we think and how we feel. We are communicating with our environment and others around us even though we don’t realise it. We like to think our thoughts are private, and perhaps they are in their verbalised form. But all thoughts have an emotional component attached, which pulsates outward from us. And whether we realise it or not, that opens up others to feel what we feel.

Ever walk into a room where you felt you could cut the atmosphere with a knife even though nothing is being said? Ever work in an office where coworkers don’t get on? Ever by chance, interrupt a romantic liaison about which nobody is supposed to know, just before it happens?

All of these extreme situations communicate unquestionably to others who come into their vicinity. At home in the family environment, it’s the same; however, what constitutes weird or dysfunctional to you and me might be normal for other people. This is what happens children; they become assimilated by a toxic environment and grow up knowing no better.

Our kids become a vibrational match to our dominant way of being, mood and behaviour. Their very essence becomes resonant with us, their parents, from the day they are born and even before. It is a kind of composite vibrational tone that both parents offer in unison, and the offspring become an expression of that. It is the base level something from which they collectively emanate, and it can promote growth and curiosity, or decay and fear or some combination.

Take a fearful nervous mother who's rule is dominant, and a perhaps subservient father. The mother fears to let her children out to play on the street because she believes they could be hurt or taken. The father agrees reluctantly or otherwise has no opinion. The children, seeing other kids playing on the street, beg their mother to let them out to play but she doesn’t relent. So they never get out unless they are going to or from school which, incidentally, is usually done by car.

What are these kids being taught through their mother’s fear and their father’s unwillingness to fight their corner? It’s hard to see them break out from this home dynamic without psychological damage or some form of neurosis. They might be stimulated to the contrary by associating with broader minded kids at school, but it’s unlikely they won’t be affected by the life-long experience to some degree later.

“The greatest damage done by neglect, trauma or emotional loss is not the immediate pain they inflict but the long-term distortions they induce in the way a developing child will continue to interpret the world and her situation in it” — Gabor Maté, Physician & Author

By way of contrary example, I went to a local café earlier today for lunch. I picked up my rashers, one sausage, two black pudding, two grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, three poached eggs and two slices of granary bread — beautiful! (I paid for it later in the gym). I had an americano too.

In the back of the café, I found a seat next to a young mother and her baby, who was maybe 12 months old. He was sitting in a highchair, and she was feeding him baby food, but he wasn’t interested. He was giving me his new seating partner, more attention than his lunch. I smiled and the baby and said something friendly to his mother. She smiled back — all very friendly stuff.

The baby was very content, and I could feel, even though I wasn’t looking directly at the mother and her child, that everything was calm. No drama that he was spilling his food, no concern for his attention to me or anyone else there, no verbal display from mammy to let everyone know things were under control. It was all cool.

So I shouldn’t have been surprised mammy got up from her seat and went back to the counter to buy something else and left the baby on his own in the highchair. She said something softly to the baby and off she went. And he wasn’t disturbed in the least, even as she disappeared from his sight. I thought, now there’s a stable lady. It was a perfect example of the secure attachment style made known through research by Mary Ainsworth in 1962.

If you’re in two minds about this or that and this is mostly the case, there is a high risk your child will adopt these traits. They may become confused and insecure about what direction to take when faced with decisions — even trivial ones. No matter what is said on the surface, the dominant underlying message will almost always sculpt their psychic structures.

What you think and what you feel most of the time will have the most significant effect on those who are dependant on you. You have a poor relationship with food and don’t have good eating habits? It’s pretty certain then your kids will take on these habitual tendencies. Are you afraid that the boogyman is watching your kids and wants to steal them? Well, it’s very likely then you give your kids these fears or some otherwise related screwed up idea of reality.

It doesn’t matter what you do or say; you’re going to affect how your children grow and develop invisibly. The most important thing to remember is that your predominant state of mind will have the most significant impact.

So there’s only one question to ask yourself; who am I being?

Thanks for taking the time to read my stuff. Every morning you’ll find me sharing a new thought on life, art, work, creativity, the self and the nature of reality on The Reflectionist. I also write on The Creative Mind. If you like what I’m creating, join my email list to receive the weekly Sunday Letters

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