Thursday, January 3, 2008
A friend once told me that if he had been Hitler’s father and he had known that his son would turn out the way he did, he would have (ahem, excuse me) done the “ACT” all by himself instead of with his wife (you get the drift, don’t you?).
I wonder what Hitler’s parents would have done if they had known who Adolf would grow up to be. Would they have taken his life even before he was born or would they have allowed him to be born and changed his environment or the way they raised him instead?
I used to be a staunch supporter of the nurture theory—that adults are more a result of how they were raised and of the influence of their environment (that’s like saying you have my parents and the world to blame for the plague that I am to you; Hahaha). I’m beginning to think though that nature, our genes, does have as much of a hand at influencing who we become.
At this point, I would like to divert from my usual depressed, bitter self to look into the brighter side of things—that side where Barney teaches the Care Bears to sing family-oriented songs in a ghastly way. Seriously, there are just some things that can soften not just the hardest of hearts but the more tragic cynical and sarcastic ones too.
On the first day of this year (when we Filipinos got another excuse to stuff each other with too much food) our pressure cooker blew up in our kitchen. That resulted in a near Jackson Pollock cow oil masterpiece getting imprinted right on our kitchen wall and ceiling. My husband got a share of the rare abstract work on his skin because he was standing in front of the pressure cooker when it blew up. You can imagine what he was doing then; he was the one cooking because people get sick when I cook. Since he had second degree burns, he had to sleep on the floor near our bed so he wouldn’t accidentally rub his ointment-coated skin on me and our daughter.
Our two year old daughter who had always slept beside us since she was an infant couldn’t keep her eyes off her father. After a long time of just staring, she took her stuffed toy, puppy dog, and placed it on her father’s stomach.
I could only stare at her in disbelief. My daughter never sleeps without her puppy dog. I asked her why she did what she did. She explained in her usual simple talk that she wanted her father to have her puppy for the night because he was sick. She had trouble falling asleep the whole night but she never took her toy back.
That just blew the caps off my jaded heart and my bladder full of bile. Of course we try to teach her to be a good kid but never specifically to do such things. I was expecting she’d exercise her right to be a tyrant at least until she turns three.
A counselor once told me it is only at around three that a person’s moral self, his ability to determine right from wrong and his ability to understand compassion, develops. How could my little daughter know that her dad needed her puppy dog that night? If I never forced her to give up what was most valuable to her, then she probably did it out of her own accord because she has some innate goodness that can either be nurtured or redirected.
I suppose all of us have that seed of innate goodness. Maybe Hitler had it too but then he could have digested it out of his body or others did that for him. I wish the good seed could just grow no matter what.