The documentary, "The Dalai Lama Renaissance," captures the unfolding of a 3 day event in which the Dalai Lama invited 40 of the world's leading innovative, influential thinkers to his residence in the Himalayan mountains of Northern India to openly discuss the world’s problems and to explore solutions together.
Those invited represented a varied group that included leading journalists, scholars, scientists, professors, publishers, economists and influential social leaders. They were asked to work together with one another to answer the question, "What can we do to protect and ensure the future of humanity?" Each attendee was considered to be a "satellite" of sorts that would then return home and spread the word through influential channels to build global awareness.
Surprisingly, even in the presence of the Dali Lama, human egos prevailed and it looked as if these great minds may be unable to shed their individual agendas and remove themselves enough to see the "bigger picture." Many approached the task from an angle of immediate actions - to yield immediate solutions. This brought up a topic that the Dali Lama spoke on . . . and that I think many people need to hear.
The Topic of One-Sidedness and Narrow Mindedness
The Dalai Lama explained it simply, elegantly and beautifully. Modern man is consumed with this notion of "instant gratification." And our saturation in new technologies now grants us that instant gratification regularly. It can't come soon enough. If we could get it in 5 minutes 4 years ago, we need to get it in 2 minutes now . . . and by next year, we'll expect it in 30 seconds. As each gratification is received and then validated, it only raises the bar to push us to demand it even faster - and to expect it in a nano-second. Entitlement. Tell someone, "no" or "you have to wait" these days and watch what happens. They'll look at you like you have three heads. We're spoiled, folks. Spoiled, rotten brats. "Gimme, gimme, gimme! I want it NOW!" And we think nothing of voicing those types of demands DAILY. Think of how entitled we've become.
So, what happens when everyone is consumed with instant gratification and steeped in the material world of the "here and now," chasing selfish gains? Long-term effects are ignored. "This is making me happy right now. In THIS MOMENT, this is what I want and I'm feeling satisfied and I don't care about 10, 20, 50 or even 100 years from now. I won't be here."
That type of behavior is one sided (selfish) and narrow minded (ignorant). The human race has the ability to know the difference between right and wrong. It's a very simple concept to understand, yet many choose to look the other way. Where has our morality gone? Where has our compassion for one another disappeared to? I watched an animal rescue program where two 8 year old children cut the ears off of a 12 week old puppy with scissors in the backyard one afternoon - so they could fight it on the streets. The children did this while the parents were sitting inside, knowingly (due to the puppy's shrieks of pain), yet indulging these children via ignorance. These same children were then accused of stealing beloved family pets from neighbors backyards and using them as a training devices - to teach their fighting dogs violence. If our children are able to perform such horrific, heartless acts at such a young age, what does that say about our race and how we are raising them?
Take Another Example, Woodstock
Did you happen to notice the difference between the teens that attended the event in 1969 versus the teens that attended the event in 1999? Did you notice the difference in the "energy" that was generated at each of these events? In 1969, there were naked women running around all over the place and many people were using drugs heavily, yet a feeling of "love, peace and brotherhood of man" prevailed. In 1999, women were being gang raped and a feeling of "hatred and violence" prevailed. Of course, there were some "hiccups" at the 1969 event, however, I don't think even the hiccups were as bad in 1969 as the "reality" was in 1999. It was a sad reflection on modern youth.
MTV, which had been providing live coverage, removed its entire crew. MTV host, Kurt Loder, described the scene in the July 27, 1999 issue of USA Today:
"It was dangerous to be around. The whole scene was scary. There were just waves of hatred bouncing around the place. It was clear we had to get out of there. It was like a concentration camp (. . .) There was a palpable mood of anger."
Not only was there anger and rape, there were numerous reports of violence and fires which ultimately led to an abrupt ending of the show. My, how things have changed, haven't they?
The prevalent energy was anger, a palpable feeling of anger. Our youth is angry and they don't care about, or value, much of anything. "Taking for granted" would be a better way to describe our current youth. And consequences? What are those?
Where is Everyone's Responsibility?
I watched one of those Nanny 911 shows on television where two grown adults are totally being railroaded by three 5 year olds. How pathetic is it that we, as a society, need to hire professionals to come into our homes to teach us how to properly parent and set limits, rules and boundaries? Isn't that a "no brainer?" I realize raising children is difficult in modern times, but it appears as if it's never occurred to these parents that boundaries need to be set. That there are rules and consequences - and that it's their job as a parent to teach their children this concept. To prepare their children for the many disappointments and obstacles that adult life will undoubtedly challenge them with and to grant them the psychological coping skills to overcome such tribulations.
Many children are over-indulged, never reprimanded and never allowed to experience disappointment or failure. Many parents assume that because the family lives in a nice big home and the kids have beautiful rooms and lots of toys, that this is somehow good parenting. Materialism runs rampant in our society! Adults don't dish out discipline, it's not politically correct to reprimand your child anymore. Instead, parents have taken to dishing out "things." Lots and lots of things. When this is done, children then learn to associate "things" with love and emotions. They begin to form emotional attachments to "things" instead of people. One could possibly conclude that, that type of parenting may be what has led to such an increase in the adult psychological disorder of "hoarding." A condition in which the hoarder cannot rid themselves of "things" - because they feel an emotional attachment to them.
I don't know about you, but I want to raise my child to value people and relationships (humanity) - not "things." Not only that, if you never allow your child to experience disappointment, consequences or pain of any sort - and you're relentlessly feeling compelled to swoop in like a superhero to clean things up for them all the time, you will watch your child grow up into an adult with coping disabilities and an inability to form healthy bonds or relationships. As an adult, any little thing in life that proves to be an obstacle for them, they will be unable to summon up the courage and confidence to overcome.
Do You Know Someone Whose Considered Dramatic?
Do you know someone who, when any little thing goes wrong or becomes a challenge, they crumble. They cry, they panic, they run, they can't sleep, can't eat, become despondent and depressed - because there was an unexpected $400 expense that week or someone at work has turned out to be a possible threat to them? Those are examples of things that one can EXPECT to happen in life - and one should deal with accordingly. If the troublesome event is a level 5 on a scale of 1 to 10 . . . why do they react to it like it's a level 9? Because they cannot cope, they do not have the skills. And chances are, they are someone that was over indulged in youth. Should they ever encounter a level 9 challenge in life . . . expect them to show up on your doorstep at 35 years of age with their suitcases and goldfish. They will not be able to cope and will not even attempt to. You may find them running right back to the protective confines of your care - even as an adult. If you refer to someone as "dramatic" - it's just a politically correct way of saying they cannot cope.
Children who are NOT over indulged and are made to be responsible for themselves and their actions in youth - are much more successful in adult life. They can face challenges and better cope with life's disappointments and obstacles - which gives them leadership skills and a better chance at achieving success.
And those angry kids at Woodstock in 1999. . . those were our kids, folks. So what does that say about US? Could it be that the more stringent parenting of days gone by was more beneficial for the continuance of humanity than the clearly dysfunctional and indulgent form of parenting becoming commonplace today?
The Installation of Basic Human Values Starts at Home
We each have a responsibility to one another. That responsibility to one another is what will create our future. If we shirk our responsibilities, we shirk our future. And our future starts in your home, folks.
As the Dalai Lama requests, don't be one sided and narrow minded. Think of the big picture that is years to come and stop with the entitlement, indulgence and instant gratification. As a parent, leaving your child to indulge their wishes may quiet them for the moment and gain you some of that instant gratification for the evening . . . but putting in the extra time and effort to TEACH your child to cope with their feelings and experience the consequences of their actions will ensure your child happiness in adult life and more importantly - our future on this planet. It's your - OUR - responsibility to humanity.
The Realization and Message That Was Reached
The message reached during the documentary was that we have to think of the big picture, plant the seeds for our future - and sow them with care. Responsibility. . .
As Crosby, Stills & Nash sang, "Teach . . . your children well . . . "