What makes us tick?

Brenda Cannon Henley

Conversations with two people today led me to a long bout of thinking about people and personalities. What makes us tick? What catches our eye? What claims our attention, draws our finances, and causes us to make decisions - both good and bad?

I have always believed myself to be multi-dimensional. I was a wife, mother, teacher, writer, speaker, staff member, and held other titles. I loved to travel, read, and meet new and interesting people. I enjoyed having fun, loved the water, was a good cook, and delighted in entertaining often. My friends came from all walks of life.  As I have grown older, I have had to taper some activities, but I have found new ones with which to enrich my life.

The first conversation that turned my thinking to this subject was with a young mother whom I have always enjoying being in contact. However, today, I found everything she said to be so one dimensional, biased, and ultimately selfish. She waited a long time to find the man of her dreams after a somewhat troubled childhood. The prince came along and they married and are doing well by all accounts.

In time, two children were born to the couple and relatives mentioned her obsession with the children. She bragged that she did not leave her children with sitters, they did not spend the night with others, and she did not work outside the home. As they became old enough for pre-K, she said no and said it loudly. She began a program of home schooling. Her own mother expressed concern that perhaps it would be better for the kids to meet and mingle with other children and other adults.

As time has progressed, this young mother isn’t ever separated from the children for any reason. She takes them with her to inappropriate places, and if mentioned, becomes quite angry and defensive. People question the wisdom of such devoted attention that had become one dimensional and literally controls her life. God forbid if something should happen to one of the children or to the mom.

The unusual attachment has caused the mom to project her view and feelings onto other family members and friends. Everything must be about her children. She is so lost in this one dimension that she cannot or will not see outside the closed tunnel she has carefully crafted. She has recently gone so far as to call the grandmother and other family members with precise and exact information as to what the children’s gifts should be for birthdays and Christmas. Grandparents appreciate hints, but not demands complete with costs and names of companies.

The last straw for me was insisting that something at someone else’s home should be named for her children. The homeowner has other grandchildren and many friends and has a good life outside these two grandchildren. She certainly should have the right to choose the name for the projects she has built and for which she has paid.

One of the illustrations given concerning one dimensional thinking is that it causes all other thinking to become cloudy, non defined, and eventually non existent.  The one dimension might be work, sports, sex, alcohol, power, position, self-importance, or one of many other things. Let’s look at our own lives today and see if we, too, could have allowed our lives to be based on one dimensional thinking and determine how we can get back on track and become more healthy.

Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at 409 781 8788 or at brendacannonhenley [at] yahoo [dot] com.