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Tough Love

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Tough Love is the going against the inclination of ones heart to be a refuge whereby the troubles of another (e.g. ones child) can find a place of acceptance. Instead, the “heady” decision is made to slow, stop, or reverse the cause of those troubles in the best interest of the child and all concerned by generating controlled adversity the child will not like but yet will get the child's attention. The Old English (c700) word "Toughness" originally meant strong and firm. In 1400 it took on the figurative sense of hard to influence and persistent; in 1603, stubborn, obstinate, hardened; in 1619, trying and laborious; and in 1866, a rough person. Thus, its progression has been from "what it is" to "what it does" to "how it appears"--and all three were embraced by the 13th century English word "Adversity" (turning against to create a condition of distress from unfavorable circumstances).

Tough love allows programmed adversity to happen because of the child's lack of application of what society considers to be its common sense. The objective is to create tolerable adversity to the point that the resistant person is forced to deal with his/her own selfcreated problems without help and go through the agony present in that situation (but without further harm to him/her or to others). Eventually he/she will be able to see how his/her own bad deeds are not worth repeating and instead how his/her righteous actions are beneficial to him/herself and to others. During this process hostile emotions will be directed toward the parent and others but later overcome by maturity. Many "throw-away" youth have been so saved. So how does this situation arise?

Whether the reason for having gotten outside the boundaries of societal common sense is from a lack of awareness, a loss of desire, or a perceived obstruction (e.g. peer pressure) that prevents the child from following society's rules, youth's bad behaviors are learned "by heart" in the impulsive Right Brain or in the destructive Left Brain and then are transferred to the Omnibus or Brute Brain in the form of habits. These influential habits are thereafter only subject to mere causal supervision by ones intellect even though they are attracting thoughts from the outside world that correspond to those produced by ones own mind which, in turn, reinforces the existing bad habits--i.e. adding fuel to the fire. These bad thoughts, emotions, and behaviors further attract and also cause the youth to be more attracted to likekind situations and circumstances.

Such is particularly seen in youth living in environments where the composite bad thoughts are so powerful that they overwhelm and maintain control over susceptible youth's minds. To break up these automatic repetitions occurring in the Omnibus Brain requires bringing the bad habits back into Rational Brain awareness. Then the principle of correction is that "the positive is a sure antidote to the negative"--and such is applied.

Youth, under the supervision of mentors, decide what are the desirable thoughts and emotions required for cultivation and development. Those are firmly established by expressing them in action until they become habits. During the process "the wild horses" of the mind (i.e. bad habits) will gradually decrease their resistance. Some say the switch-over takes 28 days of continuous repetitious effort. Success is enhanced if the "reorganized" youth can be placed in a "positive thought atmosphere."

The problem comes in the type, degree, and duration of the adversity. Tough love Boot Camps for teenagers can range from beneficial to "child abuse." If Black youth are operating out of their Omnibus Brains then too much toughness is counter-productive and may make them worse. Yet they are in great need of discipline as a starting point for learning to solve problems by rational and critical thinking as well as learning the benefits of thinking with the use of principles. The established tradition of the African Age- Set system (Bailey, Freeing Enslaved Minds p163) is likely to do the most good for the most youth over the shortest period of time. The objective is to promote Discipline (training the mind for a mental and/or physical purpose in order to have mental and physical strength and toughness) and Self-Control (the restraining or regulating of ones own actions that otherwise would be expressed). Once self-discipline and self-control become habits they can literally reshape Temperament (ones manner of thinking and behaving) by creating new nerve connections in a youth’s developing brain (called neuro-plasticity)--the essence of switching habits.

website: www.jablifeskills.com

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