As stated in the last blog entry, according to the great philosophers their are “3 Essential NEEDS to Happiness”. I mentioned how I stumbled upon them in my preparation for class one day while in my 30s and realized, unknowingly, I was living my life each day according to these NEEDS. I was once a very depressed young man and had some how found my way basing my thoughts and actions around these “3 Essential Needs…”.
SOMEONE TO LOVE
Most people in prison today weren’t nurtured as children. This was not their fault, but one of circumstances. We have too many children being brought into this world that were unwanted and unplanned. With all our knowledge of birth control, there is no excuse for a child born into a world without the love of their parents. If you don’t want children in your life, don’t have any. I respect people who don’t have children because they don’t want them.
As a public educator for thirty-five (35) years, I saw thousands of kids, who weren’t suppose to be here and I witnessed the hardship they lived with every day. A child growing up without love will become sad and/or mad. It’s easy to keep them quiet and controlled when they’re little. Just give them a stuffed animal and have them curl up on the couch and watch some movie. Today, it seems many parents just buy an electronic device to babysit them while Mom and Dad do their own thing.
If the foundation of love is not developed in the early years, that child will come “tumbling down” once the hormones “kick in”. I’ve heard so many parents say, “I don’t know what happened. She was such a sweet child.” That sweet child’s emotions all “blew apart” in the teen years. Mix in a little alcohol and an assortment of other selected narcotics with the hormones and you now have a raving rebellious teenager.
Having 12 different classes of adolescents each semester. I would discuss values early on. The kids would understand that a value is personal and something that is important to you. I would ask them to share their top ten values with me on paper. I would explain their personal values would not be shared. I could quickly learn a great deal from the personalities I would work with in my classes. Listed in the top 3 was usually family and sometimes friends. If this was not listed, it told me something important about that child. Universally, love is a basic need to happiness.
Edgar Allan Poe is an excellent example demonstrating the NEED for love. It seems most people know he was a great writer, “the Father of Horror”. The thing I have discovered is most don’t know why and know little of his life. Please take the time to research his life to begin to understand how important love is to your happiness. “The Father of Horror” had a horrific life.
I will begin his life and let you look at the rest. He was born in Boston and named Edgar Poe. His father disappeared when he was just 2 and his mother died when Edgar was 3. He was separated from his 2 siblings and eventually taken in by the Allan family in Virginia, thus his middle name. Mrs. Allan could not biologically conceive and desperately wanted a child. Mr. Allan took in the orphan child to appease his wife, never legally adopted him as his own, and eventually disowned him. Mrs. Allan died.
In Poe’s short life of just forty (40) years, it seems every time he got close to a woman as a mother figure or companion they either died or left him. He never experienced true love. He became extremely depressed, drank, used opiates, and his deep depression took him to the “dark side”. The insanity came from a mixture of all of the above mentioned. His genius was recognized during his short stay as a student at our military academy, West Point. Sometimes I think it must be comforting to be dumb, as the whole world could be collapsing around you and you’re unaware living in your own simple world. Poe being of supreme intelligence and sensitive could recognize the stress and pain of being unloved. He attempted suicide more than once and slowly killed himself like many today that suffer from being unloved with an assortment of drugs. He wrote some of the most amazingly “sick” horror stories especially toward the end of his life when he was certifiably insane. Thank you, Edgar.
Love doesn’t always have to come from another human being. I have trained my dog, Otis, as a therapy dog. This dog craves love, as he was the only pup in the litter and his Mother was sold when he was just a month old. Here was little Otis abandoned and alone. When we took him in he was troubled. He would suckle on my hand all the time, sleep against the wall (he was in a child’s plastic swimming pool and slept against the side of the pool for comfort), and he would nip us. This I found out was from the breeder attempting to socialize him with other litters. Being foreign to the litter, Otis would be aggressively attacked. To this day, Otis still likes to sleep against something, especially you. He occasionally will attack other dogs when he feels threatened. This obviously goes back to when he was bullied. My son, who has his graduate degree in psychology and works with foster care children told me one day early on that I had “damaged goods” and he’s right. Otis makes an exceptional therapy dog, as he craves the love he never had in his formative months (never take a puppy from its Mom before 8 weeks). Children love him and he craves their attention. I have seen as many as 14 kids patting and hugging him at one time.
I have taken him to lock-up facilities for “at risk” delinquents. These kids can’t even say the word love. “Guys what’s a stronger word for like?” There is no response, but with Otis they begin to open up. Animals have been used with prisoners for a long time to teach empathy, compassion, and love.
Otis and I walk in the woods each and every morning. I have my boots, snowshoes, muck boots, umbrella, etc. We walk in nature undisturbed for over an hour together. It’s our favorite time of day. We hike in the White Mountains in winter, go on canoe trips, and swim out to my raft on the lake together. He’s my buddy. Otis loves me and I love him. He waits for me at the door for my return in the evening and can’t understand why we aren’t playing standing there with a ball in his mouth. It’s time to go out in the yard and have a good time together again.
We all NEED love. When you find it cherish it and never take it for granted. We are a social being and NEED this thing called love to be truly happy. I hope you have found yours and respect it and understand how fragile it can be.