I love YouTube videos… Recently I found one that showed a prank played by several college students on the public-at-large. They had super-glued a quarter to the ground, and then set up a camera “blind” in a local mall. The results were hilarious. People would walk by, most of them looking down. Some would notice the quarter. Some would walk by it, oblivious. Those who did notice the coin, stopped. Almost all bent down to pick it up, after looking around to see who was watching. When it became difficult to lift the quarter from the ground, responses varied. A few even got down on their hands and knees and tried to leverage the coin from the ground.
Watching the video started me thinking…
Like most glues, Superglue is called a “bonding agent.” Anything it touches will become bonded together; like my thumb and forefinger; or the china cup I’m just not willing to get rid of yet…. And it only takes a couple of drops too…. The results are almost instantanious; becoming permanent… (unless I have a chisel handy…)
Don’t you wish it was the same with relationships? Don’t you wish there was some fantastic agent that could be applied to a relationship, or even applied in drops to our inner understanding, deepening and sealing those relationships we sometimes fear might be slipping away? Such an element could take us back to the formative years, when our self-concept was being formed; when we were experiencing imprinting; when our morals were developing; when we were being instructed in our values….
It would change our perceptions, and help us to see the world … well, properly…
Studies have shown that healthy emotional bonding in a child’s life is crucial in building a solid sense of personal belonging and confidence later in life. Interestingly enough, the same studies have shown a link between uninterrupted, positive bonding during childhood years (ages 0-12), and the development of the adult moral conscience. It seems that we each are born with the desire to receive approval; to be understood as having “meant well” in our lives. Additionally, we are born with a temporary, and fleeting innocence that predisposes us to believe the best, to learn, and to live motivated lives.
I’ll throw in an illustration here: As salt and baking soda is to a cake’s batter, so healthy bonding causes our lives “to rise.”
That doesn’t mean that we are born without a sin nature… Instictively, we all possess the ability to choose ourselves first — that goes without saying…. There are things that we must be taught; like sharing; like listening; like empathsizing with others’ pain, like taking the smaller piece of pie because the apple pie on the table is our brother’s favorite… No, we are each inherrantly selfish, with our personal orbits rotating in loyalty around our own comforts and sense of safety. But early years are the best season to shape unselfishness.
Early years are the time when, as Anne Ortlund stated so eloquently years ago, “children are wet cement.”
Two studies come to mind, both of which I re-read recently, involve the mindsets of sociopathic killers over the past 200 years or so. The studies included the lives of murderers such as Ted Bundy, Jack the Ripper, Hilter, Josef Mengele, as well as more modern mass murderers, such as those who have perpetrated school shootings; like Colombine, like Paducah, Cleveland, and New Orleans. There have been more than 60 in our country to date. And lest we believe that the problems exist only in our own sphere of influence, we must remember that school shootings have taken place in other countries as well: Finland, the Netherlands, Germany to name a few. These studies show that whenever a person becomes sociopathic, it is a result of emotional numbness, of ambient depression, of isolation — in short, an un-bonded-ness in the life.
Yes. I hear you. Not everyone with a bonding issue becomes a socio-path. However, we were created to bond — at Creation, God said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” When we are not well bonded, and are designed to bond with someone — who do we bond with? We bond to ourselves. We feel alone. We become our own sense of “rightness.” Even within a family, we feel “outside” somehow. We don’t sense much emotion, unless it is negative; like anger, depression, fear. We try to meet our own needs — even when we don’t know what they really are — and we are tempted to overindulge.
Can you fix the cake as it comes out of the oven? Can you add salt and baking soda then — when the layer hasn’t risen, and it “tastes unappealing.” No, for the cake to rise properly, those things must be added in at “batter stage.”
Sadly, the majority of people I see in my counseling office represent our culture pretty well. Most are trying to work through bonding issues — gaps in emotional development. They are people who thought life was ”just breezing along,” until a crisis presented itself; something they were emotionally untooled for; something that released a torrent of deeper pain from early life. Typically, men cover these gaps with anger; women with fear and depression. And bonding gaps in children — become love needs that drive us in adults.
How does a parent, or authority figure, impart bonding to their child? Consider: can they give away something they never received?
How does a mother guide without nagging or complaining? Consider: can she follow a pattern she has never seen modeled?
How does a father become involved and empathetic towards his family? Consider: where would he learn those examples?
Does our busy-ness and driven-ness as a culture explain away a child’s inherrent need for bonding? Why do we seek to be “normal,” rather than “healthy?”
Answer: We can only do what we have seen done, and repeat what we have experienced…
Unless…. The solution is not an easy one.
Our culture is in need of healthy fathers, healthy mothers, …… and healthy churches.
Currently, I am one of those who serve in a congregation of believers. My counseling practice includes some from my own congregation, as well as many from outside our church walls. Too many times, I hear the words, “I don’t go to church anymore, because I didn’t feel I was good enough; I couldn’t keep all the rules. I didn’t know how.” Too many times, sadly, people in bars have proven to be kinder than people inside a church structure. And worse, the only people who are offended when I repeat these statements, usually are those who feel they already know Jesus Christ. Those who don’t know Him yet agree…. or even enlarge the statements.
How do we learn to bond? My simple answer, humbly offered is this: We must allow our hearts to receive the love of God. It is not something we can earn, or prove to be worthy of. But it is the only substance that can take us each back to “batter stage.” Jesus said, in Matthew 18, “Unless you be converted (changed) and become as a little child, you will not see the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Stop and think about that for a moment… reread the last paragraph… I don’t know about you, but I really want to see the Kingdom come — on earth, as it is in heaven… don’t you? What would it take for you to let your heart go back to “batter stage?” Can you believe that God deeply and thoroughly loves you — really loves you — just because He made you? What bonding needs were not addressed in your “batter stage?”
The only one who can help us become who we are designed to become, is the One who made us… Jesus Christ…. He is the bonding agent.
The salt and baking soda part of the proposition includes finding real disciples of Jesus who will allow you to learn as you grow; and will love you as well, without judgment, or give you a list of rules that must be “kept.” I say that, because it is important that we realize that when we allow Jesus to really love us, we will begin to hear and feel His Spirit speak to us. On the inside of us. And when the Holy Spirit speaks, He teaches us; encourages us; and helps us to make changes from the inside out. It’s always better to work with Him, because He is our Creator; He alone knows who we are destined to become.
When the Holy Spirit leads us, He never leaves us alone. He always leads us into a safe community. In the Bible, that community is called “The Body of Christ,” or “The Family of God.”
If you would like further study about this, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org…. or find me on facebook.
“…. there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother…” (Proverbs 18:24)
“…. (Jesus said,) I will never leave you or forsake you….” (Hebrews 13:5)
(c)2010. atg/dg Duplication for profit requires permission.