Friday, March 23, 2012

Willful vs. Willing

I was reading through the first part of People of the Lie again and Scott Peck talked about how he believes that the difference between being a good or evil person is the difference between being willful and willing. He says that some people are so willful, so unwilling to submit to a higher power, to truth and especially to their own consciences that eventually they become narcissistic to the point of becoming truly evil people. They become the kind of people that have only their own interests in mind, all the time. He says these are usually everyday people, your neighbor perhaps or someone at work. They are people who don't necessarily commit major crimes but they destroy lives in their quiet selfish ways. He makes the comparison between Hitler and Christ saying they were both very powerful individuals but Hitler's will was his own and Christ's was His Father's will. This subtle but profound difference has changed the way I see myself and my own behavior and has made me a better mother. A few weeks ago, one of my daughters was being quite disobedient. After sending her to her room (a common default consequence at our house), I sat down and took a minute to think about her and the situation. This principle from Peck's book came to my mind and I realized, "She is being willful!" That changed everything for me. I went to her room full of love for her and a better understanding of the nature of her struggle. Rather than scold or criticize, I was able to teach. I told her the stories of C.S. Lewis and Friedrich Nietzsche and explained where their decisions took them. Lewis was willing and had great influence for good. Nietzsche was willful and went insane. These were extreme examples but she was able to see how small decisions create who we are. When she made the connection that God had asked her to be obedient to me in all good things and that that willingness will make her a better person, she asked me to forgive her and her behavior has been much better! This principle from my self-education made ALL the difference!

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