Courageous Unlearning

Courageous Unlearning

Image courtesy of Stefan Suarez

Leaders are busy people and are often so focused that they get their needle stuck in a groove when it comes to enlightened learning.

So here is a lesson on leadership designed to snap you out of your ordinary life and give you another way to look at learning how to improve your leadership. And it has to do with kids…

So here we go…

Kids need to grow up. So to help the process along, parents patiently guide and coach their children to behave in ways that honor their individuality and spirit.

…Or not…

Controlling the Controls

When dealing with a back-talking, ever-whining, emotion-manipulating kid, patience walks out the door and parental control walks in.

But when things go too far, and things get stressed to the breaking point, parents become more concerned with behavioral compliance than inspiring individuality. Parents begin to act in survival mode and end up forming their children in an adversarial environment that their kids are not yet ready to deal with. This impacts the formation of the soon-to-be-adult person.

This has long-term consequences that may stick around forever unless this knot of emotional response is undone.


Few things are as parentally transformative as an errant child.

When our kids express too much individuality, we are converted from a patient and loving teacher, to a jaw-clenching and over-controlling taskmaster.

When this happens, instead of providing our children with the space and freedom to do things their way, we slap on a psychological straightjacket and force them to do it our way.

We, as parents, above all, must be obeyed!

Parental conditioning is elemental to the process of child development. The challenge in raising chidren most effectively emerges, however, when children become adults and their behavior is still dictated by the haunting tense voices from their past.

Adults are, after all, just grown up children…with bigger clothes, bigger sandboxes, and bigger egos. Despite our “bigness,” very often, we adults don’t think for ourselves.

We tend to think the way our parents told us to think. Or worse, we think in the way they forced us to think.

Puppets To the Past

As adults, too many of us are still puppets to the past, doing what was told us forty-years after our “indoctrination!”  To illustrate this, ask yourself this:

How may people belong to the very same religious denomination as their parents without ever questioning why?

What causes this?

  • Habituation?
  • Loyalty?
  • Fear?
  • Indecision?
  • Lack of spiritual exploration?
  • Fear of going to hell?
  • What???

Courage to Unlearn

Unlearning in ProcessIt takes courage to disentangle the hairball of your psychological make-up to pick out what is truly your own values and desires from those that were implanted there by your parents.

It takes courage to claim your own beliefs outside of what you were told to believe long ago.

But, to not claim your own belief struture is even more dangerous.

When all you say and do is just a rehash of all your parents said and did, you aren’t really a person at all. You’re just a reflection of the past.

Honor and Build

The Bible commands us to “honor” our mothers and our fathers in the 10 Commandments. The best way to do that isn’t to live the life that they wanted you to live, but by courageously embracing the fullness of your individuality by becoming the you that you are supposed to become…independent of them.

To do that, you may have to unlearn everything that you were told!

What about you? What parts of your early-childhood conditioning are you still abiding by but have outgrown? For you to be a truly independent adult, what do you need to unlearn? Finally, when it comes to your own kids, where might you be over-imprinting your own preferences and aspirations on their lives? Do you have the courage to unlearn? Go ahead, be naughty! Your parents aren’t watching.


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Bill Treasurer
Bill Treasurer is Chief Encouragement Officer at Giant Leap Consulting, Inc.
He serves his clients with courage-building resources that reach the bottom-line
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4 responses to “Courageous Unlearning

  1. Tom,
    Courageous Unlearning really got me to reflect on how I was raised and the values and belief I hold tightly today. When I think of the word courage, the word change also comes to mind areas that require flexibility and risk towards personal and professional growth. Thanks for sharing.


  2. Pingback: Leading with Courage « Linked 2 Leadership·

  3. Pingback: Leadership Courage: Your Formula For Success « Linked 2 Leadership·

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