Equal Partners
by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners

By Roland Ezri

"Women are the backbone of all societies. They do a substantial part of the work, and play a major role in raising the future generation yet they are largely powerless. The decisions that count are made by men and foisted upon women."

Writings by Roland Ezri

Blame – I. An Overview

I can still remember my young children reaction when something disturbed or scared them.  They would look at me seeking reassurance.  There was also something else, a look of reproach.  It was like, “how did you allow something like that to happen?”  Of course, at the time, I was an all-powerful parent capable of anything.  They would later learn that there were many things over which I had no control.  They were also too young to really blame.  But their reaction I believe was the first step towards learning to blame.

The time came when they became adolescents; my wife and I fell from our pedestal with a thud!  To their credit, there wasn’t much blame during those years.  We remained a loving and tight-knit family.  They would freely talk with us about their friends.  From them I learned that other teens could be a handful.  Thanks to them I discarded the idyllic picture of my own teen years, back in Egypt, back in the 1950s.  This was a different time and a very different place.  Most important I learned from them that a blaming game took place in numerous other families.  “I am not accepted by my friends because you’re not buying me the proper clothing.”  “My boyfriend broke up with me because you didn’t make him feel welcome when he came to visit.”  Never mind that the boyfriend in question looked like an escaped convict!

Now to a basic question:  Are we wired for blame, is it learned behavior, or is it both?  I believe it is both.  My arguments follow.

With many unfortunate exceptions, our childhood is the best time of our lives.  Two adults, our parents, are in charge.  They take care of everything.  They earn a living; pay the bills; plan and prepare the meals; and best of all, at a young age, entertain us, play with us, and simply love us.  When was the last time you saw a 7-year-old shopping for a better mortgage, or planning a vacation?!

For the rest of our lives we will seek that sheltered environment.  But, alas, it is gone for good.  Nevertheless, we continue to assume that other parties are responsible for our welfare.  We are right to a certain extent.  For example, when a dangerous disease (example the birdflu) affect other nations, we expect our government to plan properly in case it reaches our shores.  If we are in a crisis, we expect our parents, siblings, and friends to help out.  Any of these parties can be blamed if they do not deliver.  These are cases when blame is a healthy reaction provided we learn to blame and move on.
The above is the nurture part of the equation.  What about the nature part?  A child is completely pliant and is willing to accept authority.  This is absolutely necessary, for the parents can be goat-herders on the plains of Africa, or two Cambridge professors.  No matter, the child will adapt, but the parents have an important role to play.  In the first instance, the child should be taught what to do if attacked by a dangerous animal.  He should also be provided with the proper weapons and reliable dogs.  In the second instance, the child should be prepared for the complex intellectual world awaiting him.  Perhaps a more onerous task than the one the first parents have.

If the parents discharge their responsibilities properly, all is well.  If not, and if harm results, the child will blame his parents.  If the situation persists, he will gradually lose his trust in them and indeed in all adults.  Together with the power to adapt and accept authority, nature has equipped us with the power to react when expectations are not met.  We begin by blaming and in time we may realize we have placed our safety and welfare in the wrong hands.  We are no longer willing to accept authority blindly.  In other words, blame is a defense mechanism.  It should be triggered for a good reason.  Unfortunately, as I will discuss in my subsequent sections, it doesn’t work this way at all.

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