Saturday, August 13, 2016

Donald Trump is a Child

You who have raised children will know what I’m talking about. It takes awhile for kids to develop common sense and responsibility – to learn that candy and soda pop are not what the world is really all about and that they have some part in making this a decent world in which to live.
by Charlie Leck

I think what I concentrated on most in raising children was to help them develop a sense of responsibility – that there was a way to seek out the common good (not just of our family but for all families of the world). It takes children awhile to grasp the lessons and early-on, before they do grasp them, they are nearly totally wrapped up in themselves and their own desires (and not necessarily their needs). Thank goodness that maturity changes that. Once a child senses that he has responsibilities in this world he is then set free to develop his own senses of individuality.

I have a wonderful book here in my study, written by Parker J. Palmer, called Healing the Heart of Democracy*. In it, Palmer explains five “habits of the heart.” They are the kinds of things most noble parents try to teach their children; and they are what other institutions (churches and schools) of humanity also try to teach…

1.       An understanding that we are all in this together
2.       An appreciation of the value of otherness
3.       An ability to hold tension in life-giving ways
4.       A sense of personal voice and agency
5.       A capacity to create community
This – those things (attitudes) I mention above – would be way beyond the comprehension of Donald Trump. To me, Trump exhibits all the nasty little habits of the adolescent – things we, as parents, work so hard to hurry them through and “grow them out of.” Trump would not be able to understand the ideas Mr. Palmer explains in his book.

An understanding that we are all in this together (that it takes a village)
“And yet anyone who does not understand that the self is interdependent with others does not understand what it takes to be entrepreneurial, creative and political, let alone what it means to be human.” [Parker J. Palmer]

Donald Trump is too involved in himself to understand interdependence. He would smirk at the idea that “it takes a village.” Trump, I think, is one of those people that Parker describes as being “lost in delusions of adequacy.”

Mr. Parker’s book was written four years ago, but it seems, when I read it, that he is showing us what Donald Trump is at his very base and what he missed in his development.

This author speaks of the deep need to develop a sense of humility and a feeling of chutzpah (a sense of deep confidence that one is important and needed); however, the latter without the former, could be dangerous. And it is in just such a dangerous manner that Donald Trump approaches politics. The chutzpah is there, but the humility is completely lacking.

The more I listen to Donald Trump and the more I sense his approach to living and communing, the more I realize he is yet just a child who has not developed a sense of needing community in his life.

“No man is an island,” John Donne wrote in a meditation. Oh, if Donald Trump only understood…

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friend or of thine
own were; any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for who
the bell tolls, it toll for thee.
Such beautiful reasoning Donald Trump does not possess nor understand. He, you see, is still a child.

*Healing of Democracy: Parker J. Palmer [Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, 2011]


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