Wednesday, May 27, 2009

27) Fatherhood

"Fathers bring an unique presence, a special strength to raising children."
Ray Guarendi, Clinical Psychologist

Popular perception is that mothers are care-givers and fathers providers; that mothers are nurturing and that fathers are discipline-enforcing. Of late there is a shift in the traditional perception. Now, there is an increased merging of roles and sharing of tasks. With more mothers working full or part time, outside the home, this change becomes necessary. Flexi-work-schedules help, but mothers still have to balance professional and home responsibilities. To help such mothers, a new breed of super-involved, diaper-changing fathers is putting up willing hands. Some say that fathers can be as capable as mothers, if taught properly. Cases are not uncommon, of fathers opting to be stay-at-home-dads, allowing their spouses to take up rewarding careers.

Taking note of these changes, in a report published by Briton's Equal Opportunity Commission, the MORI Social Research Institute described four types of dads:
1) Enforcer Dad: He is not involved in day-to-day care of his children and sees the most important aspect of being a father as providing a role model and setting clear rules.
2) Entertainer Dad: He often entertains the children while the mother does the household work(cooking, cleaning and allied tasks); but he does not get involved in household tasks.
3) Useful Dad: He entertains the children and also helps out with childcare and some household tasks. But he still takes the lead from his wife about what needs doing and when.
4) Fully-involved Dad: He is equally involved with the running of the home and the family, as his partner, at least some of the time, and parental roles are virtually interchanged.

Most often, rightly, mothers corner the glory of child rearing. Sometimes fathers come up trumps. "I would be hard-pressed to find another father as dedicated as he is", is the warm tribute paid by a grateful child. "My dad was always there for me and my elder sister, no matter how busy he was. I grew up feeling very much loved and secure", are the words of an admiring daughter. And a little boy, near death, told his mother in no uncertain terms that he wanted his father by his bedside. He loved his mother very much, but now he insisted on having his father with him.
Memories of my noble father come back to me. He would never harm even those who harmed him, preferring to forgive them; and in many ways he gave to those in need, even when it hurt. He died long ago, but memories linger and there is an ache that will not go away.

Despite the occasional praise a father receives, he is asked searching questions:
Does he tune into the real needs of his children? Can they count on him at all times?
In a conflict-situation, is he understanding and fair? Does he create magic moments for his children? Does he bring his work-problems home and expend his frustration on his wife and children? Does he back his wife? And so on. Mothers seldom have to answer such questions, but fathers are not spared.

Since fathers play the disciplinarian-role(with many mothers dumping the disciplining
function on them), they appear stern and rather remote. Sadly, they are a misunderstood tribe. Some fathers choose not to explain themselves, preferring to be silent, and their families interpret their actions in a way that suits them. But fathers soldier on, marching to a beat in their hearts. That is why Wilhem Busch's voice strikes a familiar chord: "To become a father is not hard; but to be a father is, however".

A certain dad buys an Accordion for his son, who start music lessons, though he hates practicing. One day he challenges his father:"Why must I learn to play the Accordion?" Patiently, the father explains: "Because you can bring joy to people. You can touch their hearts.Someday you will have a chance to play beautiful music for your family. Then you will understand why you worked so hard at it". As the boy grows he plays less. When he is a grown young man, he decides to pack the Accordion and store it in the attic. Thirty years later,his children discover the Accordion in the attic and beg their father to play. He does play as his wife and children laugh, clap and dance to the music. Then his dead father's words come back to him and he woefully acknowledges that his father was right.

This story is true of what happens between fathers and children. There are four stages in their relationship:
1) When children are very young, it is:'only daddy knows'.
2) As they grow, it is:'daddy also knows'.
3) Into their teens and early adulthood, it is:'Really, what does daddy know?'
4) As they begin to grey at the temple, it is:'Yes, daddy knew'.
To this post, Charles Wadsworth's words are a fitting conclusion:"By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he is wrong".

Monday, May 25, 2009

26) Motherhood

"Nothing will make you as happy or sad, as proud or as tired, as motherhood."
Ella Parsons

The last ten posts(16-25)focused on some problem-situations: 1)Quality time 2)Sibling rivalry 3)Comparisons and labels 4)Double standards 5)Authority 6)Coping with bullies 7)Self worth 8)Making friends 9)Helping children succeed 10)Nurturing the leader. We shall take a break from these situations, to revert to the mainstream. Later, we shall get back to a few more problem-situations.

Now, we shall invite the main characters in the parenting story - Mum and dad, one at a time - to take center stage.

A mother of 9 attended a series of talks on how people could choose to live better lives. Enthusiastic, she approached her Pastor with her new desire to become a preacher, like him, so that she could persuade others to better their lives. The Pastor listened intently to her and had these encouraging words: "You have everything in your favor and a ready audience - your 9 children". Put differently, the Pastor's advice to her was to focus on making 9 better people of her 9 children.
Just imagine what that would mean! Nine better people forming 9 better families, who in time would give society more better people. Without being a mathematician it is easy to tell that the power of a mother is a geometric progression. The Pastor had a point, certainly.

There can be no fitting or complete description of what a mother can do. A rather amateur attempt follows: She just loves her children and finds a 100 ways to express that love - feeding, cleaning, nursing, caring, understanding, responding positively, encouraging, educating, accepting them as they are, but trying constantly
to shape them into better persons, protecting them from harm at home and outside,
comforting them when they are in trouble, disciplining them with unlimited patience so that they see reason and mend their ways, and loving and respecting their father,
to the edification of her children. The Koran, like the other Holy Books, places on the mother an additional responsibility - to be the religious instructor, in early childhood. An awesome role!

How seriously mothers take their calling was seen in a few examples we quoted in this blog. The American mother who let her broad forehead be used as a mobile billboard,the mother of Thomas Alva Edison, the mother of Jane, the dancer, who taught her daughter to dance through life, and the missionary-mother of the 12 year old girl, astound us with their capacity to love.(These stories appear on the panel alongside the blog.)

What the mother teaches her children must come from her own exemplary life. Three devout Christians were discussing their personal preferences of Bibles. The first said that he read only the Catholic RSV version, the second extolled the qualities of
the King James 1611 version. The third was silent for a time and softly said:"I like my mother's version of the Bible. She lived the Bible in her daily life". This story makes me nostalgic; it reminds me of the God-centered life of my beloved mother, whose memory I hold sacred.

So much has been written on mothers and motherhood, that a well-stocked library could boast of a huge collection of such books. I have not read of a more touching
tribute to motherhood, in published works, than the lines of Thomas Carlyle: "Who is it that loves me and will love me forever with an affection which no chance, no misery, no crime of mine can do away? It is you, my mother."

Motherhood is the fulfillment of womanhood. Why then would women consent to abortion? It is puzzling; but not so when we consider the case of Paula
Carragher, who was given the option of terminating her pregnancy because of complications - her baby had Spinabifida, a defect in the spinal chord - but decided against abortion because of her religious beliefs and strong faith. "I owe everything to that decision, she took 30 years ago", writes England Footballer Jamie
Carragher, in his autobiography.

Since motherhood is so exalted a calling, it is perplexing that some would-be mothers
decide to abort their innocent and defenseless babies. It is not a thing that she can destroy at will, but a God-given life. Perhaps, the very life that could be her shelter and succor in her feeble old age. Say 'no' to abortion!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

25) Problem-Situations (continued)

"Power shows the man." Sophocles

In the last post(24), we listed points on how to help the child succeed. Here, we shall take up the very important facet of 'leadership'. Is there a duplication? Let an example clarify the point. In the cricket-world, Sachin Tendulkar is acclaimed as the Master Batsman. His success in rewriting the record books, is common knowledge. But is he Captain material? Going by records, he is not. He is successful as a batsman, but not as a leader. We should teach out children to be truly successful leaders, because the world is populated with Pretenders and Power-Brokers who pass off as leaders. They tend to acquire power through foul means and parade such power with impunity. Self-gratification, through the exercise of power, is their aim. They confuse leadership with the accumulation of power. Sophocles warns us that the way a man uses power, shows us who he really is.

When teachers were asked to list qualities they spotted in children who had leadership skills, they put down the following:
a) They are confident; others are willing to follow their lead.
b) They felt good about themselves; and made others feel good.
c) They had questioning minds; took initiatives; were enthusiastic/good-humored.
d) They treated adults and peers with respect.
d) They were not clinging but sharing; even with their toys.

1) The first thing children should learn about leadership is to have Courage of Conviction. They should be ready to stand up for what they believe, against odds, and live up to standards they set for themselves. e.g.,If they believe that cheating in a test paper is wrong, they should not cheat, no matter how strong the temptation, or how easy it is. By standing up, they will be faithful to themselves and to the promises they make to others.
2) A good leader is a 'we' person; not an 'I' person. So, he believes in team work, is ready to take and share responsibility, is happy in the success of his team fellows, will give them a large share of credit when the team succeeds and take upon himself a large share of the blame, when the team fails.
3) He will learn to be thoughtful and considerate of others and view their mistakes with compassion, not accusation, and be calm even in difficult situations. Because of his 'others-attitude' he will respect and carefully listen to ideas others have to offer.
4) He will immerse himself fully in what he does. Take a sieve and pour water on to it; the water drains out. Throw the sieve into the ocean. Water does not drain out because it is immersed in the ocean. When the child learns to immerse himself in what he does, he not only sets an example to others, but also does not let distraction drain his energy. He stays focused. A leader cannot lose focus or enthusiasm. His enthusiasm must energize others into following him and doing common things uncommonly well.
5) Every time he confronts an obstacle, pose him this question: "What if you tried to do it differently?" That will prompt him to try something new and look at obstacles as opportunities.
6) Look for ways to encourage, praise and make him feel good. In turn, he should try to make others feel good by thanking and praising them. The habit will work wonders for his personality - he becomes charismatic; others are drawn to him.

Ultimately, it will be his strong character that will make him stand out. In Mexico, the Jail Warden of a high security prison was respected even by the prisoners for his upright conduct and sense of fairness. One day a prisoner escaped from prison.
The warden tried to apprehend the escaped prisoner, but failed. Promptly he accepted full responsibility for the lapse in the prison-security and agreed to become an inmate of his own prison, to serve the unfinished sentence of the escaped prisoner.

CAUTION: Children will learn from parents. So, before teaching children how to be leaders, parents better learn how they can be successful leaders. We cannot give what we don't have. The sad plight of children growing up with parents who lack leadership skills is a harsh commentary on the poor example such parents set.

Monday, May 18, 2009

24) Problem-Situations (continued)

The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work.

1) It is important that children set for themselves big goals and carefully planned small steps to achieve those goals. A child who is ranked among the bottom ten in his class, can get to be among the top ten, in well planned stages. High expectations should spur the child forward, but in steps he can take.
2) Use Role Models to inspire the child. Very often children mold themselves after someone they idolize.
3) Explore individual strengths. If one has a way with words, another has a head for figures. Build on their strengths.
4) Get fully involved in what the child does - in school and outside; acknowledge the fact that grades are not everything.Children who do not score high, despite their best attempts, can shine in areas that interest them.It is for parents to relate to their needs and encourage them.
5) Learning is not always fun. Let him not give up because it is tough.
Give him tasks and ensure that he completes them well, sometimes likening them to puzzles which he is accustomed to solving. Tasks should include chores at home, like polishing his shoes and tidying his room.
6) Help him to concentrate on the task; not to let distraction take away attention.
But be mindful that a child has a short attention-span.
7) When he needs help to complete an assignment, offer it, not by completing it for him, but by making him complete it, with a little assistance; clarifying doubts when he is confused and equipping him with problem solving skills. At the end of the assignment he must feel satisfied that he has completed a difficult task.
8) Teach, don't blame or insult the child with remarks like: 'you are dumb', 'how stupid of you' and so on.
9) If he has to deliver a short talk, help him prepare, redraft and rehearse many times. Don't draft the talk for him; he must do it; only then it will be his.
10) When he is nervous, teach him to relax, using breathing exercises and right postures.
11) Remind him of past successes. He should be buoyed by recalling those events and the joy that went with them. Success comes to those who find 'fun' in doing things.
Let him enjoy what he is doing, as he tries to succeed.
12) Help him understand the merit in contributing to team-effort. He will have to pass the ball to his team fellow who is better placed to score. If he does not let go, the scoring opportunity will be lost. His team will lose; he will lose. Good team work will give him a leg up in school and later, in work life. John Anderson, the Child Care Expert, stresses on the importance of children learning to be good team mates.
13) Give measured praise; based on the effort and result. For average, good, very good and excellent effort and result, praise should be graded. Much praise for an average effort and result confuses the child and expose parental hypocrisy. World class athletes (95%) said that parental praise and support helped them in the early stages of their sports life.
14) Experts give three reasons why children do not fulfill their potential:
a)Absenteeism - staying away from school for flimsy excuses.
b)They lack varied reading material at home and do not take to the reading habit.
c)They are allowed excessive TV watching.
15) The Experts do not caution against playtime. So, give him time to play and relax, the way he likes. His childhood will not return.

My boss gave me a simple tip 45 years ago: 'Hard work, planned hard work, consistently planned hard work makes for success'. It was true then; it is true today. Continents away, in the USA, award winning teacher, Rafe Esquith, in his book
'Teach like your hair is on fire', echoes the same thought. He calls his students
'unpolished diamonds', who will feel the friction of hard work before they glitter.
Someone rightly said: 'There are no victories at bargain prices'.

As the child gains in stature through repeated successes, teach him to handle success with humility, not arrogance. Kirk Douglas, father of Oscar Award winning Actor, Michael Douglas, sent him a note which read: 'Michael, I'm more proud of how you handle success, than I am of your success'. Would to God that parents can say that of their children, as they move from one success to the next.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

23) Problem-Situations (continued)

A small boy defined a friend as: "Someone who knows all about you, and likes you just the same".

Children need friends as badly as they need good food and clean air. Without friends their learning is impeded, their personalities do not glow, and their happiness is not multiplied; their growth is stunted. Therefore parents have a responsibility to help children make friends and cultivate friendships, in particular, in the early years of childhood. There is a danger that some ill-bred children get close to them, when they try to make friends. With a watchful eye, parents can guard their children from such negative influences and help convert such encounters into opportunities - for being a good influence on those unfortunate little ones.

Some children make friends easily. They need little or no help. Parents of such children can help screen the wide circle of friends they attract. Some other children have to be coaxed into contact with peers. It is these children who need help, in the following ways:
1) Parents can introduce their children to children of their friends, and those in the neighborhood. They could arrange for a few get-together evenings, when their children can mix freely with others.
2) Children can be persuaded to remember the birthdays of their new friends and send them cards and small gifts on their birthdays.
3) Parents can help children develop interests which attract other children. Football, cricket and other popular team games bring children together. Soon they have buddies with the same interest.
4) When coaxing children to make friends, parents should respect individuality - some are gregarious, others loners. The loners prefer playing alone and talking to themselves. Such children should not be pushed into group games, but allowed to watch, and join the group only when they are ready.
5) Children should be taught that the best way to make friends is to be interested in others. Greetings others, without waiting to be greeted; smiling warmly and calling others by the names they liked to be called; being considerate and helpful; giving praise and never forgetting good manners - are a few lasting lessons parents can teach their children, as long as they are examples for the lessons they teach.

There are some parents who claim that they and their children are friends. Being friendly and friends are not the same. When parents become friends of their children, they lose an essential 'distance' they need to maintain for proper counseling and timely discipline. In time they find that the respect they should get from their children is eroded. The healthy parent-child relationship is endangered.

Two TV technicians were friends and decided to work as a pair. On one job they had to fix a broken TV antenna. Since they did not carry a ladder, one of them let the other stand on his shoulders, to weld the broken piece. The job completed, the fellow on the top descended to find his friend collapsing - from terrible burns all over his body. Molten lead from the welding kept falling on him, but he did not budge or let out a cry from his lips. If he had jerked or moved abruptly, his friend would have fallen to his death from that high-rise apartment, where they worked.
Socrates made an important point on friendship when he wrote: "There is no possession more valuable than a good and faithful friend".

Monday, May 11, 2009

22) Problem-Situations (continued)

"More than anything else, teach him to WALK TALL." Khalil Gibran

One of the better gifts parents can give their children is Self-Worth, which is confidence in their God-given talents and abilities, and the desire to actualize their potential; to WALK TALL. This is a tough task. How do parents go about it?

1) Let the child be an overseen risk-taker. As long as he does not expose himself to serious danger, let him explore; e.g. go to the attic alone, if he wants to.
2) Discourage self-pity ('I am not good at painting'). Instead, remind him of the success he has in other areas.
3) Let him develop his own interest. If Music beckons him, let him go to it, as long as he does not neglect other areas essential to his growth.
4) The child will need training of skills and constructive feedback. Parents can be regular coaches to children who show promise. Honor small requests; discuss the big ones. Even when a request is turned down, he must know that he is loved.
5) Help him realize his potential. The pursuit of excellence entails goal-oriented
labor and perseverance. Such goal-setting should be adjusted to the capacity of the child. One who is less gifted cannot go after the goals set for the more gifted. In the pursuit of such goals, the child should learn to win and lose gracefully; not gloat when he wins and sulk when he loses. To help him, we could assign him tasks and evaluate his performance.
6) He must know that whining is not acceptable. Rather, encourage him to honestly express his feelings: 'I don't like the way George snatches my toys'. Then discuss those feelings.
7) Let him learn to look at the goodness in people, and not at their weakness; being less judgmental. The difference between judging and being judgmental should be explained to him. We all judge - form opinions about people, places and things; but we all could refrain from being judgmental, which is being excessively critical of others. Rough edges in his personality can be gently filed away.
8) Parents could encourage in him a sense of fairness in treating those around him, in particular, the less privileged.
9) Let him have the courage to apologize when he is wrong, and be gracious to forgive others when they are wrong.
10) Develop in him the habit of praising and thanking others, even for small acts of kindness, starting with those at home.
11) He must know that others in life are important. Selfishness in any form, destroys character and performance. One way of helping him, is to get him to share food, toys and anything that he calls 'mine'.
12) Never allow tantrums. Parents should put an immediate stop to them, if necessary, with some form of disciplining.
13) Focus on behavior: 'your lazy behavior must change' and not 'you are a lazy boy'. Reinforce good behavior; when he puts away his toys, compliment him.
14) Monitor his TV time and the programs he watches. Let TV watching not become an addiction. Also, check his reading habits, the internet he logs onto and the company he keeps.
15) Treat him like a person. Listen to him when he talks and reply him like we would a grown-up.
16) Create an enjoyable family culture. Disputes in the family and between the spouses do incalculable harm to the child. Opposing rules made by the spouses confuse the child. He will develop a polarity in favor of the more lenient parent.
17) Even if he is slow in building self-worth, hug him and reassure him often. He needs love, demonstrated.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

21) Problem-Situations (continued)

"Let him(my son)learn early that bullies are the easiest to lick." Abraham Lincoln

Bullies are a real threat to children. They have nightmares because of them, bed-wet and throw a fit even at the mention of their names. For children, the problem is very real and traumatic, and not to be dismissed as 'timid behavior'.

Most often, bullies come from homes where they lack parental attention and discipline.Since they cannot 'draw' attention through refined and accomplished conduct, they 'call' attention to themselves through loud and unruly behavior. They get a few laughs and think it is fun.

Targets of such bullies see themselves as worthless, unattractive and unsuccessful victims. They are physically weak and fear the bigger size and greater strength of the bullies. Paradoxically, they secretly admire what the bullies can do, which they cannot. The problem that parents have to confront is not the bully, but the self-concept of their child. As long as the child sees himself as a 'victim', the bully-problem will not be solved.

How do parents solve this problem?
1) Not intentionally, but by acting without much thought, parents damage the self-respect of their children. From infancy they are put down as those who know little, who cannot do much and are regarded as part of the herd. As a result their self-image stays low. They see themselves as 'low value items' in the family. This is very true of girl children in some communities. For their own sakes, parents should remember that respect is a two-way street. If children are not respected, it will soon be their turn to lose respect. In fairness to children, parents should consider it top priority to build their self-worth (post 22 will address this point).
2) In a twisted perception of love, some parents over-protect their children, making them overly dependent on them. They feed Dependence and starve Self-Reliance. If children are not weaned from parents, in stages, they become parasites.
3) Because of over-protection, children are slow to make friends. Bullies exploit this weakness when they spot their 'alone-ness'. Children should break barriers and learn to make friends easily (post 23 will address this point).
4) Children should feel loved and bask in the warmth of the family. When they enjoy love at home, no problem outside the home is of consequence. Parents can build self-confidence in the children by giving them time in plenty, develop their interests, satisfy their curiosity for knowledge and give them praise.
5) Physical exercise and strength-building diet will make children physically fit, giving them stamina and zest. Bullies tend to keep off physically strong peers.
6) Children should be 'conditioned' never to fear the bully. Bed time stories and real life incidents on how people put bullies in their place, should be constant reminders to them that bullies are easiest to lick, because they flee when confronted.
7) Deborah Cowly, an expert on child behavior, recommends the following four
a) Discuss the problem of bullying at Parent-Teacher-Association meets, reminding teachers and administrators that their own children could be 'victims'.
b) Teachers should take serious note of any attempt by bullies, in her class or outside, to intimidate her students.
c) Adult supervision should be organized for field activities, where bullying is common.
d) The school should name a Contact who can be reached at any time to report a bullying incident. Suitable action should follow.
8) Back children in their attempts to win minor victories over bullies. As they gain confidence, they will fear them less.
9) Essentially, it is the attitude of the child that matters. If he is unafraid to stand up, the bully will know that he has met his match.

A mother at 18, was obsessed with her new born son. She would not let him out of her sight, carry him around and not put him down; smother him with flannels even on a warm day; screen his food and use a thermometer three times a day to check if he ran a fever. She went with him to school and stayed in the school premises to bring him back. He always ran to her when he had a problem. By encouraging such behavior, she was fulfilling her need, to be wanted; not his. In short, she was 'killing' him with her kindness. He is an old man today and weeps. He was bullied at school, in the place he worked, by his wife who left him soon after they married, and even by his neighbors. His mother is dead, but he is among the living-dead.

Monday, May 4, 2009

20) Problem-Situations (continued)

"So, if you ever feel angry or upset with someone, remember, it is your rules that are upsetting you; not their behaviour." Antony Robbins

Some parents wield authority by shouting, threatening and whacking their children. Some others use tact, persuasion and encouragement. The problem is that parents get stuck in these 'formats", when they should be stuck in loving their children - which
means doing what the situation demands, for the good of the children. Because one 'format' uses harsh methods and the other uses gentle methods, does not make the first wrong and the second right. Like Situational Managers, in the Professional context, who adapt to situations and direct, coach, support and delegate team mates, mature parents should become Situational Parents. There are times when a stern warning or a sharp whack become necessary, especially when children are wilful and rebellious. At such times, to try 'persuasion' is not prudent. There are other times when a hug and whispered persuasion are appropriate. At such times to shout a threat is 'unparentlike'. The sooner parents adopt the flexi-situational style, the better for them and their children.
Authority comes from above, as Jesus Christ pointed out to Pilate, the Roman Governor, when he stood before the Roman. Parents receive their authority from God,
and must use it with humility and prudence. "He is my son; I can do what I want with him", is a false statement. "Your children are not your children; they are sons and daughters of life's longing for itself", is how Khalil Gibran puts it. Life is God's gift(post 3), and if children are 'life's longing for itself', they are God's way of
continuing the chain of life.
So 'discretion' is the channel, authority should choose. "Sunny, it is 6 O'clock and time for your home work", is how mummy calls her 9 year old to the study table. He pleads: "Mummy, please give me 5 minutes to finish the game I am playing. I am almost done". Now, mummy has two options to demonstrate her control over the situation. "No excuses. Get to your study table now", is one way. "Okay, my son, 5
minutes is fine. Enjoy your game and get to work in 5 minutes. I know you will keep your promise", is another option.
Which should mummy choose? The mother who believes in enforcing her authority will choose option one. The discreet mother, who believes that small concessions do not break rules, but only show that exceptions are permissible, will choose option two.
The same mother will make no compromise when the child lies or cheats, because that is when no compromises should be made. Not because she wants to demonstrate her authority, but because she loves her child and will not let stain besmirch his character.
Statements like: "Do it because I told you to do it", "No questions; just do it",
"A rule is a rule; no discussion", "Watch it; the next time you do it I will be very angry", and similar statements better be avoided, because they point to an autocratic mindset and not a loving attitude.
The important thing for parents to do, is to examine the rules they have framed(or,are they acting on whims?), and check on their flexibility, as long as the code is not violated. Shouldn't Rule Books be enough? Why should Judges preside in Court? Because circumstances have to be evaluated and Rules seen in perspective.
Mature parents see it that way. The ones who put off maturing, take impulsive decisions, fuelled by anger, because their rules are broken. Authority is a double-edged sword. It can wound the adversary; it can also hurt the one who wields it. How to wield authority is a studied art; like swordsmanship.