There are children who, practically from the moment they were born, were made to support a certain sports team. This is likely to be a team that one of their family members also supports.
Perhaps this family member ended up supporting this team because one of their family members behaved in the same way when they were younger. Still, once a child like this gets the point in their development where they have the ability to think for themselves, it is unlikely that they will end up supporting another team.
At this point in their life, the team that they support is likely to be seen as part of who they are. Like an arm or a leg for instance, it will be an essential part of them; taking away any thought, let alone need, to do anything about it.
It might be hard for this person to imagine that there was a time in their life when they had no loyalty to any one team. This would have been a time in their life when the team that they now support was just another team.
At this stage of their life, they might be fully committed to this team, with them watching every game that they can. Then again, they might not have this level of commitment, but still feel connected to this team.
It will then be a big focus of their life or it will be something that has been put to one side. Either way, it is not going to be something that has been completely cast aside, no longer having any meaning to them.
There is, of course, always the chance that someone like this could lose interest in the team that they have supported since they were a small child. Now that they are an adult, they could come to the conclusion that there are far more important things in life.
Or, they could end up finding another team to support. This could be a team that they feel more connected to; perhaps it is a team that is closer to where they live, for instance.
A Small Part of Life
However, regardless of whether someone is fanatical about their team or not, it is unlikely to be something that will have an effect on how they see the world. It might define how they see supporters from other teams, but what it probably won’t do is define how they see people in general.
For example, if they were to go to a game, they could end up seeing the other supporters through a certain lens. Once this is over, they will most likely go back to how they usually see people, with this being filtered through their normal lens.
A Different Scenario
Another thing that can take place, practically from the moment someone comes into the world, is that their family members can pass on their religious beliefs to them. It could be said that when this takes place, there is going to be no thought as to what the child actually needs.
This is going to be a time when the child has a strong need to belong and to be accepted, setting them up to accept what they are told. At this stage of their life, then, they are unlikely to rebel, and they are not going to have the ability to think for themselves either.
So, even though the child will have come through them not from them, in the words of Khalil Gibran, they will be seen as an extension of them. Due to the child not being seen as a separate being, it will be perfectly acceptable for them to impose their views onto the child.
It is likely that they will believe that they are telling the child the truth, not simply passing on what they believe. There is also the chance that the same thing happened to them when they were children.
The Sensible Approach
If the child’s family actually respected them and realised that they are a separate being, they would most likely have a different approach. This doesn’t mean that they can’t teach the child any morals or guidance, but this is radically different to filling their child’s mind with ideas at an age when their mind is like a sponge.
Once the child has developed the ability to think for themselves and no longer has such a strong need for approval, they will be ready to be exposed to this kind of information. Until that time comes, this can be seen as another form of child abuse.
As the years go by, and the child gradually becomes an adult, what they were told as a child will have become internalised. Therefore, no matter what religion they were brought up on, it will be an important part of who they are.
So important, that they might not even realise that it was something that they were forced to believe in as a child. In their eyes, it could be seen as the truth as opposed to something that was simply passed onto them at a stage in their life when they were extremely vulnerable.
A Big Part of Life
Alternatively, it might not have absorbed them to this degree, but it could still influence how they perceive the world in general. In particular, it could have a big impact on how they perceive people who are from other religions and those who are not religious.
When this happens one is not seeing the world, or the people in it, with fresh eyes; they are seeing the world through the eyes of their ancestors. One is then going to have their own body, but they most certainly won’t have their own mind.
A Big Difference
If someone was to change their sports team as an adult, they might experience a fair amount of negative emotions. They may feel slightly anxious and even guilty, and feel as though they are being disloyal.
On the other hand, if someone wanted to change their religion or to turn their back on religion altogether as an adult, it is likely to be far worse. Not only could they experience what the person above experiences, but they could also fear that they will be ostracised or even killed.
Ergo, while it would most likely be inaccurate to say that all religions would disappear if children were no longer indoctrinated from a young age, it would almost certainly have a considerable impact. As an adult, someone can decide for themselves what is right for them, and they might be more interested in knowing than in believing.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.