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Childish or Childlike?

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Robot - Child-like Intelligent Baker

Robot – Child-like Intelligent Baker by ocularinvasion at Flickr

Copyright © Michael Clark, 2013.

In daily life and on the web as the administrator at Earthpages.org I’ve come to realize that adults can often be childlike (nice) or childish (not so nice).

Most of us can probably remember times when we’ve been more childish than childlike. After all, who’s perfect? Only insane people, sociopaths, cult leaders, the brainwashed and, perhaps, the narrow-minded among us seem to think they’re beyond reproach.

I’m neither a theologian nor a psychiatrist, but this chart borrows from both of these perspectives. It outlines the concepts of childish and childlike as ideal types, much in the style of the pioneering German sociologist Max Weber.

In other words, they’re devised on the basis of everything I know–or rather, on everything I think is relevant for this post. They may not be rigorously empirical but they should, at least, be though-provoking.

Childish

Childlike

Desire to control everything Trusts God, Higher Power or Life that things will work out as they should
Can’t tolerate uncertainty Understands that we can’t know everything
Arrogance: Self is seen as the main source of power and achievement Humility: Confidence comes from faith in God, Higher Power or Life
Reckless and irresponsible or, alternately, redundantly cautious Open to sensible innovation
Authoritarian and manipulative personality type Possesses and respects legitimate authority, wisdom, etc.
Wants others to be just like him- or herself Encourages individual difference, freedom
Hypocrisy – Idealistic moral expectations/ judgments about others but not for him- or herself Understands that we’re all imperfect beings living in an imperfect world
Frequent bouts of cynicism, pessimism and hopelessness or alternately, grandiose fantasy Maintains a reasoned sense of optimism in spite of life’s challenges
Mean-spirited humor Good-natured humor
Projects own faults onto others and won’t assume any responsibility for his or her mistakes, nor learn from them Able to take responsibility for mistakes and learn from them
Irrational thinking with weak discernment skills Rational thinking and strives to discern what is and isn’t from God
Thinks everyone is out to get them, which can become a self-fulfilling prophecy and full-fledged paranoia Able to love while maintaining ego- and cultural boundaries
Habitual and remorseless dishonesty with others Strives to be honest with others
Unable to consider another person’s perspective – translates into lack of empathy and compassion Able to consider another person’s perspective – empathetic and compassionate
Sweats the small stuff, can’t see the big picture Tries to keep an eye on the big picture and not sweat the small stuff
Backwards focus – Inappropriate attachment to the past instead of integrating memories with present and considering future possibilities Present focus – Able to let go of the past when appropriate and integrate memories with present while considering future possibilities
Intransigent Willing to compromise for a perceived greater good
Xenophobic Lives locally while thinking globally
Will engage in unsavory clannish behavior rather than be ostracized Has the courage to be him- or herself on important moral issues, even if this means risking rejection by others
Resorts to bullying (threats, hostility, aggression) when upset Prefers diplomacy to bullying

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Earthpages.org is about dialogue, understanding and positive change. We post articles on different topics, with a view toward making things better!

2 thoughts on “Childish or Childlike?

  1. Pingback: Regression « Earthpages.ca – Think Free

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