Do we do an injustice to children when we fail to recognize the greatness within them? To explore this topic, Oprah continues the Soul Series with insights from psychologist Dr. James Hillman, author of The Soul's Code.
In his book, Dr. Hillman presents the idea of the "soul's code," suggesting that individuals "come into the world with some individual difference." In other words, we are not entirely a product of our upbringing, he says. Rather, Dr. Hillman says to "consider your life as coming with a purpose, coming with a calling; that your soul chose your kind of life, chose your parents, chose the place of being born, chose the kind of body you have and the circumstances, rich or poor, educated or uneducated."
Dr. Hillman rules out nurture as the primary shaper of who we are. Just as an acorn becomes an oak tree, he says our soul's code provides us with a personal set of unique characteristics and a calling. This theory is considered controversial and contradictory to the practices of modern-day psychotherapy, which he says attempts to "fix" who we are, therefore interfering with who we were meant to be. "Fixing belongs to coaching," Dr. Hillman says. "And I'm all for it, but when you're dealing with soul, it's sitting with things slowly and watching them."
According to Dr. Hillman, each of us is born with a calling, yet when some children exhibit signs of their calling, it can sometimes be mistaken as a disorder or behavioral problem. Dr. Hillman champions greater respect for children and their uniqueness, and challenges the use of medications to manage their behavior. He says attempting to "fix" a child's outward signs of their calling may actually quash that calling.
Published on March 22, 2007