"Put Away Childish Thinking"
One Hour and Forty-Five Minute Presentation of "Put Away Childish Thinking" now available on Audio and Cassette Tape.
1 – The Theory
In The Child’s Conception of the World (1965) Jean Piaget meticulously mapped out how children think. This work came from many years of observation and study of children. He discovered how we humans function as children and in so doing he made a major contribution to our understanding not only of how people function but maybe more importantly, how we dysfunction. It may be safe to say that these thinking styles that develop in childhood during the first seven years of life, comprise the basic ingredients of most, if not all, problem states. These thinking styles play essential roles in developing and maintaining limiting states in adulthood. The thinking styles of childhood do not serve one very well in adulthood. In particular he pointed out these categories:
(Jumping to Conclusions) generalization
(Narrow Mindedness) centration
(Playing the "blame game") transductive reasoning
(Making mountains out of molehills) inductive logic
(Black and White thinking) thinking in absolutes
(Blocking out past positive examples) irreversabilty
(Note: terms inside the parenthesis are my terms while the terms in italics come from Piaget.)
Certain flaws in thinking must occur for one to form a limiting belief or a non-resource state. These flaws dominate childhood perception and also take place when developing a “problem-state” in adulthood. Let’s look more closely at these perceptual flaws of childhood that we tend to carry over into our adult lives:
We use these same
cognitively limited styles when we generate problem states or limiting beliefs.
If you alter one of the perceptual pieces the whole irrational structure
crumbles. The cognitive styles identified by Piaget, build walls around
information and beliefs that prevent alternative information from being
considered. Therapy in general, and hypnotic language in particular, challenges
the narrow thoughts or beliefs and expands awareness. This expanded awareness
defeats and removes these cognitive clogs.
A particular case serves as a good example to illustrate the influence of these cognitive principles and how hypnotic language can bring about a more effective choice. This case involved Doug who tended to fly into a rage when others made comments that he perceived questioned his sense of personal worth. Doug and his fiancé, Linda, came in for counseling. Doug's temper outbursts had almost ended their relationship. Doug regularly took offense at benign comments that Linda made about his actions and his appearance. Both agreed, when looking back, that the comments could easily have been taken as either lightweight or offering alternative perspectives rather than criticism. But when Doug heard Linda's criticism, he immediately personalized them as a threat to his sense of personal worth. Upon hearing her comments, Doug would go into a rage. He would yell, cuss and berate Linda. This led to several short breakups between them. In order for their marriage to survive, they had to overcome these accumulated hurdles.
cognitive elements became evident when Doug described his reasoning about these
comments that led to rage.
First, Doug took them as a personal (personalizing). Doug believed that Linda's comments must be about him. Doug had "I" trouble as his awareness totally focused on himself. Rather than a comment about a behavior or his appearance, Doug felt the comments referred to him as a person thus addressing his sense of personal worth. He ignored the lengthy relationship history with his fiancé that included much mutual support and encouragement (Forgot their prior good times).
Doug admitted that the good times occupied at least 98% of their time together. The fits of rage required centering (narrow mindedness) his focus on the 2% of the time with “derogatory” comments. Centering on these comments led Doug to conclude, “She is always finding fault with me.” So, in Doug's eyes, Linda "caused" his rage (cause-effect thinking). The rage response also required over generalizing and black-white thinking. Due to Doug's tendency to center his focus on just the bad times with Linda, he over-generalized to "all" of their relationship as being bad. Nor, could Doug see and shades of good or bad. In his mind it was either good or bad and mostly bad. He inductively reasoned that since he perceived Linda as making specific judgments about his sense of personal worth, she must have believed that everything about him had a bad connotation in her eyes (making mountains out of mole hills)). His personalizing prevented Doug from taking Linda's point of view. Doug could not consider a different purpose for the comments at the time they were spoken.
We are responsible (Take responsibility for your thinking.) -
those days people will no longer say, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and
the children’s teeth are set on edge.’ Instead, everyone will die for his
own sin; whoever eats sour grapes—his own teeth will be set on edge.” (Jeremiah
Playing the “Blame Game” doesn’t work with God.
b. He holds us responsible for our action.
Jesus did not excuse behavior; He forgave it but only
when He saw repentance:
Matthew 4:17 “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to
say, repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”
Mark 1:15 “…The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”
The Bible compels us to put away childish thinking -
“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a
child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind
(I Corinthians 13:11)
If as some in our society believe that we cannot change our thinking,
then God would not have commanded us to do so.
Numerous Scriptures command us to change our thinking:
Proverbs 23:7 (KJV) “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…”
12:1-2 – “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view
of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing
to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the
pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you
will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and
4:8 – “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is
right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything
is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
To know Christ is to be made brand new
and that includes our thinking or we certainly wouldn’t be brand new.
36:26 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I
will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are
passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
What happens to “black and white thinking,” the
refusal to “see past positive examples,” “jumping to conclusions,”
“personalizing,” playing the “blame game,” “narrow mindedness,” and
the “making of mountains out of mole hills” when you apply your position in
Christ to that kind of childish thinking?
"Your Position in Christ"
you will “grow up” your thinking.
What a great example of how “higher levels modulate lower levels.”
In the Meta-States model as developed by L. Michael Hall, Ph.D. (1995),
we understand that when we apply one thought to another thought,
the original thought will modify. In the above example,
when we apply our “new creature” status to childish thinking,
we in fact “grow up our thinking” in and through
the Lord Jesus Christ.
thinking will not stand under the Lord’s thinking.
Burton, John, Ed.D. and
Bodenhamer, Bobby G., D.Min. Hypnotic Language: Its Structure and Use. (2000).
Wales: Crown House Publishers, Ltd.
L. Michael. (1995). Meta-states: A Domain
of Logical Levels, Self-reflexive Consciousness in Human States of
Consciousness. Grand Junction, CO.:
Jean. The Child’s Conception of the World. (1965).
Jersey: Littlefield, Adams & Company.
©2000 Bobby G. Bodenhamer, D. Min. All rights reserved.