“Do not scold, like a kitchen-girl. No warrior scolds. Courteous words or else hard knocks are his only language.” (Tirian to Eustace in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle)
Eustace is told to behave like a warrior. But is he a warrior? Or about to become one? And, is it his purpose anyway to become a warrior, or rather something even greater which shares only some features with a warrior?
It may help to imagine oneself as something one is not (yet), but which one wants to become; perhaps not even as an end in itself, but as a waystation to a far more splendid destination. Is this strange music to our ears, which keep hearing that maximal ‘authenticity’, construed as the absence of any role-play, is the highest good in character development? Authenticity regarding one’s present state is very welcome; but if we stop there and deny that we long to be better persons than we are now, we are doing ourselves a disservice. And on that stony road to becoming that person one was always meant to be, it is not shameful, but very useful, to attach, for a while, some stabilizers to you bicycle.
Don’t forget to get rid of them, though, when you’ve mastered driving your vehicle.
Image by Rock’n’Roll Monkey / unsplash.com