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is so organized that smiles and tender looks awaken comfortable feelings and he smiles in return. The smile is
perhaps the first great message one human being sends to another; it says, "See, I am friendly, I wish you
well." Later on in the history of the child, he will learn much about smiles of other kinds, but at this stage they
are all pleasant. Though his parents are usually friendly and give, now and then they deprive, and they look
different; they say, "No, no!" This "no, no" is social inhibition, it is backed up by the power of deprivation,
punishment, disapproval; it has its power in a something in our nature that gives society its power over us.
From now there steps in a factor in the development of character of which we have already spoken, a group of
desires that have their source in the emotional response of the child to the parent, in the emotional response of
an individual to his group. Out of the social pressure arises the desire to please, to win approval, to get
justification, and these struggle in the mind of the child with other desires.
We said the child seeks experience,--but not only on his own initiative. The father stands against the wall,
perhaps with one foot crossing the other. Soon he feels a pressure and looks down; there is the little one
standing in his imitation of the same position. Imitation, in my belief, is secondary to a desire for experience.
The child does not imitate everything; he is equipped to notice only simple things, and these he imitates.
Why? The desire to experience what others are experiencing is a basic desire; it expresses both a feeling of CHAPTER XI. 92 fellowship and a competitive feeling. We do not feel a strong tendency to imitate those we dislike or despise,
or do not respect, we tend to imitate those we love and respect, those for whom we have a fellow feeling. Part
of the fellow feeling is an impulse to imitate and to receive in a positive way the suggestion offered by their
conduct and manners.
Analogous to imitation, and part...
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- Spring '11