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PARENTING: “What His Majesty is denied, he goes half-mad to obtain. What he gets freely, he despises.”

Movie quote from: Anne of the Thousand Days (1969) – Thomas Boleyn (Michael Hordern)

AnneIf you want to see what happens when you give a child anything he/she wants, watch King Henry VIII’s behavior in the film, Anne of the Thousand Days.  His character, as played by Richard Burton, is an arrogant boor whose lust for Anne Boleyn is fueled by her disinterest in him.  Not capable of adapting himself, Henry sets about changing the world to get what he wants.  We don’t do a child or a king any favors when we cater to their every need.  Henry VIII would not survive in a world with as much change and diversity as ours.  Neither will a spoiled child.

Two inevitable trends are on a collision course in our culture.  The first, the modern parent’s preference to treat their children like royalty, inevitably produces young people incapable of dealing maturely with things that don’t go as they wish.  The second, a global economy that is increasingly diverse and constantly changing, asks individuals to endlessly adapt themselves to yet-another new circumstance.  How can you succeed in a multi-cultural, ever-evolving world when you’re convinced it revolves around you?

In the movie, Anne Boleyn’s father tells her sister, “What His Majesty is denied, he goes half-mad to obtain.  What he gets freely, he despises.”  The second half of that quote should give chills to modern-day pampering parents.  The real consequence of spoiling children is they do not respect what they get or who they get it from.  How can you appreciate anything if you don’t know what it is like to be without it?  


I guess the good news is that ruthless people can be quite productive, driven by an unending need to please themselves.  But the pleasure is fleeting and offers no sustainable sense of meaning.  This is not what parents are hoping to achieve.  Better to frequently say ‘No!’ when the kids are young than to have them lose their heads later when things don’t go their way.


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