Muriel James and Dorothy Jongeward

James and Dorothy Jongeward

Co-authors of Born to Win: Transactional Analysis with Gestalt Experiments

Author Quotes

Children are born capable of all feelings, ranging from affection
to rage. In the beginning they respond genuinely with how they feel
-- screaming, cooing, cuddling. In due time, however, children adapt
their feelings according to their experiences. For example, children
are naturally cuddly, yet can learn to become rigid and to withdraw
in fear when someone approaches the crib. Children naturally seek
pleasure over pain, yet can adapt to seek pain, even death. Children
are naturally self-centered, yet can learn to feel guilty about wanting
anything for themselves.

Children are not born with their feelings already programmed
toward objects and people. Each child learns toward whom and what
to show affection. Each learns toward whom and about what to feel
guilty. Each learns whom and what to fear. Each learns whom and
what to hate.

Parents establish an emotional climate which, like atmospheric
climate, is warm or cold, mild or harsh, conducive or destructive to
growth. Parents give their children firm but tender, loving care
through positive strokes, thus encouraging constructive scripts. Or,
they discount them, thus encouraging destructive or nonproductive
scripts. The best thing parents can do for their children is to evaluate
their own script and then decide whether it is worth passing on to
another generation.

Infants will not grow normally without the touch of others.

Every person has the need to be touched and to be recognized by
other people, and every person has the need to do something with
the time between birth and death. These are biological and psycho-
logical needs that Berne calls "hungers."

People suffer under the illusion of autonomy if they think they
have changed their script, but in reality have changed only the set-
ting, characters, costumes, etc., not the essence of the drama. For
example, a person who is Parent programmed to be an evangelist may
join the drug scene and then with religious zeal evangelize others into
following. Choosing the setting for evangelizing may give the person
the illusion of freedom when actually the enslavement to parental
instructions has only been disguised.

People often feel unable to get out of a distasteful or unhappy situa-
tion. They assume they are trapped in a job, in a community, in a
marriage, family, or a way of life. They do not see the alternatives
of looking for a new job or improving the one they have, of moving
out of the community, of changing their marriage patterns, of break-
ing off a relationship, or of loving and disciplining their children
more effectively. They limit their perception of the problem, not
seeing possible options or an obvious solution. They use one narrow
approach and repeat this approach over and over even though it
obviously does not resolve or change the situation.

The words "winner" and "loser" have many meanings. When we
refer to a person as a winner, we do not mean one who makes
someone else lose. To us, a winner is one who responds authentically
by being credible, trustworthy, responsive, and genuine, both as an
individual and as a member of a society. A loser is one who fails to
respond authentically. Martin Buber makes this distinction as he re-
tells the old story of the rabbi who, on his deathbed, is asked if he is
ready for the world to come. The rabbi says yes. After all, he will not
be asked, "Why were you not Moses?" He will only be asked, "Why
were you not yourself?"

Each human being is born as something new, something that never
existed before. Each is born with the capacity to win at life. Each
person has a unique way of seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and
thinking. Each has his or her own unique potentials -- capabilities and
limitations. Each can be a significant, thinking, aware, and creative
being -- a productive person, a winner.

It takes courage to experience the freedom that comes with autonomy, courage to accept intimacy and directly encounter other persons, courage to take a stand in an unpopular cause, courage to choose authenticity over approval and to choose it again and again, courage to accept the responsibility for your own choices, and, indeed, courage to be the unique person you really are.

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James and Dorothy Jongeward
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Co-authors of Born to Win: Transactional Analysis with Gestalt Experiments