Emotional scaffolding

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The other day when my dog who is all of four years now came running to me, ears pulled back,    on hearing the loud, aggressive barks of the strays on the road outside, I had a hearty laugh and thought of him as a docile member of his species. Later, in one of those ‘thoughtful’ moments did I realize that what he needed at that time was emotional scaffolding. It was not that I would match the fierceness of the dogs outside and protect him, but his faith in me that I was by his side – with him in a challenging situation.

All of us need emotional scaffolding at some time or the other – in fact, all living creatures require it, I guess. When we are very small our parents provide us that and as we grow up we learn to create a scaffolding of our own. We choose things that provide us that – it may be music, painting, dance, a game of chess or cards or tennis, a long walk all by ourselves, a book – there can be ‘n’ number of things. Along with these, at times we may need a person to be that emotional scaffolding – our parents, a good friend, a grand-parent, a sibling (which is rare!) – the list goes on here as well. The emotional scaffolding is not a sign of weakness but the beginning of the evolvement of relationships. We look at the scaffolding at a construction site and see that gradually as the structure strengthens it is removed and finally the building stands on its own. For living beings, though, the emotional scaffolding continues throughout life – the physical scaffolding can and does come off but the emotional one stays. This is because unlike a building where the construction ends at some point, living beings keep growing throughout their life and so the  emotional scaffolding has to continue. Our choice of  emotional scaffolding may be as diverse as our needs– for kids even an ice cream cone can act as one!

We all need each other – be the emotional scaffolding for one another whenever required so that our lives stand sorted and happy because as the lyrics of a childhood song go – “No man is an island…..no man stands alone…….”

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