NO Bob, it’s top to bottom! You can’t twist phrases just like that! you cry out, exasperated with me.
But think again, when you talk about those on top; corrupt politicians, crooked businessmen, dishonest government servants being untrustworthy, ask yourself, “Where did it all start?” It started at the bottom.
And where exactly is that?
A year ago, I had my daughter’s twins, just two years old staying at my place.
They left exactly a year back to New York and because of travel restrictions I haven’t seen them since. Maybe that’s why I’m writing about them as I miss them dearly.
They were an integral part of my life all that time, and could get away with anything, even walking into my room, while I was writing, and watching gleefully as my attention moved away from page and paragraph, words and sentences to their little demands.
As babies we allow children anything they want, well most anything, because as soon as their mother saw one twin bullying the other, snatching his toy, or hitting him, she moved in, separated the two and punished the one who had misbehaved.
Sometimes, it was sad watching one or the other being disciplined, but I realized it had to be done for them to grow up, learning how to share and also about being fair.
Very many parents don’t do that. We think bullying is cute and macho. That a child peeping over another player’s shoulder in a card or board game is sweet.
We think when a child tells a small lie it is endearing, we think coming first in a race or in an exam by cheating is a competitive spirit, and we allow these habits to grow.
They grow, and as the child grows older, the habits grow bigger. The cheating, lying and bullying become monstrous in nature, and finally you have a demon, created, entirely from the bottom of those growing up years.
Yes, through small beginnings! Even as you teach your children to be competitive, teach them fair play. Even as you teach them to strive for excellence and perfection, teach them compassion!
I remember one of the twins weeping after he had been severely reprimanded by his mother for trying to put his little fingers into an electrical plug point. He bawled at the top of his voice, but the mother looked impassively at him.
I knew she was hurting inside but she knew by disciplining him, she was saving him from grave harm.
The same way, when you teach your children, teenagers and even grown children to follow the path of integrity and honesty, of love and compassion, you are creating a wholesome bottom which will blossom into a glorious top! “It’s from bottom to top!” I whisper.