We were chatting and he says to me: "Nana, do you ever NOT like yourself?" ......."Well", I said, "Sometimes I do something or somebody does something to me and I don't feel good about it, but usually I try to like myself." I didn't want to say too much, because I didn't want to discourage his exploration, I continued with "How about you"?

He started to tell me how they were doing something in school, and he didn't want to do it first, but then he did it, but he didn't like himself. That's a lot to start from, without knowing much of the content. I tried slowly to get a bit more out of him, what it was that he didn't like himself about. It was some organized game from what I could gather, but that was all he was able to say. I marked it in my mind to look for an opportunity to clarify it more.

The next day he and I were playing at the little creek in my backyard. It was a lovely sunny day, we were in a shade of a nice tree. I was blowing soap bubbles and he was trying to break them with a baby baseball club before they reached the water. I brought the topic of not liking himself by asking him what was the game they were playing when he didn't like himself. Instead of going into that, he said to me: "What we are doing now, I really, really like myself".


This story is about my grandson at the age  6 and finishing his first year of formal schooling.

My philosophical mind got into gear. He is perceiving himself undifferentiated from his activities and reactions/involvements with others. It crossed for me with Gene's description of En#2 in A Process Model. He is starting from looking from inside out. This feels good and this doesn't feel good. He calls it "I like myself or I don't like myself", but there is so much more that has not been named yet and is known to him implicitly. That way of looking is natural for a child. As adults and observers from the “outside” we see this as-> this game + this child + such school/home situations = an event. He is experiencing his body and the situation as one event.

My understanding of Gene’s point in the PM is - the starting point is wholeness of undifferentiated event at first, but by explicating what comes, we discover an incredible richness inside ourselves. As a child grows up, this natural perception is slowly replaced by the understanding according to "unit model" only. He needs that to fit and function in society. But a child can be helped to stay connected to this inner environment. He can learn how to illuminate his understanding of himself as being different from the environment that effects his life.