Imagine that you are chosen to live with a family of aliens. When you arrive at their home, nothing looks familiar. And, you can’t understand anything that they say to you. You don’t even have a frame of reference to help you make sense of their language. You are nervous about this, as you try to take in all the strangeness of your new home
Soon, you begin to relax, though. Your new family is kind and patient. They seem to understand how hard it is for you to understand. They carefully show you where you can sleep and where you can go to the bathroom. They let you know when you do things right, and they seem to know how to keep you from getting into trouble.
Every part of your early days with your new family is structured. The ailens make sure that your needs are met, not just your physical needs, but your mental and emotional needs as well. They recognize that you have a need to be mentally stimulated and learning; and that you enjoy having a job to do, and they make sure that those needs are met. They give you things to play with that they somehow know that you’ll enjoy. They give you lots of attention, especially when they notice that you are learning something that they are trying to teach you. You like their attention. When they can’t be with you, they leave you in your sleeping area with some toys or puzzles to enjoy playing with. You want to know more about where you live, and are eager to explore it. However, because of the way you’re being treated, you trust your family, and respect their rules.
Gradually, as you get more comfortable with things, the aliens expand your boundaries. They patiently teach you each rule that you need to follow so that you can fit into their society. Whenever you get it right, they show you how pleased they are. You like pleasing them. If you start to screw up , they stop you, and show you what they want, again. They keep showing you things until you get it right, without ever letting you screw up completely. As you learn more and more, they give you more and more freedom.
Not long after you start picking up on the routines, your family starts taking you on outings. They take you places that are fun for you, as well as for them. They are careful to teach you the rules in these new places, before letting you explore them on your own. Often, you see other humans when you go on these outings. You enjoy this, and want to make friends with the other humans. The aliens are careful about not letting you just go to any human, though. You realize that they are just trying to keep you safe, so you watch for their signals that let you know that it’s okay to interact.
Your family also encourages you to interact with other aliens like them. They are careful to show you the proper way to greet aliens, which is really different from the way you greet other human beings. You like doing it right, because you find that you really enjoy getting attention from aliens. In fact, you like it so much that you don’t mind at all if you don’t get to see other humans all of the time.
You spend many happy years living with your family. Their rules don’t change. You are comfortable, because things are consistent. You like to just hang out where one of them is. Or, sometimes, you just like to hang out by yourself. They trusts you, because they know that you know the rules, and that you want to follow them, so you have some freedom to go where you want. When you need attention they are there for you. And, when you notice that one of them is down, or is not feeling well, you stay extra close to comfort them.
You never master speaking their language. However, you understand a lot of what they say to you, because they have been so patient in teaching you. You don’t mind. You have learned how to communicate your needs and desires to them, and that is all that you need.
You are never bored, either. Your family always makes sure that you have things to entertain you, without ever overloading you with too many choices. They give you enough variety from day to day that you always know that something exciting may be coming up.
Eventually, you start to slow down. Your ability to do the things that you enjoy decreases. However your family continues to be there to make sure that your needs are met You spend the rest of your days in comfort, security, and love; never having felt that there was anything missing from your life.
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