Buttons… We Have ’em, They Push ’em

“They’re really pushing my buttons!” Ever say something like that? I know I have. What does it mean? Well, from a programming perspective, it means that a trigger occurred and a predefined script, function, or subroutine was invoked. Umm… Okay… It, in the programming world, means that there is faulty programming, but we tend to use it to imply user error.

For example…
Trigger: My daughter refuses to sit during dinner.
Response: Tell her to sit down.
Result: She sits down.

Easy enough, right?

I’ll try to not get too technical here, but there are what we call conditionals and loops in programs. A conditional is typically in the form of an if statement. (if this is true do that, otherwise do something else.) A loop depends on a conditional and then repeats until the condition is met or unmet, depending on the need. (Do this until that happens.)

Now, using the same example as before…
Trigger: My daughter refuses to sit during dinner.
Response: Tell her to sit down.
Result: She does not sit down.
Loop: Tell her to sit down, increase loudness of voice each time repeated until desired result is met; after five times add threats to remove dessert possibilities; after five more times threaten with alone time in the corner; after five more times…

I hope you can see where this is going, and I hope I didn’t get too technical for anyone. (This really is the kind of stuff you find in the first chapter of a ‘Programming for Dummies‘ book.)

But why here? Why on a God blog am I discussing programming? Because this is how I can best relay the concepts I am trying to get out. I believe we are here to do more than just be and do. We all have assignments, we all have a purpose. How we cope with what we have to do doesn’t define who we are, it simply displays to the world our inner programming.

Our inner programming has been being written since birth (some would argue conception, but stick with me). Some of the oldest code we run daily is the stuff that we don’t question or think about – it’s been around so long we just let it run, even if it runs us into a wall. When we do hit a wall, we tend to look for outside reasons why the program seems to have failed – typically, user error. (My kids pushed my buttons!)

I wrote all of that to talk about the need for reprogramming.

Another bit of programming I’d like to discuss the use of event listeners, which are the bridge between a button being pressed and a response being triggered. I have a listener programmed that watches for my daughter to get out of her seat during dinner – I can remove this listener and the action will be completely ignored, or I can tell the listener to run a different response subroutine (smaller program within a program, aka a function) when it happens.

Rewriting a program can be hard:
Just yesterday I was working with some code and I couldn’t find the correct listener to to change the code of so that I could get it to run the new function I wrote to correct an issue that was happening.

Changing responses to real life is even harder:
It is so much easier for me to blame my kids for me yelling than it is to find the defective code and fix it.

I’m being really open right now with (potentially) a lot of people I don’t know.

All of this is coming from a dream that woke me up a couple of hours ago about being angry and my responses to outside stimuli. I woke up and the phrase I had just said to my wife not long before going to bed about how the kids had really been pushing my buttons was echoing in my head.

I’m hoping that, with this revelation, I will be able to (over time, of course) be able to make the necessary programming adjustments and be a better father and husband. Honestly, it is not my purpose in life to get my daughter to sit during dinner. My purpose in life is to raise respectful children who will become adults that know how to deal with anger and unwelcome/undesired results. It is my God-given purpose to be a good steward of the gifts (in this case my kids) I’ve been given. It’s my mandate to foster growth in them and ensure their proper inner programming by giving them love and providing an environment of peace and joy.


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