In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt on 05/29/15: “Childhood Revisited.” Sure, you turned out pretty good, but is there anything you wish had been different about your childhood? If you have kids, is there anything you wish were different for them?
A child is like a sponge because he or she absorbs the good and the bad around them, from kindness to meanness, open-mindedness to racism, patience to impatience, you name it. Even though we are all born with certain genes and traits, we unknowingly observe and learn how to become people from family, friends, teachers, caretakers, neighbors, etc.
In my experience, I learned how to be loyal and hardworking from my parents but I also learned that staying in an unhappy relationship is ok because that’s what they did. After a few unhappy, conflicted relationships as a young adult/college student, I learned that they are wrong, and that things can get complicated. I learned that people often don’t care or pay attention if your feelings are being hurt by other kids because “everyone gets teased.” As an adult, I have learned that people with that opinion are either narcissistic, a bully or some similar variety of maladjusted. I learned that honesty should be the best policy but sometimes can be held against you, yet you should be honest if possible so you rest with a clear conscious. I learned that you should see the best and worst-case scenarios when you dream and make plans for your future. I later learned that, if you make a plan A and a plan B, you can reach your dreams while avoiding the worst-case scenarios and still getting close to your best-case scenario… Most importantly, you should go for IT, even if it means you work your way up and out of a Podunk town to the big leagues. I learned that parents love you (ideally) and although they mean well, they are not even close to having all of the answers. You have to learn from their good example and bad example, and find positive role models to guide you if your family can’t. I also learned a little later on that you can’t choose your family, and sometimes you need to keep your distance if they are unhealthy, toxic and detrimental to your freedom and well-being.
I wish that I would have embraced my differences and that I would have realized that I was the special kid that my paternal grandparents told me that I was. I sometimes wish I would have punched just one bully from my wonderful Roman Catholic grade school because the teasing that teachers didn’t address would have stopped. I would have gladly taken the punishment. I wish I would have moved on and taken my own path sooner than I did because I held on too long to friendships that had grown apart. I am glad that I was an avid reader and writer, and that my family and paternal grandfather took us to zoos, museums, and to the Grant Park Symphony. I’m glad they taught me how, to get around Chicago. I absorbed a lot of great memories, and the rest made me the unique person I am.
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