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Early Lessons

Saturday, June 29, 2013

This morning I read a delightful Spark mail from BABARR67, whose youthful gym experiences were less than wonderful, and her words triggered not-so-great memories of my own. Here's my response to her:

"I feel your pain about the gym...perhaps I wasn't *always* the last person chosen for kick ball, but it happened enough that I remember the shame. Then there was that rope climbing thing in 3rd grade. I still remember the rope burns. And we had to stand on our heads then, too. The PE coach was so mean. I couldn't make my legs go straight up. To balance, my legs were tipped slightly forward, but even though I was doing a headstand (the last one I EVER did), the coach yelled at me. Isn't it amazing how those little hurts stick with us? What were we in 3rd grade? 8? 9? Sigh."

While I don't agree that every successful nose-blowing requires a "good job!" in our present-day movement to boost self esteem in children, support for making an honest effort is a good thing, because it teaches that "not perfect" is still a good start and can lead to trying harder or working smarter. The early lessons I got at home and at school were that less than perfect resulted in criticism and yelling. Thinking back on that, it's little wonder that I refused to try new things (especially physical pursuits) if I didn't think I could excel. I missed out on a lot of experiences, the most important of which, I believe, it the experience of failure in a "safe" environment. Learning to deal with failure for the first time as an adult is way harder without practice in a supportive, non-threatening way as a child.
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  • 123ELAINE456
    I was treated like a outcast because on a Speech and Weight Problem. It has stuck with me all these years. Have miss out on most opportunities in my life because of it. God Blessings to You and Everyone. Have a Wonderful Lord's Day. Take Care.
    1604 days ago
    Good blog Celia.

    I spent this afternoon playing Cootie Bug and Candyland with my 4 year old GD who only wanted to win. We finally got through to her that playing the game with family was the most important thing and crying made people not want to play. She was surprised to win and not cry!

    They should learn early. I can remember the days of softball and the winning team got a trophy not all the teams!

    1604 days ago
    Sounds like you lived my childhood!!! So many opportunities missed.
    1605 days ago
    I hear you -- so much is demanded of children! And some teachers/parents just really pushed too hard, too mean.
    1605 days ago
    How true this is. Those early experiences and perceived failures make many of us reluctant to try new things today.
    1605 days ago
  • KAB7801
    Very nice, well put comment
    1605 days ago
    My DS and I were talking recently about when she was five she has a teacher that literally rapped the children on the knuckles. It still effects her today, aged 60. Good riddance to THAT behavior in our schools.
    1605 days ago
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