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pursuing the upward call with fear and trembling

just a 44 year old man seeking to share my meanderings with the world at large or the blogosphere at small

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The crystallization of a distortion

AS happens in all storytelling, sometimes it is necessary to hop skip and jump around to bring a point to its culmination. Thus we shall do so here. We left off previously at the death of the boys father in 1969. We will travel back a few years to 1966. We had moved from an urban city to a suburb in jersey and it was a perfect place for a kid to grow up. Behind one row of houses was a huge sandlot and woods which were readymade for all kinds of sports and adventures. Ropeswing, football,baseball,track and field,boxing and digging a hole to try and reach china lol. Many life lessons occurred in those woods, no wonder so many stories are told of childhood endeavors happening there.

The boy was encouraged to read at a very early age and discovered he had a predilection for english and spelling. Somehow he seemed able to know when words contained silent letters, however this talent was counterbalanced by a huge deficit in math, although flash cards were not a problem!!! He was treated with extra care by his paternal grandmother who happened to live with the family and served as a virtual babysitter. Her intentions were no doubt meant well but the outcome of her treatment would be a fostering of this distortion hinted at in the title. School was very much a approach-avoid scenario for the boy. His insecurities flared when his shyness was played upon by more outgoing classmates. He had a naturally carefree and gentle disposition but one that also was a lil overly sensitive and one that found coping difficult when under stress. He turned bright red almost faster than a traffic light and found it hard to stand up for himself, either verbally or physically. Kindergarten certainly was a daily challenge but he had no way of knowing that his teachers suggested to his parents and the school psychologist that maybe the boy should be held back and redo kindergarten again, due to emotional and social immaturity for his age.

Thankfully, he was not held back and went on into first grade,again so many challenges. This was still a time when dunce caps were used in classrooms and he sat in front of the class wearing the dunce cap upon more than one occasion. A huge plus came quite unexpectedly however, upon completion of first grade, the boy was declared *most improved student*!!!!! Now that was a solid achievement!!!! He was able to enjoy that victory for the summer. Upon entering second grade, the boy learned he needed a lil extra help to learn how to tell time and to tie his shoes. A few other things as well. At a certain time each day his teacher would announce to him he needed to go to his special assistance teacher, think back to what was shared about the grandma. This along with that also helped crytallize the distortion. Somehow and in someway, the boy had developed a sense that he was unable to do basic things on his own and for himself. He had a notion that he could not be confident in his own decision-making and needed to recieve validation from anyone wiser and better equipped than him before taking action. This was the foundation of a feeling of failure and lacking confidence, a learned helplessness which would mark a struggle which still has pieces of it festering within even to this day. More to follow soon.

1 Comments:

At 9:55 PM, Blogger Pam Hogeweide said...

wow........so much there, robert.

i did not learn to tie my shoes until i was in third grade.

i sucked my thumb until i was five years old.

i slept with a nightlight until i was 18. yes. 18.

it really sucks when childish traits become points of shame and scars. It downloads into us the continueos message, "I don't matter."

And that is a lie that seems to take us the entirety of our lives to live down and shut down.

Thanks for sharing your story!

(I'm in Denver!)

 

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