First of all, thank you for keeping up with my blog, even though I am not constantly updating it. I realized when I first created this that I would rather have quality over quantity. Still, I could be sharing a lot more with you all so I hope I do and that it blesses you.
Now, for the reason you ended up reading this post. One of my sisters sent a picture of me, in kindergarten or first grade, to our sibling group chat. It is #ThrowbackThursday so how nice. My sister captioned the picture “Roro (my nickname), what’s wrong??”
Initially I thought, girl you were an ugly duckling that’s now a swan. One of my brothers responded “she not ‘bout that s***, she wanna throw hands”. He also said I “still ain’t change”.
Reading those comments made me think of how much I have grown up. I have also thought about how much I have not changed in some areas such as characteristics, personality, and such. I also see how my past impacted my present outlook, skills, and abilities.
I was really a mean child. I did things then that some people may find hard to believe now. To name a few, I got expelled/suspended off the bus for being violent, to say the least, when I was in 3rd or 4th grade, (bus number 808, I’ll never forget), and my siblings and I became car riders (except for taking the bus after after school tutoring) from that point on until I was in 11th grade. I think that the gas prices starting to sky rocket played more of a part in that decision than being able to trust me again.
Moving on, whenever I got write ups or detentions, it was for being insubordinate, calling teachers out of their name, or once for having inappropriate things on my school laptop. If I did not think I was being treated right or fairly by my parents, teachers, or staff, I made sure to act accordingly.
Did you notice how I did not mention other children (excluding my siblings) like students or those in summer programs or other youth events I attended? I was never a person to pick fights. I was bullied but I was not moved to defend myself for some reason as long as they did not put their hands on me, which they did not (except that incident on the bus). In other words, I was not trying to have trouble unless someone started with me first and I was not into provoking anyone either.
My lack of provoking and these children’s need for gab exemplified being “All bark and no bite”. On another note, I was more afraid to get suspended from school for being a wild relentless child, than my peers thinking I was weak. I would have had bigger fish to fry (sorry PETA).
Besides those old memories, I am truly inspired by the pruning it took to get me where I am now. It gives me hope in EVERY child with anger, issues with authority, impulsivity, etc. We cannot dictate a child’s future based on their current behaviors.
I have also worked with children literally most of my life, starting at twelve years old as a babysitter and fifteen years later as a child care provider. I spent about three years of that time working with children battling behavior and/or mental issues.
Whenever I was cursed out by any of them, I knew it was not my problem. I knew that these children really could not respect or care for me when they did not have that respect and care for themselves either, especially if it was not shown to them by the people that meant the most to them.
Even though I understood many of them, which helped with my having patience and grace, I had to be firm in showing intolerance when necessary. I hoped that they would see that they are not defined by their mishaps and that they can cope in other ways.
I also see the parts of me that have not changed. I was and still am aggressive and confrontational but I have it under control now. We have to allow children with issues like I had to grow up and practice self-control as well. These qualities of aggression and confrontation can be great in their proper place.
What about the people that grew up and did not learn to put certain characteristics in their proper place? What about those that choose to behave recklessly still, even when they know better? Well, I think that people need to change by choice, not force.
If someone is displaying actions, maladaptive behavior actions, habits, and the like that they want to change, they have to set their mind to it (and yes I am fully aware of cases that may require medication and other treatments). For us that keep doing that thing that we do not want to do, like Paul in the Bible, stick to process of changing anyway.
If you want the change, you will get it. You will have some setbacks or hiccups along the way but your mind is set to change so five your behavior time to get in alignment.
For us Christians, we get convicted about certain things when they are wrong. It is truly a torn feeling in our spirits when our actions do not line up with our beliefs, morals, and values. In the secular world, this is known as cognitive dissonance. Hopefully, this urging promotes a healthy change. We do not have to be perfect people, not will we ever be.
If you have a chance, take some time to reflect on who you were and what you have become. Are there somethings that you need to pat yourself on the back because you did not notice its significance? Are there some things that you wish would come back like your joy? You can have it back. Make sure to love yourself as well, the good, bad, and ugly! We are all a work in progress!
One thought on “That was then, this is now.”
Definitely a work in progress… I have grown a lot but growth is most often birthed out of pain. I think I’ve ignored a lot of scars and open wounds to focus on growth. It is easier to do that. Sounds like it is a good approach too… until I realized the pain was still eating away at me. Triggering healing is hard to do when you have to walk back through the events that wounded you but I have learned to stop running from it. Suck up all the wisdom and heal my wounds. Had to do both. I think I’m doing much better because of it.