About Me

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Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Fun Monday - "Do whatever you want, but. . ."

Here we are at the end of March and the Georgia Girls at In Good Company are closing out their month of hosting Fun Mondays. Their question for March 28 is: "What advice did your mother/father give you that you remember or still use today?" Now what I remember in the way of parental advice may seem a bit harsh, but my parents' words and attitude toward child rearing have had a great effect on how I've met challenges from early on. First, a bit of background. This photo of my mother and me was taken around 1946-47. I was born at the end of World War II, the fourth child, with a seven year gap between my younger brother and me. Recently I read a novel where the mother had her last child very late. Her parents called this little girl their Good Idea. I, on the other hand, have always known that my mother especially did not consider me a Good Idea. I'm sure she thought she was out of the baby business after three children. And who could blame her? Life was very hard at that time. Even the mountains of eastern Kentucky were not sheltered from the Depression and war. I was born at home, a two room cabin/house on a hardscrabble farm. My father eked out a bare living for us farming and working for the Work Projects Administration (WPA--known cynically as the We Piddle Around Gang locally) before going into the coal mines. Growing up I remember that my older sister and brothers looked after me while my parents worked to keep us fed and clothed. From an early age my mother taught me to work. Housework and farm chores came first, certainly before learning or play. Once I learned to read, my mother and I were constantly at odds. I tried to read while doing my chores like churning butter or breaking up beans. This infuriated my mother. To her, work came before education. After all, work was all she knew. This battle continued through high school. By that time I was trying to figure out how to afford college. When I told my mother that I wanted to go away to school her advice was: "You do whatever you want to, but don't expect any help from me and your daddy." This advice was not a surprise to me, nor was it a death blow to my ambitions. I simply found other ways to get what I wanted. There were college loans and kind people who helped me jump through the hoops and find ways to work and go to school at the same time. This pattern continued though out my adult life. When I decided to do something that was beyond my parents' life experiences--education, moving out of state, living in a foreign country--I simply told them about my plans. They never put up any road blocks or resistance. I always say that my mother and father neither helped nor hindered me as I grew up. And, that's not a bad approach to parenting. For sure, it teaches you to stand on your own and that skill has been a source of great freedom and self determination for many years. Good advice, Bonnie!

(Please excuse the lack of paragraphing. For some reason Blogger doesn't want me to write this post in easily read paragraphs. Instead, insists on one big block of text. I surrender!)


Sayre said...

They managed to raise a very self-sufficient person... which is actually to goal when it comes to parenting.

I wish I could remember specifics of what my parents said to me. I remember a lot of "stop that" and "why don't you..." but I'm pretty sure that's just the noise of raising a lot of kids at once.

Jan n Jer said...

Its amazing how small your world can be, when you don't the means to spread your wings a little. Your family sounds alot like mine growing up. My Dad died at a very early age and Mom had to go out an work to keep a roof over out heads. I knew at an early age that if I wanted the finer things in life that I would have to work hard for it. I think it makes you appreciate things more when you have to buy it yourself. Great post Faye!

Swampwitch said...

Well, it looks like "things" turned out pretty well.
Your story doesn't sound much different from others who grew up in that 'era.' Ended up making for a strong generation.
I have to sign in with my old Blogger account . . . had so many problems with it, I jumped ship.

Georgia Girls said...

Life was tough then, physically. Sounds like it was tough for you, too, but glad you had the drive to make your dreams come true. Generally speaking, this generation has a sense of entitlement -- they think they deserve to have what mom and dad have now instead of waiting and working the 30+ years to get it.

My dad always said, "How comes you always do that."

Debs Carr said...

What an interesting post (as usual).

I remember being told, "There's no such word as 'can't'." I was also brought up to believe that if I wanted something I had to work for it, which is something I'm trying to teach my children.

The Church Lady said...

It's funny how things change from generation to generation. Kids these days assume everything will be paid for by mommy and daddy, including their college education. I managed to find ways to pay my way through school without my parent's help (although I do think they bought a book or two for me). It's no wonder today's kids never go out on their own.

Arlee Bird said...

I was wondering about that big ol' block of writing.

Sounds like your parents did the right thing. Mine were similar. If they did pay for me to do something my Dad insisted I finish it thru. I think it's good to teach kids to learn to be self-reliant and independent, but be there when they need your moral support.

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кєяo said...

It would have been pretty hard for you. You must have coped well. I can never learn to be that independent.
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