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!)
- 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.