It must have been 4th grade…. or maybe 5th. You know that age where kids still listen to their parents and teachers with absolute respect and fear? And do as they are told?
I remember sitting next to my mom in the classroom with my teacher. It was early evening hours and it was parent teacher conference time. Somebody thought it was a good idea to have the young student present at the meeting to sit as if invisible while 2 of the most respected people talk about them.
Somehow my dad was absent from this meeting… it was clearly my mom’s job to make sure I was a good student and following all the rules. Deep down inside I was secretly grateful he wasn’t there… he was the Enforcer of Discipline.
I hated school by that point. Too much sitting… not enough coloring and art… and I didn’t have the social skills to make friends. I’d rather be out playing or making art.
My memory of that meeting is very blurry but the words are burned into my psyche that to this day hurt… “Doesn’t apply herself”… “Doesn’t follow through”… “Doesn’t work to her potential”… “Never finishes anything”… “Could be better at making friends”.
Who’s idea was it that it would be a good idea for the student to be present for this?
So this week… working on my homework for my mastermind requirements I notice some very familiar patterns rearing their ugly heads.
Like- not following through on the required reading every day, not pushing myself to do the work like I say I want to, not finishing the requirements until the Very. Last. Moment.
But what really sealed the deal… icing on the cake… nail in the coffin… was when Mark confessed on the webinar that at one point he realized that he was defiant… NOT doing something just because. Needing to be different.
And I realized THAT’S ME TOO. DON’T MAKE ME FOLLOW ANY RULES.
In my quest to be me, somehow I linked the need to be defiant with being different. In my quest to stand out… to be SOMEBODY… important… unique… I needed to be defiant.
And here I am… near retirement age, and still wondering when I get to live my life. When do I get to be ME and be successful. And just now realizing that to learn from successful people means I need to follow what they did… what they think… instead of my old blueprint that was given to me by a (probably well meaning) teacher.
Wow… the impact of words. The importance of choosing words to empower. The grace of choosing words of encouragement. Especially when talking to yourself.