Write about your least favorite childhood memory.
My early years in elementary school were pretty normal and fun. I did manage to make friends that I got along well with. I liked my teachers and enjoyed learning. Then in third grade a girl that had become my best friend moved to Florida. This was a very difficult time for me in my young life. My friend and I had been inseparable and when fourth grade began I felt lost. Though I hadn’t cared very much about being popular or whom my friends were before that time, with my best friend gone, all of a sudden I felt a lot more self-conscious. I needed to make some new friends and wanted everyone to like me.
In my attempts to get some of the popular girls to take interest in me, at times I would gossip about others, which I quickly learned was not a good way to try to make friends. This led to some of my classmates understandably not trusting me. I recall being teased and at times I didn’t want to go to school and have to deal with the “mean girls.” Over the next two years I struggled a lot to make and keep friends. I found myself reaching out to new kids who moved into our neighborhood and started attending our school, as at least they didn’t have preconceived notions about me and what kind of friend I was.
When I look back on this time in my life, it saddens me that I didn’t have the self-confidence and self worth to not let the opinions of some of my peers matter so much to me. As an adult now, it warms my heart when I see schooled aged children who have that sense of security and self-esteem that I lacked for so much of my childhood.
When it comes to parenting I realize that I need to “check my baggage.” As my third grade son approaches the age I was when I struggled with classmates and social skills I want to protect him and our daughter (who is only three now, but will be faced with these issues eventually) from having to deal with “mean kids.” But I also realize that interacting with difficult people and those who are not kind is part of life. It is a skill that each of us has to learn on our own. I can do my best to help my children be good and kind people, but ultimately they will have to figure out for themselves how to relate to others and have healthy friendships.
Tell me about one of your least favorite childhood memories.
Kathy Benson is a bereaved and blessed mom, writer and group fitness instructor trying to live mindfully and find joy in the journey after dealing with secondary infertility and loss for five years. She lives in Chicago, Illinois with her husband and two living children.