Friday, March 19, 2010

The "Wonder (what the hell was I thinking) Years"

My teenage years were somewhat turmultuous. Then again, whose weren't!

My parents had raised me to be considerate of others, treat them the way I want them to treat me, be accountable for my actions, always use manners and to not allow those who taunted me to know they had succeeded.

Great advice, wasn't it? I love my parents. I know they did the best job they possibly could, so please know that I respect the job they did. After all, they gave me the confidence, trust and encouragement to be my own person, and for that, they have been VERY successful!

Applying these principles has caused me considerable pain and confusion over the years. (I will interject in my own thought processes here to let you know that I am somewhat of an 'extreme' personality. I don't do things by halves and this is more than likely the reason I have got myself into certain predicaments in my life! I am a more balanced adult now, but it has taken some BIG butt kicks to get here.)

So let's start with the first point...
  • Be considerate of others.
I think my understanding of this as a teen was to bow down to every whim of every other person on the face of the planet! Or maybe it was to imagine every possible scenario that may arise from each simple action/comment I make!

Little did I realise, this was probably more a reference to the K.I.S.S. method. So, as long as it isn't done/said with the intention of malice, cause of physical harm to myself or others, it's all good! I, however, took this more to mean that before I open my mouth I must consider every possible reaction to what I'm about to say & pre-empt how to offset this. I'm surprised I'm still sane! Do you know how time consuming and confusing it is to worry yourself about every possible reaction a person could have to one simple comment? And then, try dealing with the one response you weren't prepared for!

  • Treat people the way I want them to treat me - yeah, well, interesting.

Tissues were my best friend for many years. Even to this day, I always have at least 3 boxes of tissues in my house at any one time.

Know this, I still beleive in this philosophy, I just have a very different understanding of what this truly means. The most difficult aspect of this philosophy is grasping the concept that this will not automatically mean that others will treat you 'right'. I experienced alot of disappointment in this area of my life. Even the people who really didn't deserve my attention, I would continue to treat with respect and consideration. Obviously, I was hoping this would show them a concept they may never have considered before. Now I can see that they more than likely would have been exposed to the concept of treating people well, but they chose that it was not for them!

  • Be accountable for my actions.
Why is it that a teenager's brain cannot comprehend the meaning of this simple statement? Sadly, I see alot of Gen Y missing out this vital step on the path to maturity. I also can't help to think their parents have a huge responsibility in trying to make up for their own childhood by trying to empower their young. Unfortunately, the "accountability" factor has been omitted. I think it's fantastic to empower children, nurture individual thinking and a go-getter attitude. But this needs to have a balanced approach, and that's where accountability comes in. My Dad gave me the best lecture on this one (because it was very brief!) - "You can have as much fun as you can be responsible for." To this day, everytime I drive into the city and see the road signs reminding drivers about the consequences of speeding, I have a giggle to myself and think of Dad's advice. Trust me, this is a discussion my kids are VERY familiar with.
  • Always use manners

I think this goes without saying. In my 9 years experience in the Early Childhood industry, I was always conscious of role modelling manners. My area of expertise was children 15 months to 2 1/2 years. Obviously I had to tailor this to be age appropriate, but my group always finished the year with beautiful manners. Something as simple as "ta" is teaching a young child the importance of manners.

Think about the last time someone in your work place or family thanked you for something. Makes you feel valued doesn't it? It amazes me how simple words such as these can make such a huge difference in ones life. Do you thank someone when they do something for you?

  • Never allow those who taunted me to know they had succeeded

This one I think I will leave until next time!

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