Friday, 1 October 2010

Proud to be...

 at-farm-in-Balerno

It was a comment on a friend's blog that inspired me to write this post. The post was about the things we thought as kids. The comment talked about the innocence of youth and in particular spoke about losing the ability to be unashamedly proud of things we're good at.

This really rang true with me. I can't remember when in my childhood I started being embarrassed about things I was good at. I was a smart kid at school but I seem to have learned fairly on that it wasn't something to let on about. I can remember being thought a swot just because I knew the answers, and quickly learning to keep quiet in class. Worse still I ended up being bullied for being just that little bit different - I was a year younger than everyone else, my Mum was English so we 'spoke posh', I was brainy and not very good at sports. And I always felt like the ugly duckling. I was definitely not in with the 'in-crowd'.

I did have a few good friends. Or sadly and more accurately, fairweather friends who were only too ready to give me up if the tide of popular opinion turned against me. Things did improve as I got older. By the time I was in the later years of High School I'd worked out who my real friends were and I was more accepted for who I was, not shunned for who I wasn't. But I'm sad to say it has stayed with me much of my life. I can honestly say that it's only really the last 3 or 4 years that I've come to a peace with myself about who I am, and can take the comments about my intelligent mind as the compliments they're intended to be instead of the sleights they've always felt like to me. (Although having said that, I'm still a little embarrassed writing this today!)

I guess what I want to say is, those of you with little people - cherish them, celebrate their strengths, allow them to be proud of who they are and what they're good at, even if it is unconventional. Don't let life grind them down in its headlong rush for mediocrity and celebration of the average. Celebrate difference. Praise achievement. Love success.

It's not true that pride cometh before destruction - handled right it can come before a happy successful settled and peaceful sense of self, which is the greatest gift the world can give.

2 comments:

Just Frances said...

It wasn't long ago that I man I know mentioned that he was certain I'd find somebody new to love and blah, blah, blah. And I thought he was being very kind. Then he said "Of course, you'll have better luck if you dumb it down a bit" (or words to that effect).

I was crushed because I thought that he was a very smart man and I don't know if he knows how much those words hurt. I spent my entire life being told boys are smarter than girls. But maybe girls are just taught to pretend to be dumb to get the boys?

Anyhow... I agree! Teach your children to be proud of their abilities and to not be ashamed of abilities they lack!

ebbandflo said...

buckles! that's what children had on their shoes before they could tie laces. if only you knew the angst of finding suitable shoes for school of my shoe-lace-not-tying-yet wee guy. after a certain foot size, velcro is apparently out.

yes, i remember the 'posh' jibes. i remember being ridiculed for using the word 'actually' in a sentence, and from someone who was allegedly a friend. eventually i just didn't bother hiding any form of intelligence at school and was soooo glad when streaming meant i wasn't taught with the dimwits (sorry dimwits but you were a real drag and PS: it's you who were the nastiest so i feel hardly any guilt). it was actually (!) quite a relief to get to university and realise that i could be average, though it was a shock to have to work to pass exams (oops).

one boyfriend was particularly put out by my alleged intelligence, none of the rest seemed to be bothered. or maybe it's cos i was pathetically grateful for any attention i never noticed.

ho hum - life's much better at 45 :) i'll go tell the diva to be proud of himself