My Personal Childhood Web

In early childhood education there is a growing movement towards increasing family involvements in the schools and a developing awareness regarding the value of a culturally sensitive and respectful approach in family relationships. We know that, especially for children under age six, there really isn’t a way to differentiate between caregiving and educating. Every diaper change and afternoon snack is a learning opportunity equal to that of outdoor play and music class. As we reach out to families we learn that this partnership allows everyone who loves and cares about a child to be on the same nurturing team. I had a very large team as a child and they are still with me today.

I have recently started work on a Master’s in Early Childhood Education Public Policy and Advocacy. One of our requirements throughout school is to maintain a blog talking about early childhood. Since I already have such a blog, I will be posting my work for school right alongside my expected essays on Montessori, parenting, and urban farming. Here, I am asked to re-create my childhood web. Because I had three fathers and one mother, my web is enormous. I’m going to keep it simple and straightforward here, but it is important to note that the web is MUCH larger than this and every one of those people mattered in my development.

My Parents

My mother influenced me by showing strength and perseverance in the face of incredible challenges. The first few years of my life were incredibly stressful for our entire family and yet, somehow, my older brother and I are doing very well as adults. By the time I was four, I already had two dead fathers. By the time my mom was twenty-eight, she already had two dead husbands. Yet, she chose to have faith that life could bring about good and she let herself love again. She married my daddy and he adopted me when I was five. He taught me so much about doing the right thing. I’ve never met a man in my life who so consistently does the right thing every time. My daddy is truly the epitome of decency. He is also a grumpy old fart, but that part of him is lovable too!

As an adult I see their lasting imprint on me in many ways. I am a lot more like my mother than I ever planned on being, but I’ve realized that being like her is a good thing because she is a good woman. When I was a child we lived in a city but we had a farm with chickens, ducks, fruit trees, grape vines, and one evil pony named Cha Cha (that story we will save for another time). She married a man who is good with tools and spends his weekends working in a shop in the garage. She cooked almost all of our meals from scratch. This is the story of my adult life, minus the evil pony. I can see my father in me as I strive to always do the right thing, even when it makes things harder. I know it drives my colleagues crazy sometimes, but I also know that everyone can see how much I care about being ethical. My daddy taught me that.

My older brother, me, my daughter, and my daddy in the summer of 2012

My Siblings

I am one of four children in a five-year age span. Yes, that means my parents had four teenagers living in the house at the same time. Miraculously, they still speak to all of us. My oldest brother, Farrell, is the only sibling to whom I’m biologically related. His influence on me is hard to overestimate. We are so weirdly alike. It really freaks my husband out when he spends time with Farrell and me. We like the same music, the same books, the same food, the same nerdy statistic (okay, he likes statistics a bit more than me). Our mannerisms and the cadence in our voices are nearly identical. He is one of my best friends in the whole world, no doubt.

My sister, Angela, and my brother, Jeremy, came along with my daddy. We are one of those Brady Bunch style families. My dad and his ex-wife adopted both of them from separate foster homes. When my parents got married we were 1, 4, 5, and 6 years old. The boys are the oldest and youngest, the girls are in the middle. They had a lot on their plates. Angela and I were very close when we were little. We shared a room and we played together all the time. She’s the tidiest person I know and still find myself envisioning her side of the closet when I am organizing in my house. I wish that I saw her more than I do now that we are grown. There are treacherous mountain passes separating us along with the business of managing a grown-up life. I miss her.

My little brother, Jeremy, taught me that patience is a virtue when it comes to love. He was a VERY challenging young child. He was aggressive and prone to extreme tantrums. We fought constantly. I have few memories of playing with him happily as a young child. But as we grew older, our relationship changed. We became very good friends in our adolescence and that has not changed. He showed me the value of investing in a challenging child and loving them even when you just want to run. When you see the man he is today, it is apparent that he was so worth it.

Part of this assignment asks me to state how these people each made me feel special. As I ponder this, I realize that nobody really ever went out of their way to make me feel special as a child. But I think that this is okay. To me, specialness is overrated. I’m not special, I’m just another person trying to make a little good out of my life. We are all so much more alike than we are different and that is a good thing. I think that it is likely that the culture of specialness in our country is part of why our educational systems aren’t functioning, why our workforce is waning, and why marriages are crumbling. We all think we are so special and deserve to be acknowledged for that specialness all the time. I’ve decided that I am grateful that nobody went out of their way to make me feel special. I can see how this has helped me find success in my life in many different ways. Accepting that I am not special helps me let go. There is nothing more liberating and empowering than that.

My web has served me well. I hope to do the same for my little girl.

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~ by vegucationmama on January 26, 2013.

4 Responses to “My Personal Childhood Web”

  1. Hi Rebecca,

    I am so sorry that you actually feel that “specialness” is overrated. I disagree. Every child should be made to feel that they are special, unique, extraordinary, wanted, a blessing, loved unconditionally, etc. I guess you can not miss what you have never had, but once you experience feeling special as a child, you know the difference. Well, I would like to share a little bit about myself and my family setup.

    I was born the eldest of three “stair step” children to two wonderful parents. My brothers and I have great memories about our life growing up. When I think about my childhood, I smile because it was so joyful to be a child.

    My mother worked and raised three beautiful children alone after my father passed when I was only 9 years old. She was my very best friend and showed me a lot of love, care, and joy. She influenced me to be a confident, strong and loving woman. She inspired me to reach for the stars and always told me that “You can do all things through Christ which strengthens you.” I

    My father was hard working. He usually worked 6 days a week and oftentimes during the holidays he worked 7 days and 16 hours. He was very loving, strong and encouraging. I appreciate all the love he brought to our family. I love the way he use to treat my mother and always told her that he loved her.

    My parents were very good role models for me growing up. The inspired me to become married and I love it. Unfortunately, all my friend heard growing up was fighting, crying and arguments between her parents and till this day she is still unmarried and a virgin at 52 because she was afraid to date and commit to marriage.

    Thank you for sharing your family experiences and I’m sure your experiences will effect your work with children in a very positive way because I am sure you will make the children you come in contact feel “special.” God bless you and your family.

    Stephanie Barton
    http://stephaniebarton.wordpress.com/

  2. Stephanie – I would say that “special” doesn’t exclude unique, wanted and loved… She was read to at bedtime, hair combed and braided daily, clothes made just for her, always a snack after school, teachers met with, Brownies and dance classes, gifts chosen to her tastes, chores assigned, bullies dealt with, friends welcomed in our home and carpooling offered to their homes, etc. – not “special” because each of the other children got the same – and not overly indulged because it didn’t fit with our income or natures. I would also observe that we lived in an area more affluent than us and most families had fewer children. It was a combination that made other kids appear “special”.

    • I think my mom (Teri) hits the nail on the head. I was well cared for and loved and I emphasize again that being made to think I was “special” would have set me up for failure. My parents set me up for success.

  3. Hi Rebecca,

    I looked over your entire blog and it was enjoyable to read and I see you put a lot into it. I pray that all of your desires for a profession in the Early Childhood field. I’m sure you now have the passion and a lot of the information that helps promote Professionalism. It has been truly an enjoyable 8 weeks and I am glad I had the pleasure of meeting you and the opportunity to comment on your blog. Have fun achieving your Master’s degree, Good luck with your studies at Walden University and God bless you during all of your accomplishments in the field of Early Child Care. Take care.

    Stephanie

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