Forging our own paths
When you are a kid, you only know what you know based on the house that you live in. There is this moment when you start to experience your own life and realize that not everybody lives the way you do. I am not so sure why I began to think about this recently but there is one experience that keeps running through my head.
It might be that because school is over there is a group of Josh's friends that hang at our house every night. Josh makes them dinner and they all get involved. That is our house yet I hear different things from these kids about how their homes are different. Even though everyone's home is different when you are younger it is your parents that are the end all be all. They are your role models and as you get older and see the world as bigger than the four walls that you live in you can then begin to forge your own path.
When I was eight we were living in Ann Arbor, MI. It was an idyllic place to be. The streets had sidewalks, the kids roamed freely, we drove up and down the street on our bikes. One night I spent the night at a friends house. I can't recall if she was a good friend or just one of those random sleepovers but it is irrelevant. I went over to her house and immediately I knew that she had a totally different life than me. The house was old, large, dark and creaky.
We had dinner with her parents at a huge long table in the dining room and only four of us sat at it. We were served the dinner by a woman who worked for them and each of our plates had a proportioned amount on each plate, a small amount that was already cut up. That was it, no seconds. Nobody really spoke. I recall the meal was quite formal where our house was the complete opposite. We served ourselves, we sat at the table in the kitchen and it was a basic free for all.
When we went to bed I noticed how itchy and stiff the sheets were. The blanket was a thick scratchy wool. I told my friend that the sheet were itchy and she said that they let the sheet dry outside and that is why. We used a dryer.
The experience has stuck in my mind all these years. It was that moment where I realized that I was my own person. That how we lived in our house was not how everyone lived. That going out into the world an experiencing other homes gave me the ability to think about how I want to lead my life. Maybe the way that my parents did it was not the end all be all.
Entrepreneurs go out in the world building their companies. They take advice, they look at other models and how they worked or didn't work, they not only create their own businesses but they create their own four walls. That experience I had at 8 stuck with me and perhaps deep inside that made me think about who it was I wanted to be and how I wanted to forge my own path in life.
This is a great post and a thought so well summarized. My kids will ready it later today and perhaps they will begin to get it. Nope, everyone does not live exactly like them. Good for you — to have a home where your son is comfortable and proud – to have his friends over in a safe, yet fun and welcoming environment. No small portions on those plates!
.Having been an Army brat and being ready — even today — to move on a moment’s notice creates a certain unusual perception of oneself.I used to show up at a new location with my baseball glove and announce I was their new center fielder — even if they already had one. I never realized how odd this sounded until fairly recently.Army posts were an idyllic setting — enormous amounts of ground to explore, lots of low cost things to do (movies incl popcorn and drink $0.15) and lots of functions but most importantly very little supervision. Lots of swimming pools.Actually, I guess total lack of supervision but what were you going to do.My Mom used to blow a whistle which meant — 5 minute warning. If you were too far from home, you signaled the MPs and they drove you home in their Jeeps with your bike held on your lap.Our children are so over supervised these days that it is a wonder they ever develop at all.Thanks for bringing back those happy memories.JLM.
Fred moved ten times in his first ten years of life because he was an army brat. It teaches you how to make new friends in any environment
Not an army brat, but moved two times…and one move was to Vancouver BC. Age 10-14 — great time to be in a place so diverse. Moving has a huge impact on kids’ — good and bad. Also, getting picked on can do the same. Create self reliance and heighten the importance of family.
5 minute warning- so Army-I really did laugh out loud at that!
This is poignant. And visceral – I could feel the sheets! I liked it a lot. You design your own destiny.
resonated with me so much — think you have to know and be able to picture your destiny in order to achieve it.
As I was driving to Starbucks to get ready for yet another interview (JC Penny this time) I was thinking about how all the moving has affected my son Colgan. My son is 8 and I think we have moved 6 or 7 times in his lifetime.I think “Is it fair?” For me its normal. Between foster homes and my Dad getting up in the retail mergers of the 80s I stopped counting at 13.All this moving and traveling though has given me pause and the ability to consider other people view point..This was a good piece.Lots to think about.
When we went to bed I noticed how itchy and stiff the sheets were. The blanket was a thick scratchy wool. I told my friend that the sheet were itchy and she said that they let the sheet dry outside and that is why. We used a dryer. I dated a girl from NYC a few years ago (after divorce and before re-marrying) whose parents had a cabin in the Catskills. Jewish family (both teachers) and they really liked me and all of that stuff. Nice people I really liked them (one of the reason I stayed in the relationship as long as I did).The first night I was there at the “cabin” I was struck by the way the beds had what appeared to be bugs or something and neither my girlfriend or her mother seemed to care at all. No fresh sheets no prep of bedding no towels the bathroom and everything was dirty. Totally different than what my mother would have done. It really took me back how laid back they were.I guess my point is not the way I would ever treat a “guest” in my house. (How many people here come from the school of cleaning the house the day before the cleaning lady cleans?)
ha. i used to laugh when my mom would say we had to clean our rooms before the cleaning lady came.
When you are a kid, you only know what you know based on the house that you live in. There is this moment when you start to experience your own life and realize that not everybody lives the way you do. I am not so sure why I began to think about this recentlyFor kids growing up now of course it’s not like this.Forget even exposure to all sorts of things on the Internet. Take travel. (Or eating at restaurants..)When I was growing up the biggest deal in my life was visitingWalt Disney World and flying down to Orlando or Miami and going to the Catskills. I remember bribing my sister so she wouldn’t tell my parents she was sick and we might miss the trip.I’ve lost track of all the countries that my kids have visited.
It’s interesting how we play back things in our minds that are from way back when, and drawing a line to what we are today. It’s part cause and effect, part serendipity, part continuity.
What’s so great as a kid about going to homes like yours (presumably) is it gives you a model for what you’d like your home to be like one day. I never brought friends home: I wasn’t close with my parents and they had a terrible marriage when they were together. The other parents and families in my life inspired me to strive to create the life I wanted. Still hope to be the model for someone else one day.