On being a dependable force of goodness in a child’s life:

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Every now and then I read to much on current events and I feel the burning desire to save the children. A lot of them are doing good, but I’ve always felt a deep spot in my heart for children in situations they shouldn’t be in. It’s not because I’ve ever been in an abusive situation as a child. I had a wonderful childhood, it was tainted by some things, crippling separation anxiety in first grade, a bipolar diagnoses at the age of six, being bullied till I was suicidal in middle school, but really none of that stood a chance against how well loved and protected I was by my parents, family, and friends. My heart aches for children who don’t have that, or for adults who didn’t have that as a child, because that got me through all sorts of things.

That’s what I want to talk about, not how terrible it can be or how good it can be, but what a difference a stable source of good can make in a child’s life. It’s not a news flash, everyone knows that broken homes can do some serious damage, but as my friends start having babies and I work towards that age were I want to as well I’ve been thinking a lot about what you can protect kids from and what you can’t.

There is a ton that you have no control over whether you are the child or the adult looking after them. Bad things happen, to everyone, over and over again, but if we have enough good to counteract that bad we can get somewhere healthy and happy. It doesn’t matter if you are a parent, a family friend, a teacher, or an older sibling, being a stable source of dependability and goodness to a child can save their lives in more ways than one.

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Core Childhood Traits

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little anna

12 year old me between the bars of the Eiffel Tower with my younger cousin.

I’ve had a belief for a long time that the traits we have at childhood are really the ones at the base of our soul. The world changes us, we can all agree with that, it’s harsh. I’ve been through my fair share of hurt, as I’m sure you have too. We get tougher, we break, we regain, we grow. It’s nonstop shaping. The “real world” if you will. So, who were you before the world broke you?

I’m not suggesting in any way shape or form that we shouldn’t change from our childhood self, our adolescent traits, I’m saying that they don’t go away, they stick with us, they just shift and mature, and hide. And when you think about, you envy that burden free little kid you were, that weird but great, free but protected. That little kid is a huge part of who you are.

I strive to make myself a mature version of the younger me, and let me telly you why:

  • I was confident in myself in a way that didn’t involve bringing others down.
  • I was always creating.
  • I was full of ideas and inspiration, I wanted to do everything in the world, and, more importantly, I knew I could.
  • I was a social butterfly. I’d make a best friend in three minutes flat.
  • I was fearless.

Now I’m timid around big groups of people, I’m not shy, but I went through a phase where I was. It took a long time to teach myself how to reverse the process and I’m still working on it. I never even lost the creating, but I definitely lost the confidence. I was taught I wasn’t good enough when I was bullied to the point of attempted suicide in 8th grade. I hated myself. Then, as I started to heal and love myself again, I went through a phase that involved gossip and putting people down. Most of it was mental, “well at least I’m not the stupidest person in the room” or “well I might be over dressed but she’s wearing dressier clothes than me.” It took me a long time to shift that to “I’m smart.” and “Opps, I overdressed, but I still look fabulous.” As for being fearless, I’m working on that one. Childhood fearless and adult fearless are very different things, even though they are the exact same trait. I want to not be afraid of new things, awkward pauses, being a little too loud and crazy. I want to experience life in a way you only can when you are fearless, or, at least, tackling your fears.

Do you see where I’m coming from? When find ourselves we tend to find the traits we had we were little, they are just completely redefined.

What did you lose? What have you regained?