No shock, you can’t erase that!

January 19, 2018

Last night I saw the movie Lady Bird with my daughter.  As I watched the movie unfold, I was taken back to my own childhood.  Being a teenage girl wasn’t easy.  It isn’t a shock to say that, though, I don’t think it is easy for anyone of us?

As I was sitting there with my own daughter, suffice it to say, it was a tad uncomfortable watching parts of Lady Bird’s teenage life portrayed in disturbing and moving ways.  In particular, the scenes with her mom and harsh words spoken to each other provoked tugs on my heart.  They fought about discovering sex, alcohol and drugs, the embarrassment of each other, failure, betrayal, you name it, the movie covers all the emotions of growing up and parenting, even to the point of tears.  As some would call it, “A good old chick flick.”

On the list of not easy moments in life, being a parent and facing regrets of how you wish you would’ve done better rank right up there – close to the top, like being a teenager.  Or how about how you wish your own parents would’ve done better raising you?  Or how you wish significant adult figures in your life would’ve done better influencing you? All can be challenging and cause us to reflect on what we wish we could erase from memory.

As I fell asleep last night, I found it hard to shake some of the feelings I experienced watching the film.  I woke up still thinking about childhood.  Growing up as a child without affluence, like Lady Bird had, I could relate often to her in the movie.  Some scenes resonated as I grabbed my first cup of coffee for the day.

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I took a sip of coffee and thought of an eraser, a box, and a boy.  What?  Not a girl?  Yeah, sure, I am the girl…but the boy was the person who stories reverberated in my thoughts.

In the movie, Lady Bird desired to branch out and expand her creativity.  Those desires were squelched in the movie to some extent, by her family and her teachers.  It is no fun to have your desires pushed aside.  As I reflected on that part of the movie, I remembered how my own first real craving for writing was squelched.

When I was in 6th grade, our teacher gave us an exciting writing project.  We were to write an animated story about any item from the inside of our desk.  We were to write something each day from the perspective of the object we brought to life.  There it was, the launch of my first creative writing project.

I chose my pink block eraser for my object.  I imagined it had a smile on its face.  With my #2 pencil in hand, I described how excited it was to see me each morning as I opened up the lid on my desk.  How scared it was to be all alone at night in the dark desk.  I wrote about it helping me correct my errors.  How it experienced warm feelings from the friction on the paper as it rubbed errors off my homework.  I wrote about the value it brought to my life for making my assignments correct.  And how it slowly grew smaller each day.  I looked forward to writing about it every day.

That is until I couldn’t stop noticing him anymore.  Him, as in ‘DK.”  (real name omitted to protect his innocence…).  DK was our class clown, only without Ritalin.  I don’t even know if that drug was out at that time way back then?  If it had been it probably would’ve been used for his challenging behaviors.  He was constantly getting into trouble with our teacher.  Despite his overt attempts at gaining friends, he wasn’t exactly liked by anyone of us.

I started to wish my eraser could erase him from the class.  DK was distracting and I didn’t enjoy seeing the teacher’s emotions escalate to frustration when she tried to deal with him.  I’m pretty sure that’s when I started to recognize the feeling of empathy or lack thereof.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse.  There was a blow-up between the teacher and DK.  She had lost her cool, and so had DK.  DK was escorted down to the principal’s office and he didn’t return for the rest of the day.

That afternoon, as she cooled her own self off from the ordeal, the teacher let us sit quietly and read.  It was peaceful, something we all had missed in a way.  I and my eraser felt a moment of victory, we had erased DK out of existence for the day.

The next day, as I arrived to class, I couldn’t help but notice something was different.  There it stood.  A huge box.  Right smack in the middle of the room.

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DK was in there, it was his new home away from home.  As I walked slowly to my desk, I glanced over at it and saw a small window facing the front of the class.  Strategically placed so DK could pay attention to the teacher and ignore his classmates on all sides.  He could no longer disturb us with his antics.  Apparently, the teacher decided that if he couldn’t behave by following her rules, he needed to be in his own little area, closed off from the rest of the class.

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The box method worked for the first few days.  Day one you could cut the silence in the room with a knife.  I don’t think anyone of us knew what to do or say.  We sure didn’t want to show up someday with a box around our desks?  We were all in shock.  My eraser and I couldn’t erase the image of the BOX with DK in it.  As much of a pain DK was by always making noises and interrupting us, I felt sorry for DK.  I wondered if he was crying in the box or not?

DK ultimately won over the box method and moved on from our classroom.  I don’t know whatever happened to him.  But I do know that prior to him leaving, DK’s box shook like an earthquake was shocking it.  No one could avoid noticing DK’s presence.  The moves DK and his Box shook up together turned into more of a distraction than without DK being in the box.  The box was zero assistance for helping curb his upsetting behaviors.

Lessons learned – It is hard to erase shocking childhood memories.  I know I shall never erase DK or his Box from my memory.  As adults we can’t erase the pain we cause by our words to our children or our children’s words back to us in heated moments.  As role models or teachers, we can’t erase the negative things we say or do either.  I can only imagine it to be true, but I believe that our teacher couldn’t erase DK’s desire to be himself.  He’s still shocking the world somewhere no doubt.

Daily Post Prompt:  Shock

 

 

Pocket

By Shelley

Letting my quirk out one post at a time.

14 Comments

  1. Reply

    nomaddernomadder

    As I read post after post, some I simply cannot get through the devastating and painful emotions evoked are too much, I find stories like this that are excruciatingly reminiscent of an age when abuse was an acceptable form of “teaching”. I stand by my assertion, these types of things are happening today, in our neighborhoods, right under our noses. We couldn’t know or wouldn’t know, the people that are guilty of these things are masters of disguise.
    Sorry for the rant, Shelley. I get so upset when I see/hear things like this. You are absolutely correct, these images never erase from our minds.
    Excellent story!!
    Donna

    1. Reply

      Shelley

      Donna, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I have similar fears that unfortunate things still happen to our children we entrust to others to take care of and teach. I do know though, there are some really great teachers, too.

      1. Reply

        nomaddernomadder

        Of course, absolutely. My grandson is having the best year of his education as we speak. I couldn’t be happier.
        Donna

        1. Reply

          Shelley

          That is wonderful news to hear, I love it when kids are enjoying their learning experiences!! I’m so happy for all of you!

  2. Reply

    frazzledagain

    Aw, I’m glad they treat kids differently today, although I am sure it is not easy. Not a nice memory for you.

    1. Reply

      Shelley

      I agree I hope it isn’t so anymore! Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts!

  3. Reply

    cindimatography

    I think what that teacher did to DK was nothing short of child abuse. If a teacher did that to my child today, she/he would be in jail. If you can’t do the time, then don’t be the teacher. Obviously the woman didn’t have the proper attitude. It needed some adjusting.
    As parents, we can only do our best. Unless we’re like that California couple that locked up their 13 children for like forever: meals once a day, showers once a year. Now that’s child abuse!
    We can’t go backwards. We can only go forward. Each generation tries to improve on the parenting skills of the previous generation. My mother tried to do better than her mother. I tried to do better than my mother. And my two daughters are trying to do better than I did. (BTW, I love ‘time outs’ as opposed to either beatings or sitting in a corner with a dunce hat on your head!)
    I haven’t seen the movie but I am sick and tired of the blame game. My father was an immigrant and he did the best he could do. I wouldn’t waste any of my time pineing over what he did right or wrong. I’m not going to blame either he nor my mother for anything. They were hard workers, became multi-millionaires and provided my brother, sister and i with almost everything they could. Including putting my brother through medical school. In America!
    You most assuredly did your best with your children. And your parents did their best with you. That is all we can ask of anyone……don’t you agree?
    I bet you a zillion dollars that DK grew up to be a top notch CEO of a big corporation or some other success story. That’s what happens to creative children…..they thrive! only some adults are just too ignorant or too stupid to see a gem within their sights. Sad.

    1. Reply

      Shelley

      It was definitely an old-school approach, she had been a teacher for a long time. I agree we can all only do our best and keep improving with each child raised. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings. I love how you believe he grew up to be a top-notch CEO somewhere! He definitely had some gusto and a persistent nature, I too, hope he did well.

  4. Reply

    Create Space

    My heart froze for DK, the horror of being trapped inside a box. I would really like to know if this impacted his life. And I think as role models/teachers we cannot undo the damage of hurtful words and we have to be aware of the power in what we say and do.

    I didn’t think we could erase the hurt of “our children’s words back to us in heated moments” either Shelley until I wrote a recent post…Wise or Otherwise…where thanks to the level of upset and reflection I become aware of the power of compassion, acceptance/empathy when heated words are targeted at us. Great post, thought provoking! Thank you.

    1. Reply

      Shelley

      Thank you, Marie, I appreciate hearing your thoughts. I read your post too, thank you for your words of wisdom! You’re right, compassion, acceptance, empathy all help! xx

      1. Reply

        Create Space

        Thank you too for provoking thought!

        1. Reply

          Shelley

          You’re welcome too!!

  5. Reply

    Sean Kupisz

    I am filled with many emotions after reading these words. We are so resilient yet so fragile.

    1. Reply

      Shelley

      So true, Sean. Thank you for reading and for sharing your thoughts.

Your thoughts inspire me - please share away! I'll always reply!!

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