Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The World According to....

I wonder sometimes how different I would be today had my childhood been different. Sometimes I look at my kids and wonder how different they would be if they were living the type of life I lived at their age. I wonder how vital environment is to our success and how I became successful despite my environment.

But then I wonder if I actually did become successful or if I was actually stunted from achieving my true potential. And I wonder how many other adults are walking around just barely a part of what they could've been. If only.....

As we move through the various motions required to ensure Ethan has the best possible chance at being successful in the public school system, I am forced to face some rather surprising and squashed memories. Nothing horrible. Just the sort of things that make me ponder the above....

I wouldn't consider myself very smart. My vocabulary is limited. I don't feel capable of "keeping up" with smart people. I never felt this more acutely than in my college major. It's a wonder I stuck with it actually. However, when asked, "Were either of you in a gifted program in school?" Well. Yes. I was. It was brief and I only remember learning about light refraction, but nonetheless, I do remember going to the house on school grounds and learning about really cool things with a small group of kids. It was fun.

And that got me thinking.

When I was sevenish, I remember my grandmother speaking to someone on the phone. She was talking about me. She said I had an extensive vocabulary and what was really neat was that I could hear a word and use it properly in a sentence immediately.

And then I thought about the fact that I read Edgar Allan Poe's "A Cask of Amontillado" when I was seven or eight. And my memory. It's not quite as a good these days, but when I was Ethan's age and older, adults constantly commented on my ability to remember the most obscure things and, well, everything. I remembered everything. I can still remember things in such vivid detail. I can find places because I can see what the scene looks like in my head. It's pretty useful. I can do the same thing with codes and numbers. Not always. It's random, but there are times when I can see a sequence of numbers and remember it forever. It's like I take a picture of it and I can physically see it. Maybe that's normal.

The point is not to point out that I'm smart. I've already said I'm not that smart. The point is to point out that maybe I was. I recently heard from a piano teacher I had way, way back when I was nine. She said, "I just remember how good you were and how intelligent you were." Me? What? I was?

I think I was. I think years of living in an overly stressful environment where everyday was a freaking crap shoot did a number on my growing brain. Damn parents. Damn environment.

Really I'm okay with it. God knows I've done enough damage to that little brain of mine in college to NOT get angry about other people's inflictions.

Maybe, though, it would've helped me now as I'm going through all the things we're going through with Ethan and likely Dylan. gets me thinking about that whole nature vs. nurture thing.


  1. What if you were/felt smart based on your surroundings or because you were in the top percentage of people when comparing all the kids at school for instance. Now, you work and are surrounded by people of a higher average intelligence. People who were smart enough to attend college, hold professional white collar jobs, etc. So, you are still just as smart, just comparing yourself to a smarter crowd so to speak. For intelligence, athletic ability, etc. I'm more on the nature side of the debate. As far as parenting, and how you parent, I think it's more nuture. You breaking the cycle was definitely an acheivement, one that Dylan and Ethan will be forever grateful for.

  2. That's an interesting point. I love that you remember so much. I have a terrible memory. I think your brilliant!