‘The value of childhood is immeasurable; what is learned is indelible, what is not learned in childhood will not be valued indefinitely’
Life is a paradox that requires understanding and patience. Without self-knowledge and completely allowing oneself to enjoy the trivialities of life, it is possible to go through life yet come out as if one has never lived. Many of the essays in the textbook use a writing style that I enjoy reading. The use of first-person makes the essay easy to adapt and personalize as well as to relate with the latter events in life while writing about a series of events that span a great timeline. Moreover, essays that also use a descriptive approach make reading more interesting as the information they depict is livelier.
Childhood is one of the greatest times in any individual’s life. In fact, the development of certain virtues and self-characterization all begin during childhood, depending on the interactions that go on beyond the family. There was a time when I was in elementary school and I tended to view myself as inadequate, inferior, and incapable of many things that others were doing well. I could stay in class and keep mum during lessons even when teachers asked me questions directly due to the fear of being rebutted for giving wrong answers. On one specific day, I completed my mathematics homework satisfactorily at home. However when I got to school, one of the more confident students in the class came up to me to show her my homework which she decided to compare with her own work question by question. As it went, I realized that nearly 90% of my answers were different from her answers. She humiliated me before other students, talking specifically about how dumb I was and how I couldn’t complete a simple assignment without her assistance. Being the insecure and shy girl I was, I cried throughout the day and even failed to give my homework to the teacher for marking due to the possible consequences. When I went home later in the day, my mum checked my books and asked why I had my homework book with me and why it was not marked. The conversation that ensued helped me realize the importance of confidence and I was surprised when on submitting my homework the next day, my answers were all marked correct. My mother’s attitude as depicted by the dialogue below helped to instill in me confidence.
Mom: Why did you not submit this homework to the teacher?
Me: I wanted to, but my friend told me I could not get anything out of it.
Mom: What did I tell you yesterday?
Me: You said my answers are always the best and I should not believe what anybody says
Mom: I hope you will not listen to your friend again tomorrow on other days.
Me: Yes Mum, I will do that as soon as I get to school tomorrow.
Through this dialogue, my mum was driven by the need to remind me of my exceptionality and thus place me psychologically above the thoughts and beliefs of others by considering myself to be superior and in control of the situation. Similarly, charisma, confidence, and self-belief were instilled in me during childhood when my parents allowed me to be engaged in various activities that required socialization and confidence. Moreover, childhood was a period of dependence on others through which one got the notion that no one is completely independent. As such, the capacity to ask for help where needed also arises during childhood. When one goes through a supported development childhood, asking for help is not viewed as a sign of weakness but rather as an indication of maturity where one knows that they cannot be excellent on their own in all aspects of life. Activities such as gymnastics interested me in elementary school. To perform well in such activities, it was necessary that one maintains a high degree of self-confidence which had been instilled in me during childhood as anything less than this was bound to result in accidents and failure. Through this, self-belief became mandatory and as such, developed to be an intrinsic part of me. Through the years, I have met many other situations that demanded that I practice with great belief in myself. The combination of self-confidence and charisma was crucial as I could develop lasting relationships with others. Through my studies, I had to understand what my talents were and as such prepare myself adequately for the challenges that arise during the years.
Maintaining self-confidence and accepting the limitations of individual life are both imperative for one to live successfully and to enjoy their life to the fullest. As opposed to childhood, adulthood comes with its own challenges. For instance, I changed from depending on others for most of my life issues to depending on myself. Furthermore, as opposed to childhood where worries were not part of everyday life, adulthood came with challenges that meant that worries were inevitable. The ability to recognize personal limitations helped me to deal with stresses in adulthood as I noted where I was incapable of managing on my own. I asked for help where I could, handled what I could handle on my own, and asked for spiritual assistance from God. With the different experiences that I had in life, I was capable of developing a new life mantra and adopting a paradigm that would allow me to experience life to the fullest. In my new paradigm, the main objective of life lies in eliminating stress by separating problems from the person experiencing them.
Part 2: Analysis
Many people go through life without understanding how to make it more enjoyable for them. There are instances that people even get depressed due to the life situations that they go through. The essay is structured after the style used in Larry Lehna’s ‘The Look.’ The Look intrigues me each time due to the manner in which the author vividly describes how his past life influenced various aspects of the future including his emotions, regrets as well as feelings of satisfaction. I chose to use a similar approach to depict how my past molded me into the adult I am today. The essay thus focuses on the hypothesis that the values instilled during childhood can go a long way in helping people to create meaning out of life. In contemporary times, the rate of stress especially among working people as well as students is increasing hence people find ways of reducing anxiety. Stress is one of the challenging social issues in the current times due to its impacts on various aspects of life. For instance, the productivity of individuals and organizations collectively reduces when many people in an organization are stressed. In addition to this, costs incurred in catering to the needs of those with depression and anxiety are immense. Through therapy and social interventions, families spend on helping their members who suffer from depression. However, personal understanding can be very essential in preventing outcomes such as depression which impacts society negatively. This kind of understanding that yields self-confidence can only be realized if inculcated from childhood.
The essay, therefore, targets parents as well as other adults who may be having difficulties dealing with various challenges in life. For the parents, the objective of the essay is to inform them that the ability of their children to handle stress during adulthood is dependent on the values instilled in them during childhood. At the same time, they should be aware that children should not be considered inadequate simply because they are not the best in various aspects of life. Distinctiveness is crucial among children if they are to grow knowing and understanding themselves to the point of being independent yet aware of their limitations. Parents should realize that getting help where one cannot help themselves is one of the ways through which stress and anxiety can be prevented. Among adults, the essay informs them of the values that can help them live a more fulfilling life with or without having been brought up in that manner. For instance, by understanding that they can eliminate stress through accepting their limitations and asking for help where necessary, adults can pursue ways of distinguishing themselves from their issues. It can thus be said that the overall objective of the essay was to have more people enjoy life.
While writing this story, I decided to use the narrative style. There are various reasons for this particular approach to communication. I could have used styles such as poetry, parables, and sayings. However, I opted to use the narrative format since it is easy to understand as well as relate to. For the readers, other styles such as poetry may require a deeper search for meaning, which may at times result in ambiguity and misinformation. However, the narrative is direct and does not require detailed analysis. In the essay, the role of values such as self-confidence and charisma are described intensively unlike what would have been perceived through other communication media. It clearly develops the theme of life enjoyment by focusing on the life of the author and the lessons learned therein.