Archive for the ‘Personal Reflection’ Category

I can remember walking to school for kindergarten; I would walk up 2 houses and cross the street.  The house on the corner had a chain link fence around the front yard; it was about 30″ tall, not very tall at all.  Inside the chain link fence was this arrangement of rectangular plots of land with plants, flowers and trees within concrete borders.  It looked like a secret garden and I wanted to explore it.  I can remember that the people who lived in the house didn’t really like kids, so we avoided that yard except to walk past on our way to school.

I was in Miss Washington’s kindergarten class.  She had dark hair in a classic bouffant style, and fair skin.  She had a soft voice and soft personality.  She wore classic 60’s suits of heavily textured polyester in vivid neon colors.  The classroom has a dark quality because we were on the shady side of the building and there were trees right outside the window. There were windows with beige venetian blinds on the back wall of the classroom opposite the entry door and on the corridor wall as well. Our classroom was located at the corner of the school building on the first floor.  There were doors at both ends of the classroom and one of the doors opened onto the wall of a seemingly very large corridor with very shiny floors and lockers lining the walls. Miss Washington’s desk was on the opposite side of the classroom facing the corridor and our desks were perpendicular to her desk and faced the chalkboard in the front of the classroom. The desks were made of wood and brownish gray metal and were proportional in size for 5 year olds.  The slanted wood looking laminate top had a groove carved in the center top to hold your pencil, and the top hinged open to reveal a thick metal basin in which to store our school supplies.  The attached plywood chair was attached to the desk at a frame on the bottom of the chair.

We students had done an assignment especially well one day because Miss Washington gave each of us a Tootsie Pop as a reward.  I remember mine was grape and it was gone all too quickly.  She handed one to every student in the class and then placed one remaining Tootsie Pop in her right hand desk drawer.  She then left the class to attend to something and left us students alone.  I thought of some reason that I had to be standing by Miss Washington’s desk, and I opened her desk drawer and took the last remaining Tootsie Pop for myself.  I went to my desk and sat down, undetected in my theft, feeling triumphant in my acquisition I quietly lifted the desktop and gently placed my Tootsie Pop in the safety of my desk basin for an after school treat.  Shortly thereafter, Miss Washington returned to the classroom, and at one point she looked in her desk drawer.  “I thought I had an extra Tootsie Roll for someone who isn’t here today”, Miss Washington said, and before I even thought about what I was doing, my hand shot up, I eagerly said, “I have an extra one you can have!”

I can remember the feeling of wanting to share but more importantly of wanting to be commended for sharing.  I was hungrier for the recognition and praise that I was for that Tootsie Roll. Miss Washington uncovered my deception quickly I’m sure and I must have confessed instantly.  I don’t remember exactly what Miss Washington said to me, I’m sure it involved disappointment and I was sent to the principal’s office very quickly.  I remember this balding man who was be the principal pacing in front of his desk.  He was holding onto a flat wooden paddle about the length of a baseball bat, and trying to scare me by telling me, “you know, I’m allowed to use this, but I really don’t want to”.  He rhythmically bounced the paddle against his hand to emphasize his point.  It did scare me; I didn’t want to get paddled, but not because it would hurt.  I didn’t want to get paddled because the attention I would have gotten attention in the class would not have been because I showed my generosity for a fellow classmate as I craved.  But feared that the other children would make fun of me and not play with me for getting in trouble and being sent to the principal’s office. It was a long walk back down that shiny corridor to Miss Washington’s classroom.


My father and I were in an introductory VERY SERIOUS MEETING with an attorney recently discussing VERY SERIOUS THINGS.  My father is 81 years old and had gone through some traumatic and life altering health crisises, in the last few months. 

He has been retired for almost 20 years and has no hobbies outside of watching TV.  Even before he retired, he didn’t engage at all.  zip, nana, nothing, period.

Something he said at towards the end of our meeting caused me to think about how we react when we get uncomfortable in serious discussions.

We were recapping who would do what next and he says, “Here’s something completely off topic”, and so I am thinking that it has to do with the legal situation, as do the attorneys.  However, he tells us that he recently saw on TV how the skunk’s spray is flammable.    Hm….

After the attorney and I looked at each other for a few minutes, me trying to mind meld with the attorney to tell him that my father is not crazy, we get back to the wrap up and finish.

After I relayed this funny story to anyone who knows my dad, I had a few minutes to consider why he would say such a random thing at that moment.

The best I could come up with is that he just was not used to discussing things of value or importance.  He brought up something he was completely comfortable with, TV, and some useless and unimportant fact that as a stress reliever from dealing with reality.

How do you deal with the reality of the situation you are in?  I think of myself as confrontational and eager to deal with whatever has come up.  However, I think that as long as I think I am right and justified (and can win the fight), I am eager to confront.  When I’m not so sure about winning, then I am more cautious before proceeding.  Which is really the better way to go, because I’m not always right, even though I may think I am.  Can I stop my will to win for the greater good of maintaining a relationship? 

I will let you know…

I pass this life-size dinosaur every day and yet it has been years since I have given it any thought.  Until the other day when I passed Tyrannosaurus Rex all dressed up for Halloween and as so, is always dressed head to toe for every worthy occasion.  However, it is on this occasion that I took notice of three things:

1.  There is a life-size 20 foot tall T-Rex on the corner of a major intersection

2.  He is holding a small sign that reads “Boo”

3.  He is holding a large plastic orange pumpkin bucket

T Rex represents all those false thoughts that and those negative beliefs that we work so hard to let go of.  If we do not make a deliberate effort to conquer the ugly chatter in our head (slay the dragon, so to speak), those thoughts and beliefs are as real as T Rex, teeth bared, poised for destruction.  We may not be prepared for a fight or flight situation, instead we run and hide leaving those thoughts and beliefs stronger than before.  Say we manage to be strong enough to overcome the ugly chatter and have slipped by the large carnivorous dinosaur on the corner.  Does T Rex give up that easily?

T Rex is also holding a small sign that reads “Boo” … This sign is our small quiet voice that questions our decisions, pushes us to ignore our intuition, and go along even though we don’t agree.

Last but not least is the large orange pumpkin; T Rex is clearly expecting something.  Remember back to our trick or treating days.  Why did we carry the biggest plastic pumpkin we could find?  We were hoping for lots of candy!  Do not forget, the tradition is trick OR treat, historically it wasn’t guaranteed you would get a treat, tricks were included and feared.

Here is T Rex, with his sign and pumpkin bucket expecting you to fill it.  Fill with what?  Tricks, big scary ones, destruction and despair are his favorite snacks. 

The tricks are those vague thoughts about lack, failure and disappointment casually tossed into the bucket.   To turn those tricks into treats, we must challenge ourselves, “Is this true?”, and “If it’s true, how often?  Every time?  Once in a while?” and “How did I overcome this situation the last time it happened” We have to remember how truly amazing and strong we are or we’re the only ones getting tricked.

So when we hear the question “Trick or Treat”, remember it’s our choice.