Childhood Vows how subtle ways of thinking effect us later in life.
Questioning childhood assumptions is a good place to start. I’m not talking about social and cultural conditioning, which effects all of us. These social and cultural beliefs can be and often are very limiting for us. There was also nuance thinking, unique to me, caused by subtle childhood vows I made. Innocent as they were, they became part of how I saw the world and the people around me. Attitudes were cemented throughout my childhood and teenage years, these moments were like forks in a road. They could have been catastrophic things or traumas, that may have been easier to understand. But these situations I have been thinking about were not significant at the time, but subtly put me onto a certain road for a period of years.
It’s these minor forks in the road, these were the choices I wasn’t aware of making, these choices are the ones that I have taken for granted as part of who I am. I realize now, that some of the forks in the road have caused me to have certain values and principles that I uphold, or have moved away from. This has made me think of the cost I may have paid, or am paying in my life in the present moment.
I’m realistic, I’m not blaming myself or others, the pitfalls in the road are minor setbacks. I’m trying to be more flexible going forward. Often we are so sure of our beliefs, that we defend them and have arguments over them. We are so sure of the correct way to live life, that we look down on others who live and think differently. Liking the people who support our beliefs and disliking the one’s who don’t. We seek and defend the “truth” because we think such a thing really exists.
“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” Marcus Aurelius. There are thousands of remarks and situations we may encounter through our early years. Not every remark in life causes us to make a vow it’s only a decision to be a certain way. Having an attitude towards a certain situation, or no attitude at all. Or a vow is never made because the impression is not strong enough.
These could be some childhood vows that may solidify later. A young boy prepares a speech to give to his class, he’s really excited and his parents realize how important it is to their child. He stands up in front of the class and in his excitement forgets the words he wants to say. The teacher remarks “that wasn’t very good, did you memorize what you were going to say as I asked you to. I’m sure the others will have done what I told them, and not forget their words.” The boy makes a vow to never speak in front of people again, because he feels humiliated. He doesn’t tell anyone, but for the rest of his life, he can never summon up the courage to ever express himself properly around people. Obviously this leads to all sorts of problems.
A young girl is walking down the street with her mother. There is a homeless person begging for money on the sidewalk. The mother tells her daughter that the person is a bum, worthless and no good to anybody. If you don’t work really hard in school and make me happy by being a good girl. You will end up just like that and disappoint your father and me. The young girl makes a vow, I will work extra hard in everything I do. I don’t want to end up like that homeless person or disappoint my parents. She goes on to have a good career, but has little empathy for others, which causes problems in her marriage later on. This vow could have taken the girl in another direction, depending on her perspective. She could have resented her mother for the same remark.
More Childhood vows.
A boy is chastised at school for being untidy and having a messy desk. He makes a vow to be good and never be messy again, always wanting things to be tidy in his life. He ends up avoiding any type of confrontation and maintains order in everything he does. His own children are messy and he finds this extremely hard to deal with, leading to other problems.
A girl is at the outdoor market with her mother. A man is eating a take away, chewing with his mouth open. The mother makes a disparaging remark, “that man is a pig, do you see the way he chews his food, he is no better than an animal.” The girl makes a vow to never be like that, but in doing so, makes constant judgements of others manners. Becoming very dogmatic in her attitudes towards people. She carries this into her relationships, with obvious problems.
My Childhood vows.
I can remember a couple of forks in my road that I believe, had a profound effect on me. My father was reading the local paper, he came across an article about a man who had worked at the same company all his life. He made a remark that he felt sorry for the man, how could he waste his whole life in one place. Never experiencing the world and everything it had to offer. What good was a watch and a retirement party, when he had given up so much. As a result I realized years later, that I made a vow to never be like that man, I would travel and have different jobs and experience as many things as I possibly could.
I have been in the work force for 50 years and have never been in a job for longer than four years. Due to my apprenticeship where I had no other option, but I managed to take time out to travel even then. I married and had two sons, we moved around a lot, working in different places. I look back on that vow today and realize what a profound effect it had on my life. Not only that but other peoples lives as well. Lots of positives though, both my sons are very confident men now, I’m sure that going to different schools, may of helped their confidence. They have both said “thanks, we know what we don’t want, we want to settle and provide a stable life for our own children.” In a counter intuitive way it has all worked out.
We lived in a quiet street in a very conservative town in England, everybody knew each others business and made judgements accordingly. Our next door neighbor who lived on his own for a number of years. Suddenly went to prison for child molestation offences, it was the talk of the street. No smoke without fire of course, but no one knew the full story, unless you believed all the gossip. Evidently something happened, because he returned home a few months later. No one would speak to him and tried to pretend he didn’t exist. My father surprised me with his reaction, much to my mothers distain.
I heard him say “I don’t care what anybody says, he’s a good neighbor and he’s still more than welcome in this house. I’m not going to judge him. While he’s lonely and ostracized and I’m not prepared to stand by and let this situation continue.” They were good friends from that time on and for many years, they had a cup of tea and a chat every afternoon until my father passed away. The vow I made then, not to judge others and help out when I can. Has stayed with me from those teenage years until this day. Those two vows I made, worked out well in the end. Since there were other moments, but as I said before, not every remark makes us take a childhood vow, it comes down to our attitude at the time.