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From Kindergarten to School

April 30, 2015

Another significant change for me, after dealing with the changes of moving to a new area, was my learning environment. I went from a predominantly English school to one that was mostly Afrikaans. I went from being a bit or a city slicker to attending kindergarten on a farm with sheep, chickens, horses and cows. It took some time to get used to it all but, in retrospect, it was a good change. I remember how the lambs would wait at the gate to greet me as I walked in and my father really enjoyed how I could mimic their noises and make them talk back to me!

On the down side, by the time I was ready for Grade 1, most of the kids I knew from kindergarten went to a different school and I literally walked into class without knowing a single soul. I guess that’s why I went kicking and screaming on my second day! I saw how the other kids mostly knew each other because they were all in kindergarten together but I was the odd one out and that’s really where all the trouble started.

At 7-years-old, the girls at school were already trying to act all prim and proper when I couldn’t give a hoot! I wanted to run, jump and play sports! I enjoyed playing games with the boys more than hanging out with girls who would inevitably end up stabbing me in the back. Once again, this was just the beginning of a nasty cycle that I was in for. The so-called popular kids loved making other kids feel bad and it wasn’t long before I lost my cool and developed a more aggressive approach. Yes, I physically fought back!

Just a few years into my school years, I went through something quite traumatic and I still don’t feel comfortable sharing all the details. I have put them so far in the back of my mind and I just forget rather than trying to deal with it. It was this that really changed me as a person and sent me on somewhat of a downward spiral. I blame nobody except for the one “person” at fault. I say “person” because I do not regard him to be human or worthy of human respect. I also feared opening up to my family for fear that they would not believe me or that they would some how blame or judge me. So I kept silent for years.

Yes, I went through some horrid experiences as a child but I have worked through them in my own way. I eventually opened up to my family with the help of my brother and we struggled through the healing process. At the end of the day, I now know how important it is to always make your child feel like they can talk to you about anything. My bad experiences have given me the insight to tell my daughter every single day (on multiple occasions) that I love her dearly and that she is beautiful, intelligent, funny and creative. When she starts school one day, I want her to be able to talk to me if any of the kids are being nasty to her. I want her to confide in me in a way that I mistakenly believed that I could not confide in my own mother. My mother was there for me but I neglected to go to her when I needed help. I remember the feelings I had and the fear of rejection and judgement on her part which is why I see it as a positive thing. Parenting is not just about knowing what to do but also learning what NOT to do. All parents make mistakes and it is up to all of us to learn from our own errors as well as those of others!

Another significant change for me, after dealing with the changes of moving to a new area, was my learning environment. I went from a predominantly English school to one that was mostly Afrikaans. I went from being a bit or a city slicker to attending kindergarten on a farm with sheep, chickens, horses and cows. It took some time to get used to it all but, in retrospect, it was a good change. I remember how the lambs would wait at the gate to greet me as I walked in and my father really enjoyed how I could mimic their noises and make them talk back to me!

On the down side, by the time I was ready for Grade 1, most of the kids I knew from kindergarten went to a different school and I literally walked into class without knowing a single soul. I guess that’s why I went kicking and screaming on my second day! I saw how the other kids mostly knew each other because they were all in kindergarten together but I was the odd one out and that’s really where all the trouble started.

At 7-years-old, the girls at school were already trying to act all prim and proper when I couldn’t give a hoot! I wanted to run, jump and play sports! I enjoyed playing games with the boys more than hanging out with girls who would inevitably end up stabbing me in the back. Once again, this was just the beginning of a nasty cycle that I was in for. The so-called popular kids loved making other kids feel bad and it wasn’t long before I lost my cool and developed a more aggressive approach. Yes, I physically fought back!

Class photo

Just a few years into my school years, I went through something quite traumatic and I still don’t feel comfortable sharing all the details. I have put them so far in the back of my mind and I just forget rather than trying to deal with it. It was this that really changed me as a person and sent me on somewhat of a downward spiral. I blame nobody except for the one “person” at fault. I say “person” because I do not regard them to be human or worthy of human respect. I also feared opening up to my family for fear that they would not believe me or that they would some how blame or judge me. So I kept silent for years.

Yes, I went through some horrid experiences as a child but I have worked through them in my own way. I eventually opened up to my family with the help of my brother and we struggled through the healing process. At the end of the day, I now know how important it is to always make your child feel like they can talk to you about anything. My bad experiences have given me the insight to tell my daughter every single day (on multiple occasions) that I love her dearly and that she is beautiful, intelligent, funny and creative. When she starts school one day, I want her to be able to talk to me if any of the kids are being nasty to her. I want her to confide in me in a way that I mistakenly believed that I could not confide in my own mother. My mother was there for me but I neglected to go to her when I needed help. I remember the feelings I had and the fear of rejection and judgement on her part which is why I see it as a positive thing. Parenting is not just about knowing what to do but also learning what NOT to do. All parents make mistakes and it is up to all of us to learn from our own errors as well as those of others!

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