Childhood Lessons for Adult Life

“When I was a child, I spake as a  child, I thought as a child, I understood as a child. But when I became a man, I put away childish things.” 1 Corinthians 13:11

When I was younger, this bible verse was quoted often in my presence. So much, I thought when I became an adult everything I was taught as a child would be null and void. In my mind, life would start over and a new set of rules would start to apply. All the lessons I learned would be a distant memory and if ever I thought to revisit them I would be considered childish. Little did I know, some of the first things I learned as a child would be applicable for appropriate functioning for the rest of my days. Five of the greatest lessons I learned, I learned before the age of ten. Those lessons became life long lessons and included:

  1. You have to wait your turn. – From the very beginning of our lives, we were taught to wait. We had to wait to be fed, changed and cleaned because we weren’t capable of doing it for ourselves. Starting preschool, we were taught to wait our turn in line for the use of the restroom, the water fountain, and even obtaining a lunch tray. As life went on, we strived to become adults that could do things on our own terms. But the reality of it is, we still have to wait our turn. Nothing happens overnight, so no matter how hard you’ve worked to achieve something, it won’t happen until it’s your turn.
  2.  First impressions are lasting impressions. – My parents were really strict about physical presentation growing up. We constantly got the lecture about leaving the house with “good” underwear on just in case something happened. Clothes had to be ironed, matching and suitable for wherever we were going. Two years ago, I interviewed for a position. After accepting the position and coming on board, the leader took the time to introduce me to the team. In her introduction she stated, “I was impressed with her from the very beginning. The fact that she showed up for her interview in a suit set her apart from everybody else before she said anything in her interview.” We are all familiar with the saying, “Dress the way you want to be addressed.” If you want people to take you seriously, you can’t dress like life is one big joke.
  3. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you. – I was always the rebellious child growing up. I refused to dance to someone else’s tune. When I did not agree with my parents, I was not afraid  to let them know there was a clear discordance between their thoughts and mine. Because of my nonconformist ways, my dad would often tell me if I didn’t like his rules or agree with him/them, I could pack my stuff and leave. He would also say, “If you think there’s somebody out there that can treat you better, go stay with them.” Now, I was nobody’s fool. There is not a greater love on this earth than the love of your parents (well, in most cases). I was a little unruly but I was not crazy. As an adult, I understand which side my bread is buttered on. And though I still disagree with people everyday, there’s a respectful way to approach situations that won’t cause people to close the door on you.
  4. Fake it till you make it. – My teachers would tell me this all the time. Never being afraid or ashamed to say I didn’t understand something, sometimes my teacher would simply say, “You gotta learn to fake it till you make it.” Now this was a great idea for writing and speaking assignments but math???! I just couldn’t fake it. As an adult, everything I’m interested in, I’ve learned enough about it to fake it until Ican gain access or have a level of success. And trust me, “faking it” has benefits!
  5. Don’t look back. – I started running track at the age of six. One of the first lessons taught was to never look back. My coach emphasized this would take away from my performance because of the effort it took to look around. He would tell me that every time I looked back I was possibly adding one second to my time and taking away from what could be my best performance. As I got older, I realized this applied to life. I had to remind myself to stop looking back, stop reliving my mistakes mentally and physically, and stop taking away from the present because of the past.

Lord knows I tried to run from the rules of my childhood. I wanted to leave my parent’s house and live it up. I figured as an adult, I could forget all the tunes I was taught and truly dance to my own beat. However, when I find myself backed into a corner, I immediately go back to the rules of old. I realize these rules were more about respect and consideration of others. They were designed to bring out the best in me and those around me.

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