Only if I knew it then (Wistfulness)
I remember sitting in a night club in my thirties with a friend and her sister and the subject of “only if I knew it then” came up on men and relationships with them. As with many, there had been some less-than-wise choices along the way for each of us. An epiphany struck then, and I said, “If we knew then what we know now, none of us would have gotten married or had children.” As we all love our children, we had a good laugh and then gave it a respectful acknowledgement.
Life is a package deal. The good, the bad, and the ugly come with it, no matter how wistful we get for a chance to re-do some of those less-than-wise choices. Life is a learn-as-you-go deal, and the mistakes are where much of the learning comes from. Having dynamic conflict along the way gives spice to life.
I do wish I hadn’t sent my sons to public education and wished I would have home-schooled them. I remember when my oldest was just starting kindergarten. I drove him to school each day and waited until he went into the building, from the car. While waiting there was one boy who kept pushing my son down. My son, who was bigger than most of the other kids, was not violent and did not retaliate. Every time the boy pushed him down, he stood back up, mystified at what was happening. Eventually he did push the other boy down, but it was not in anger, more like mimicking the other boy.
Every fiber of my being wanted to jump out of the car while this was going on and put an end to it. Looking back, I understand I made the right choice in letting it work itself out. Everyone learned a lesson from that experience. The boy learned if you push someone enough, they will push back. My son learned that some people will mess with you for no reason. He also learned that a line needs to be drawn at some point. I learned that painful experiences happen to kids at school — and by extension, life — that parents can’t step in and fix.
My sons were indoctrinated in the “facts” they were fed in public school. How the white men invented everything, owned everything, and controlled everything. Everyone else was considered to be bit players in history. The good thing about school is that you’re only there for 8 or so hours a day. The rest of the time you’re at home or out in the world and learning.
My sons made some lifelong friends when they attended public school. In our neighborhood were mostly senior citizens and not many kids their age. If they hadn’t attended school, would they have made these friends? No.
Not all of the kids at school were positive, and my younger son ended up getting bullied in middle school. He went to a school band camp out in the wilderness and fell into an icy lake. Some of the band kids continued to harass him about that for a long time. Another kid kept picking at him in gym class. With that situation, my son had enough and started punching. The coach knew both boys and he knew my son was not a troublemaker, so he got no consequences from the school, and the other boy left him alone after that.
In high school, my younger son had a crush on a girl who was involved in theater and so decided he would be in a play. He was chosen to play Puck in, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” He was excellent in it and the audience responded accordingly.
There are so many more experiences I could relate about the public school experience for my sons. As stated earlier, life is a package deal of good, bad, and ugly. If they hadn’t gone, they would have missed all of those experiences, which I think did a good job of building character for each of them. If they would have been home-schooled, there would have been a different set of the package experiences – but would they be the same people they are today?
How many of us go into situations knowing they are bad or ugly? Hopefully not too many of us. Regardless, these things will happen to us. In my opinion, getting wistful about what-might-have-been-if-only is a waste of time and only drains energy from what could be used for the now.
Reena is the host of Reena’s Exploration Challenge. Reena says:
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