When I was 4 years old, I had a terrifying experience.
I disappointed my Father -- In a BIG Way!
He had spent the day teaching me to count to 100.
So far as I know, it was the first thing he ever taught me in life.
In the 1950's, we didn't go to school until age 6. So, this was a big deal, and he expected a lot of me.
He knew I was bright -- but not nearly as bright as him, of course!
That was because he considered himself to be the smartest person on the planet, and he let everybody know it.
Later, I was to learn that I could never please him, no I matter what I did -- and no matter how hard I tried.
He suffered from "narcissistic personality disorder."
But at age 4, I didn't know that.
I really wanted to please him.
That evening was the big show. He paraded me in front of his friends, telling me to count to 100.
Everything started out fine.
I got through the difficult numbers easily enough – – 11, 12, 13, 15, 20, 30, 50 -- and all was going well.
51, 52, 53 -- now it was going to be easy, logical.
But after getting past 70, I started to get nervous.
What if I were to make a mistake? What if I were to let him down?
And then it happened! I confused 80 and 90!
He was so angry – – so upset!
I knew instantly that he would never forgive me for disappointing him in front of his friends.
Fortunately, my mother divorced him a few years later.
That memory is still poignant, 64 years later.
Some life experiences remain perplexing over the years, simply because we were too young to understand them or to process them at the time.
Nonetheless, they remain important life lessons, pregnant with value, so long as we don't take them too seriously.
I'm a big proponent of loving where we come from - even when it's from a place of pain or suffering, strife or struggle.
Most of us come from some form of family dysfunction growing up, and no one has a “perfect” childhood.
But it’s often the imperfection of life, which stretches us, challenges us, and, in the end, molds us into the unique individuals that we are.
Life is the Greatest Teacher. And in that sense, the “imperfections” of our past experiences, are, in fact, “perfect.”
Our awareness of “mini-traumas” like this, and our choices to see them from a new perspective, give us a way to move beyond them.
It's always interesting to reflect back on such experiences, and to ask ourselves: “What was the gift in that event?” How did it contribute to who I am today?
How did “getting past it” and “moving forward,” make me a better person?
How did it help me grow?
What was the gift in that event?
Sometimes the answers become obvious – and sometimes they remain elusive. But, whatever the case maybe, it's always nourishing to ask these questions and to appreciate the strengths that moved us into a new place of discovery, afterwards.
I believe there’s "Perfection" in our "Imperfection," and that we are all doing the best we can, at all times.
That’s good enough for me. How about for You?
What do You Think?
Did You ever disappoint one or both of Your parents?
I Welcome Your Thoughts and Comments.
Blessings to You & Your Loved Ones,