Friday, November 30, 2012

Childhood Scars

Almost every kid has a collection of scars from their childhood.  What kind of scars will your children have?

I have a little round scar on my knee where I fell riding my bike in the driveway when I was about 7 years old.  I'm sure my brother and I were building ramps or jumping potholes - rarely were we just sedately cruising around...  
I have scars on my wrist and little stitch scars near my elbow from the time I crashed through the glass door at my grandparents' house.  I don't remember how old I was at the time (I think about 9) but certainly old enough to have known better.  My aunt and I were running through the house and she had become tired of my pestering and threatened to hit me with the phone book.  I ran toward the door to go out and when the heel of my hand hit the latch it slid off through the glass and my momentum carried me in a spectacular movie-worthy leap through flying glass shards onto the porch.  (Its a good story to scare the kids when they start tearing around too much in the house...)
I have a scar on my chin from when I was 17 and literally got kicked in the face by my horse...no joke...  We had been hauling our horses out west for a couple of days and when we got to our campsite in North Dakota when let them out in a paddock to play.  They were still playing when I went in the pen to lounge my old boy and he tossed up his heels in play right about the same time I took a step forward.  I thought for a minute my nose was broke.  I had a three-inch hole all the way through the skin between my lower lip and chin and my jaw was compressed (couple of teeth chipped too).  Some stitches and a few more adventures but in the end all was good.  I had my senior pictures three weeks later when I got home - thankfully they air brushed the scar out but my mom has the proofs that show the scar.  Another good story for scaring the kids into listening and being careful around the critters.
Then there are the internal scars.  Those are the ones that are the hardest to explain.  And the hardest to forget.  They are buried in there with the good memories and the values and other things we learn as kids.  They rear their ugly forms at the most stressful moments.  Sometimes they can be held back and other times they cause me to react in ways that only make sense if you know my history.

Sometimes these scars are inflected intentionally, other times, we just don't understand the impact we have on our children's beautiful minds and hearts.  
I see a lot of people fight in front of their kids.  I mean name-calling, sometimes drunken, accusatory, down-right dirty fighting.  Not disagreements or discussions.  Fights - where the goal is to injure and conquer and win no matter the cost - including no matter the cost to the children.  And the scars that result are many - these children learn to fight dirty, they learn that degrading their spouse is OK, these kids learn things about their parents that they shouldn't have to know, they feel the need to choose a side in the fight, they learn it doesn't matter how the other person is left feeling - it just matters that you won, and on and on...

I see people calling their ex's out online over custody battles and child support and doing basically all the things they did and said in person online now that they can no longer have that person there in front of them.  Posting details on blogs and FaceBook and through emails that they would never say in front of their children.
Realize this - those things will be circulated (don't kid yourself - someone always forwards it to someone else...) and that those children will someday do a curiosity Google search by name and see all that you've put out there for the world.  But they won't just see the negative things the other parent is accused of - they will see the ugly side of you.  They will see that instead of trying to calm down a situation and work for the best interest of your child for the long term, you wanted to win.  You wanted to be right.  You wanted everyone to know that your ex was a scumbag or a looney or whatever term you choose and agree with you.  And maybe they are a terrible person - but that doesn't make the scars you are creating for your child right.

3 comments:

Full Circle Creations said...

Great post and well said!

Carole said...

Hi there, just letting you know that you are in my Featured Personal Blog sidebar for December/January on Carole's Chatter. Have a great week.

April S. said...

Thank you both so much!