This is going to be a periodic post about the things we believed as children and young adults – or at least some of the things I believed…. Dear reader, please excuse how rambling and disconnected some of these thoughts may seem, they are more words from the heart than the head… I was having a conversation the other day with a very dear friend that I had not seen or talked to in a very, very long time. Our reminiscing brought up some thoughts that have been the inspiration for this and probably a lot of posts to come ….
Like a lot of kids, I used to believe that the older people were, the better decisions that they made. Every year we got smarter and made better, more reasoned decisions. My parents and grandparents were the smartest of all. Of course, you only believe that part until you are about 16, then you are not so sure, but you still want to believe. LOL
Of course I believed that the older you were the better decisions you made, I was raised/conditioned (whatever you want to call it) to believe that, even more than so than "civilian" (non-military) kids. Not only did we (military brats, in general) have the normal childhood/young adult trust & belief in those older than us, but the hierarchy system we grew up in significantly reinforced that. The older you were, the higher rank you were likely to be, so you must be smarter and more trustworthy. I still struggle with that mindset sometimes. There were so many very different, both good and bad, things about the way we as military brats were raised and the environment we were exposed to, it should be expected that we would have a slightly skewed vision of life.
Our views on relationships, marriage and family are just one example of that. When we were kids, how many of our military friends were divorced or single parents in comparison to the norm? I don't know the percentages, but I would imagine it is significantly lower. My take is that we were given some false impressions of what marriage and family should be about. A lot of us had parents who behind closed doors hated each other or were miserable together, but because of what the military expected of them and the benefits of the military lifestyle (especially the officers) they would never consider splitting up. Even those of us who had parents with relatively happy marriages, like me, were indoctrinated with the "impressions are everything" state of mind. I don't blame my previous inability to sustain a successful relationship solely on that upbringing (there were too many other factors that affected it) but it definitely played a part in who I am as a person. To some degree, it still does. the "need to put my best foot forward", to excel, the work ethic, the sociability are partially the Bell & Grubbs (Dad's & Mom's families) heritage and partially the Army brat that grew up inside me.
Now, don't get me wrong. This does not mean that the things we learned and were exposed to were necessarily bad things. They just were what they were. What we take away from them depends on who each of us is inside and how we got there. I personally like to think that my life as an Army brat and my wonderful parents are what has made up the best part of me. The screwed up parts – I'll just blame on my own choices and biology.
So what were some of the things you believed in as a kid? How have those beliefs changed? How did they affect you? What do you believe now? Can't wait to hear what you have to say.
Remember trying to crawl past Granny who we thought was asleep on the couch as we tried to sneak a peak at the gifts under the Christmas Tree? And oh how we giggled all night!!
We grew up with such a strong family influence. And most of the time we were in other states, but we always found time to travel and visit. And we were taught that nothing in life is free, we had to work and earn/deserve it. And if we didn't get what we thought we were supposed to have, we figured out later that we didn't really need it in the first place. And often we forgot about it completely a short time later anyway!!
We were taught to take the bad with the good, and the good with the bad. And I came away with a very strong attitude that everything happens for a reason, we may not always know what the reason is, but we learn it soon enough afterwards. And we never sat around and dwelled on the bad, or on the things that didn't go just like we thought they should have.
I think I still have the same beliefs now that I had as a kid, it's just that my attitude about them has matured, and now as a "middle aged adult" I can sit and reflect on my childhood, and look at those around me, and come away with the comfort and warmth and satisfaction that my childhood was pretty damn good!!!!
God bless you-keep in touch.
And Granny caught us every time! Remember the Christmas with the silly string in our stockings? Granny kept threatening to tan our hides, but she couldn't stop smiling as she said it. Like they say, good, bad or indifferent, they are still your family – Ours is the best! We not only love each other, we actually like each other!
From Tim Bell
Here's another thing that I was thinking of… and now it reminds me that yes… I am Dad!
Growing up, it always seemed that Dad knew everything? Everytime we
turned around, he was quick to correct our errors and always seemed to
be one step ahead of us in answering questions before we could even
complete the question. Guess what? Now that the kids are growing up I
finally learned… he didn't have eyes in the back of his head, and
yes… he did know everything. I find myself doing the same thing with
mine as well. It's not that I know everything by any stretch of the
imagination, but it's that I've lived the experience of growing up, and
grew from it myself. I know the questions they're going to ask before
they ask them. Ask any one of the kids and they'll be quick to tell
you that "Daddy knows everything". Ha-ha!! Ok, so I know it's not
true, but because they haven't learned it themselves yet… yes, I do
know everything… at least for now!! ;~)
Yes Timmy, you are so very much Dad! That's a wonderful thing and your kids are very lucky!
From Vale Okay, Gloria…since you put yourself out
there which is why you really are so adorable, I just have
From Laura W.I
have read both blogs – posts and feel a lot of the same feelings. When
I was growing up it –being the oldest – it was always you are the
oldest you need to lead by example. I agree with Gloria in the fact
that people in the military always stayed married – especially lifers.
The reasons being I was always told and saw was because if you couldn’t
keep your marriage together how could you keep your troops together.
But, I would like to the statistics of the marriage that fell apart
after retirement. Now that they didn’t need to be together for
advancement purposes – did they still keep it together?
on Vale’s thing about being adaptable….I lived in Hawaii for 17 years
as an adult and I would have people tell me that they were a little
amazed how I could be in the warehouse talking broken English to the
Filipino forklift driver and then come on and pick up the phone and be
speaking to the Vice President of Operations at Abbott Laboratories in
perfect English. I told them that it was because of my upraising of
being a military brat that I was able to do that. Being a military
brat and having to change places and lives every 2-3 years you have to
adapt to the culture of where you are living, even if you are in the
– there are still different cultures. Being a brat makes us adaptable
to changes. It had also made us learn to make up our minds fast, we
don’t have a long time to decide if we like or don’t like something.
By the time we decide if we like it – it may be time to leave again.
So we have learned to make up our minds on split second decisions. And
like Vale said – because we are such small group and we had such a
short time to form friendships – I think that we learned at such an
early age to overlook the little things and to accept people for who