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.