I’ve never been a rule-breaker. I don’t like confrontations, I don’t like being yelled at, and I don’t like feeling guilty. My dad, on the other hand, was not like this when he was my age. I have grown up hearing stories about his childhood and exactly how much trouble he got into. He grew up in a suburb of upstate New York in the 1950s and 1960s, and in those times it was acceptable for young kids to hang around, unsupervised, in different areas of the neighborhood. Between ruining the insulation of a newly-built house to dropping objects on top of a moving train, his experiences as a kid could not be any more different than mine.
Whenever I have actually gotten in trouble, I always turn to my dad to make me feel better. Although my “researching” his funny childhood stories haven’t always been for a real purpose, they have always helped me realize that a little bit of trouble isn’t the worst thing in the world. For example, in third grade, my class had a substitute teacher for a few days. None of us liked her, and she wasn’t very invested in the class. For some reason, my classmates and I decided to throw pieces of crayon at each other and at her when she was facing the blackboard. This lasted for about two days, until another teacher found out and sent the whole class to the principal’s office. We all got in trouble, and for me, this felt like the end of the world. One of our punishments was to tell our parents about it too, so of course I was dreading the confrontations and guilt that would come.
When I went home that day to tell my parents at the dinner table, they reacted, for the most part, the way I expected. They told me how disrespectful it was to be throwing things behind a teacher’s back, especially if she was in a new environment that she may not be comfortable in. Later that night though, I talked to my dad more about the whole situation. Though he did not condone my actions, he didn’t condemn them either. Instead, he told me a story from his own childhood. He and his friends were hanging out in their neighborhood one day and decided to explore a house that was in the process of being built. They knew that with workers around they couldn’t do much, so they went back later that night and went inside. The house had just been insulated, so when the boys found out how fun the insulation material was, they took turns running through different pieces. By the time they were done, a few walls of the house had holes in the shape of young boys in them. Obviously someone found out, and eventually the kids got in trouble. The moral of that story, though, is that no matter how much trouble they got in (and by trouble in this case, I mean innocent trouble) they ended up turning out out fine.
Whenever I’m feeling guilty of something that I did wrong, or if I got myself into trouble somehow, I always think about my dad’s stories of his own childhood. Though this definitely isn’t the typical type of “research”, it has impacted me because it gives me perspective about how often times, little experiences (like that one time I threw crayons at my substitute teacher) don’t really matter. As I grow up, I continue to do my research about my parents’ lives because it helps me think about different ways that eventually all lead to a successful path. It’s important for me to know that making mistakes is a part of life, so no matter what happens, I’ll get through it.