Lessons learned in youth

As a child, life was a big playground — you were being told that you could be anything you wanted to be.


Graphic by Joshua Awolade
Graphic by Joshua Awolade

As a child, life was a big playground — you were being told that you could be anything you wanted to be. We took life with a light heart, and ultimately the world was ours to imagine.

Discipline was a critical part of childhood. We started by learning how to sit quietly, how to listen to the teacher without interrupting, how to share with others, to wait our turn and how to get along with our peers. What we learned from these things is how to interact within society in an acceptable way.

As we get older we realize we learned these things so we can be decent people. The way we are raised as children shapes who we are and how we think as adults.

But the big question is, do we as adults still hold those values and lessons we learn as children?

Growing up as an only child to a single mother taught me a lot as a person. Not only did I learn how to be creative and imaginative, but I was also taught to be independent, ambitious and strong-minded — all values that I still carry with me today.

To this day every conversation I have with my mother turns into a lesson. I am sure most of us can all relate to this one way or another; what feels like a lecture ends up being a great life lesson.

One of the biggest lessons I learned was that in order to achieve something in life you have to be resilient and persistent, but most importantly, patient.

Everything you receive in life you have to earn because nothing in life comes easily.

These are not the exact words my mom would use to me as a child. Let’s face it, I would not have had a clue what that meant.

But this message is something I learned through discipline. For instance, going into a store and seeing a toy or treat I wanted and every time I would ask I got hit with “no.” And once I started acting up, not only would I get “the look,” but for sure I knew I would not leave that store with a single thing.

But with good behaviour, I knew that a treat would come to me at another time.

When I decoded this scenario, I can see how it related to my life now. Sometimes I want everything and I want it at that moment.

But I realized I have to work at it because that is the only way for me to get what I want.

It doesn’t exactly mean that I cannot or will not get what I desire, it just means that I probably won’t get it instantly.

Ultimately, the things we learn as children may not have a direct impact on our decisions as adults, but these lessons have a subtle influence on how we think about life.

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