Friday, October 13, 2006

For Want of a Nail...The Kingdom Was Lost

Sometimes you can look back at your life and see that one instant which changed the course of your life, for better or worse. More than likely it was a decision that you made which was the impetus for this change. In my own life I can see the results of decisions that I made which, at the time, seemed minor in importance but proved to be the start of behavioral changes or certain ways of thinking. Sometimes the choices I made kept me on the straight and narrow path while others created downfalls that would last most of my life.

I can remember a couple of key moments in my life, challenges really, which, looking back, I can say I was proud of the way I met them. Little, insignificant things at the time perhaps. Like the time in high school when a lot of the 'macho' guys were talking about all the shoplifting they did and the stuff they had heisted. I wanted to be as macho and cool so into the big department store I went, wandering through the aisles with a large winter coat on with deep pockets. I picked up a pack of inflating needles for my basketball and stuck them in my pocket. The only way out of the store was to go through a checkout line so I waited, intending to just walk through like I decided not to get anything. I had my hand in my pockets and right up to the register I went. At the last second I made my decision. It looked so easy to just keep walking through, but instead I pulled the pack out of my coat and paid for it. No big deal, maybe my friends would have called me 'chicken' had I told them, but I knew as I walked out the store that I did the right thing because, sure enough, I would have tried it again had I made it out the store or felt guilty about it for a long time. Later, when I worked in one of those department stores, I found out that I was probably under surveillance from the minute I walked in. Another time I had a choice to make was when I was offered a joint from one of my friends. I declined. Again, not a big deal, but being brought up in a strict Catholic family I realized(afterward) that I would be turning my back on the values my parents tried to instill in me. Reading a lot of the blogs on here I know that, as someone who's never smoked a joint, I'm probably in the minority, but I think doing something I knew was right is something I can look back on and use as an example to my kids that you don't have to give in to peer pressure.

Of course there were many more moments that I'd rather go back and change. A lot of those came from me sticking my foot in my mouth. I used to be very shy, so once in awhile I'd make a joke around people who didn't know me very well and ended up having them form the wrong opinion of me. That is something that's hard to mend, someone's impression of you. Then when it came to parenting... Wow, so much that I did wrong, especially with my first son. We got no instruction manual with him, yet when we left the hospital I assumed that since I was from a large, loving family that everything would fall into place and there would be no complications, no major decisions that I didn't already foresee. Little did I know that so many of the things I did, or didn't do, would aid in denying him to become the intelligent young man he started out to be. Although I am so proud of him as the grownup he's become and the moral values he lives by, he is someone who graduated school almost illiterate because of the fact that I had more faith in the school system than I should have had, and didn't spend enough time teaching him at home. Although I've tried to change things when it came to my other two sons I still wonder what as yet unseen consequences will emerge of the things I've done or haven't done.


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8:29 PM  

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