In one word, how would you describe your childhood?

As adults we feel like we’ve got everything figured out even though we’re often pretty lost. No matter how old we get we still have to figure things out as we go. Life is always a surprise and something that requires adaptation. But when you’ve spent decades on Earth, it’s normal to think you’ve got things under control. As adults we often think we know best for not just ourselves but the whole world. I often find myself thinking that some of the biggest problems in life could be fixed if everyone just listened to me. And that’s a really outlandish thought to have. There have been many more smart and innovative people before us. If they weren’t able to easily solve the world’s biggest problems, than chances are they aren’t as simple as they look. But with age comes wisdom, and with wisdom sometimes comes pride. You can find that trait in many parents and adults that abuse their authority.

But as kids, we’re just as smart and innovative as adults. The only difference is we don’t walk around thinking we run the whole world. We don’t go around imposing our thoughts and ideas just because we’re older than someone else. Rather as kids, we’re more intrigued with the world. We usually spend time learning more about the world and how it works. And we don’t much about ourselves and what we like when we’re kids. So even though we might be the same people from two years old, to twenty years old, there’s a stark difference between the experience. The way we experience the world as kids is completely different than how we experience the world as adults. Our childhood often gets overlooked by the things we experience as adults and on. But their both important because they both make a difference in who we are and what we believe about the world. You should think about your childhood and how it developed you as a person. So in one word, how would you describe your childhood?

Here’s a short story on the one word I would use to describe my childhood.

One word to describe an entire childhood is a very tall order. Or maybe I should say that’s a very short order. My childhood has consisted of many different phases like most other people. There were times when things were lighthearted and positive. Then there were times that it was less than ideal. There was a lot of ups and downs. And there were some special defining moments. There’s just a huge range of different things that went on in my life as a child. And I know I’m not the only one that feels that way. Nonetheless, the task is to pick one simple word. And for that I took some time to think about the many areas of my life as a kid. And I thought about all the many different words that could describe it. It was a whole encyclopedia worth of words. But after some deep thought I’ve come up with one single word that I think applies to most every part in my childhood. Here’s a couple stories to explain.

I remember hearing from my parents that I should always listen to my elders. We’ve all heard that at least once or twice in our lives. And it’s most often told to us when we’re kids. And that was something my parents and teachers told me many times. And I wasn’t a troublemaker so I just ran with it. If that’s what they wanted me to do that’s what I would do. But when I was in school as a kid, I often had lots of questions. I would be very intrigued by different subjects and want to learn more than what was being taught at the moment. I would sit in class and soak up all the knowledge. Then I would go home and think about every little angle I could synthesize on the subject. I would go into school the next day with a whole book full of questions. And most of the questions were really thought-provoking ones. I remember one day, asking the science teacher about the solar system.

She explained the basics of Pluto, Mars, the order, and all those cute things. But I would immediately put my hand up and ask, which planet is most likely to have foreign life. She would guess. I would ask which planet is most likely for us to be able to live on. She would guess saying something like Mars. I would challenge the teacher and ask her questions like why not Pluto. She would say it’s too far. I would say I didn’t ask based on how far. Every planet is far. I asked based on the conditions of the planet. It was pretty stressful for the teacher in hindsight. But in the moment, I was just an intrigued kid that wanted to learn more about the world. And I was just trying to learn by asking my elder the questions that were on my mind. Ultimately, my parents and teachers looked at as disruptive. I was challenging the authority of the teachers and adults that were older than me. And I was taught specifically not to do that.

I remember other times in school when there was a big field trip coming up. I would get excited for the field trip and ask my mom to pack my lunch. She would give me money, medicine, and my lunch. I would go on the field trip and be happy to get out of the school for once. I was able to learn about the solar system by looking at the stars and constellations at a planetarium. It was a pretty cool experience. But when it was time to find somewhere to sleep, it was always a little difficult. I wouldn’t be comfortable in the bed that I was given. And I would be stuck in a room with fifteen other guys that wanted to talk about girls and sports. I would be on my top bunk bed twisting and turning trying to get comfortable. Then I would go into a full blown pain crises in the middle of the night. I would take my meds and hope to feel better.

But instead I would be up all night trying to stay quiet and not make too much noise. I would never go to the teacher because I didn’t want others to worry about me. By the time I got home I would be in so much pain that my mom would rush me to the hospital. My parents would tell me I have to tell the teachers when I’m in pain. But I never did. It was a challenge sitting in intense pain but I didn’t want anyone to be sorry for me. So I just sucked it up day after day. I would be in the hospital in so much pain and missing the rest of the field trip. I would hate sitting there in the hospital bed. I would look around and wonder why I was the one who was in pain. Why couldn’t it be someone else that dealt with this pain? I didn’t know any better. I just struggled to get through the pain and down moments. I would get letters from all my friends at school and it would make me smile. But I would really be fighting just to make it back to school. It was a real challenge.

That is why the one word I would use to describe my childhood is, “challenging”. It’s a simple word that describes many different aspects of my childhood. The first aspect is how I approached the world. I would look at things and observe how it works. Then I would challenge everything about what I learned. That’s how I learned things as I child. I challenged my parents, my teachers, my friends, and even myself. I was a challenging kid. But on the other hand, I also dealt with a lot of challenges. When things got tough it was never easy for me. I always kept a smile on my face and tried to act like everything was alright. But those days and long nights in pain were never easy to deal with. Those long weeks and months in the hospital was always a challenge to my health but also to my peace of mind. I was challenged many times throughout my life as a kid. Challenging. That was my childhood.

But through those challenges, I’ve learned to always rise to the occasion!

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