Monday, May 22, 2006

A Sheltered Childhood Isn't So Bad

I grew up fairly sheltered as a child. I did go to public school, but I was so horribly shy, I didn't really get to know my peers and what was "in" at the time. At home, I wasn't allowed outside unless supervised and usually it was for chores. I couldn't watch mainstream TV, movies, read mainstream books, or listen to mainstream music. My dad worked 3rd shift and my mom isn't much of a social person, so I didn't have friends over much. For the most part, it was my 3 brothers, my sister and me.

Some may contend that this is not good for a child. It keeps them out of the loop and alienated from the rest of the world. As I look back, I can see how being sheltered in those ways actually helped mold me in a way that I wouldn't want to change.

You see, we were expected to do chores, and because of this, I know how to garden, can, cook, etc. I have an appreciation for these things and being more self-sufficeint.

Not being allowed to partake in the mainstream didn't close doors. It opened them. I enjoyed classical music, folk music, music that my grandparents grew up with, and fell in love with showtunes and celtic music. I watched old movies all the time and LOVED them. I knew kids who actually grew bored and stir crazy watching a black and white movie because there wasn't enough in your face action and wildness. They couldn't sit still and appreciate the story . I could. I talk to older folks now, and they can't believe I know about Edgar Bergan and Charlie McCarthy. They're amazed when I sing old Dean Martin or Andrews Sisters songs. My car audio collection includes the Glen Miller Band, country music, celtic music and yes, even Skynyrd. My radio is either tuned to the classical station, the country station or conservative talk radio. (Our local "Christian" radio station plays a lot of false doctrine programs).

Although it took me many years to shoo away my shyness and make friends, being sheltered and depending on my family has made us all VERY close. And we're all unique, too. My oldest brother is a minister who loves classical music and JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis and wearing sweater vests and he likes chopping wood. My next older brother is a cop, wants to raise reindeer, loves VW's, played high school football, and loves bands like Boston, America, Fleetwood Mac, etc. My little brother loves video games, is majoring in linguistics, has a very eclectic CD collection, and is into sci fi and even writes sci fi. My kid sister is very artistic and unique. She doesn't march to the beat of a different drum. She marches to the beat of a drum she made herself! She wants to be a stay at home wife and mother.

We didn't leech onto the mainstream fads and gigs. We learned to think for ourselves and revel in our individuality. We were and are true individuals. We stood out among our peers at school. We didn't follow the same mainstream path as everyone else. We branched out and explored new venues. And I believe that's truly one of the reasons why we're all so happy and successful.

I'm glad I wasn't allowed to conform. Thanks Mom and Dad.


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