Happy Childhood Makes a Happy Person.
Our childhood is our life coaching.
Everything begins in childhood. Like our physical body is programmed in a DNA molecule within a nucleus of a tiny cell, so our attitude to life is programmed in our childhood. Our childhood is our life coaching.
May be this opinion is primitive and very subjective. It is based only on my personal observations. If you see a sarcastic person with bitterness inside, most likely you are going to find out that he was under-cared or even ignored by his parents when a child. Lack of love in one’s childhood will echo in his adulthood.
Not necessarily it will echo negatively. Sometimes such a person acquires the necessity to be caring for his family exactly because he lacked the same. But mostly the person will grow up according a template he got while being built as a character.
I was tremendously lucky to have the best mother in the world. She was a single parent and raised me all by herself. She was a surgeon and she worked long hours. Being a doctor (or an engineer, or a teacher) in a Soviet Union was not the same as in America, or any other capitalistic country. In Soviet Union it meant “lot of respect", but very little money. To raise me while being a single parent, my mother had to work a lot.
It was not customary to have baby-sitters, so I slept in the hospital on a couch when she worked night shifts; I sat in a last row when she was lecturing in college. I was with her at their parties (many doctors and nurses were bringing their kids with them, because if one didn’t have Grandmothers to watch the kids, there was no other choice). Those parties were something to remember- always full of laughter, humor and warm atmosphere. Every summer my mother was taking me travelling, usually it was to the Black Sea resorts. She made a great impact on me and she was the same excellent Grandmother for my son. Here you can read my son’s essay about his Grandma.
Jewish soul always predominates
My mother is Jewish. My father is Russian. My mother refused to marry my Dad as she didn’t want to ruin his career. He was a promising young soviet officer with a bright future. Marrying a Jewish girl who in addition was not a member of the Communist Party was equivalent of a total career crush. My mother loved him and that's why she didn't want to cause him troubles. Frankly speaking I am happy of such. I can’t imagine being raised by a politically correct parent. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Dad and respect him very much, though I grew up without him and got to know him only when I was an adult person.
I took after my Dad in my looks but I have a Jewish soul. I was surrounded by Jewish members of the family, I grew to be proud of my identity. It was not so easy in Soviet reality.
Sometimes I was trashed by kids only for being Jewish. As a rule my offenders were from low uneducated families, neglected by their alcoholic parents. Their parents didn’t have time to raise their kids properly, but for sure they were talking not nice about Jews at home, otherwise where those kids would take it? Everything begins in childhood; envy and hatred are no exception.
The feeling of being proud of my identity didn't come easily.
Though Kazakhstan was not so evidently Anti-Semitic, as some parts of Russia, but still, I had a feeling of a stigma on me being Jewish. It was subconsciously implanted into people’s brains. I remember that I wanted to be a Kazakh, because Kazakh people lived in Kazakhstan and it was their land, their heritage. Russians had Russia, etc. But the Jews were chased from everywhere and by everyone. We didn't know much about Israel and what little we knew was not good. Soviet propaganda didn't leave us choices.
When I was little, I felt that it was better not to advertize that I was Jewish. It is different now, but those days it was almost a shame to be Jewish. Things changed and now it is even fashionable, or at least acceptable to be Jewish.
Look at all those celebrities who try to dig out their Jewish roots. Maybe it is happening because of an amazing progress Israel made as a country.
However, when I was growing it was not easy to be a Jew. I am very grateful to my family and to my mother especially that they taught me how to be proud of your identity even when people around try to offend and insult you just because.
I was raised a happy child and got really right life coaching.
Though I grew up to be proud of my Jewish identity, it was not connected with Judaism at all. Soviet Union was and atheist country and it was implanted into fresh brains from a kindergarten. There was no talking about God or Judaism in my Jewish family, though it seemed that we always knew the dates of Passover (which was called Jewish Pascha) or of a Jewish New Year. This information was passed from one Jewish family to another almost secretly, as a word of mouth, from some old Jews in the area.
Only after we left the Soviet Union and got to have more choices, I started learning the things. I never became religious in a common sense, but it feels that I always was a believer. I have my God inside me and for me it is called conscience that would not allow me to do wrong things or to make bad choices. This is also something I got from my Jewish family in my childhood.
Symbols of Youth organizations of Soviet Union (pins)
First lesson of hypocrisy.
As every child in the Soviet Union, I was raised as an atheist from “young nails”. Kindergarten, pre-school, elementary school, secondary school and high school ( University) had an agenda of implanting in students’ brains socialistic propaganda.
Godless society we were. Vladimir Lenin was our leader!
My family was not religious, but neither it was atheistic. We never talked politics in our family, but later I understood that we were in silent opposition.
I got in trouble first time in a kindergarten. A teacher read to us, 5 year olds, a book of stories about Lenin. He was called “Grandpa Lenin” for those little youngsters, who were brainwashed to love him. Then a teacher was asking questions to check our comprehension.
I don’t know, what I was thinking about and very likely that I just missed the whole idea of the reading. Probably I was not listening at all. At home my mother read me only fairy tales and stories about animals.
In short, when a teacher asked me, “Vera, whom do you love the most?” and the answer, apparently, should had been “I love Grandpa Lenin”, my pink childish mouth betrayed, “I love Mommy the most”. “NO”, yelled the teacher, ”We all love Grandpa Lenin, because thanks to him we have the happiest life in the whole world! VERA! SAY, THAT YOU LOVE GRANDPA LENIN!”.
"I love Grandpa Lenin", pronounced my little mouth. My brain was blank.
So simple….. Just answer what they expect, not what you really think, and you avoid being in trouble.
Hypocrisy lasted through all years of socialistic school. Image of Vladimir Lenin was everywhere.
My childhood was perfect thanks to my mother.
I was raised by a socialistic school in a socialistic country. Someone would think that since it was in a socialistic country, it was like growing up in a jail. We were not hungry, we had roof above our heads, we had books and entertainments, but we were not free in our moves and speeches, we didn't know else.
The comparison might be right in a global meaning. But look at me. I was a happy child, as well as millions of others of my age. I was free inside, inventive in my activities, merry and good hearted.
It was thanks to my mother and to my family, who furnished a happy childhood for me, who bathed me in their love and attention, who taught me dignity, respect and gratefulness by their lives.
One does not need money or expensive gadgets to have a happy childhood.
More by this Author
Have you ever considered hosting an exchange student from a foreign country? Do you know all pros and cons of this step? How to find a student, what to expect and how to manage hosting an exchange student is not that...
I think this picture was taken around the time when Reuven wrote his essay (in 2005) While I was cleaning my files in the computer, I found this essay that my son Reuven wrote when he was a Sophomore in High School....
Wisconsin Dells is a small town with the feel of a big city. Winter or summer, it is the perfect place for a family vacation or business conference. Here are ten ideas to help you plan your trip.