Pride, Ego and Shame  

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There have been a number of posts on here where I've spoken fondly of my childhood. I enjoyed growing up in many ways. I'm not going to say it was perfect, because we all know that it's just not the reality of most childhoods. There are ups and downs that go with any growth. It's never going to be a completely painless process.

While I had a great family unit, that doesn't mean that we had all the material things that make life easier. When I was pretty young, maybe 8 or 9 my dad still had the old manual lawn mower. Now if I got in trouble I would have to mow the lawn with that dang thing. It's not the easiest piece of equipment to push I can tell you that. For those of you that don't know the old reel mowers that were manual were people powered. In other words the faster you pushed the faster the reel turned and cut the grass. If you were lucky you had a really sharp blade. If you were unlucky then it was dull (my dad kept it dull if I was going to mow). We had a dishwasher, her name was Dee and she was my sister, and sometimes it was another guy named (yep you guessed it). We washed the dishes after dinner. Pick up your room or don't have anything was pretty much the mantra around our house.

The point is we did without lots of things that weren't essential. Not just dishwashers and lawn mowers either. We got school clothes once a year and they better last or you would have patches on your pants. For little boys that wasn't a big deal compared to little girls. My sister never said much about it, but looking back I think it bothered her. I know that it bothered my mom, but you do with what you have right?

We were never hungry and we were never meant to feel anything but loved though, and that is something more important than any RC car or video game they could have found for us.

With that type of background I can't understand for the life of me why I have chosen to live as I did for so long. When I was a bit younger and struggling as many young couples do, I would never tell my mom and dad how bad it was. I always made sure we had food on the table, but that doesn't mean that we always had other things that might make life bearable. You know little things, like a phone, or in a few cases power. I'm not saying we lived like cave dwellers. But there were a few occassions when the power was shut off because we just didn't have the money. I was too proud to ask for help from my parents. At the time I chose to put my family through those trials because of Pride or maybe a little shame.

Funny thing was that even though I never admitted to my parents when we were in these situations, they could tell. Maybe the stress on my face sometimes, or maybe my wife said something to them. Regardless of the why I can still remember my mom calling me (yeah we had a phone most of the time) and telling me that she was clearing out the cupboard and had some things that she thought maybe I would want. If not she would just give them to my brother. I would go and get what was basically a care package from mom. She did it in a way to make me not feel like I was taking charity. It's amazing what parents will do to save their kids a little discomfort.

Time moved on and things obviously improved. I have managed to make it out of all that gunk that was basically growing up. I learned a few valuable lessons along the way too. First of all, Top Ramen is indeed the most versatile food ever invented. I'm a Ramen pro and can make at least 2 dozen dishes using it as the main ingredient (look out Iron Chef). Second, if you are in trouble don't be too damned proud to ask for help as long as you realize that it's a temporary thing, and only requires temporary help. Do for yourself when you can. Thrid and most important is I realized that my crappy way of dealing with this was to hide it away from those that cared about me the most. They wanted to help, but because they didn't want to hurt my pride either they didn't step in. Ha ha I guess that makes them enablers... Regardless the lesson to be learned is never be afraid to step out there and ask for help if you really need it. Pride is a dangerous thing. It does far more damage than good in my opinion. It goes both ways, don't assume that somebody doesn't need help just because they won't ask for it. Pride be damned. Offer assistance if someone near and dear to you is in need. Don't be too afraid of hurting the ego of those you love. They will understand eventually that you are only hoping to lend a helping hand.

Pride, Ego and Shame...Three of the worst things in the world sometimes. They are also the three things that taught me the best life lessons I could learn.

Ok, I'm done preaching, so now go back to looking at those really cool pictures from Santa Barbara :)

This entry was posted at Tuesday, March 02, 2010 and is filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

15 comments

I've been lucky... never had to do without... then again, I racked up a lot of debt in the meantime, so I probably should have. I'm like you, I don't like to ask for help. I almost broke down when my parents lent me money last year, but I was glad... I was drowning and they threw out a life line. They haven't held it over my head at all but I hold it over my own head... I hate that I had to borrow from them... and I make sure to let them know that I am still on schedule to pay them back when I said I would.

Your mom sounds like a great lady. I know she certainly raised a great son. Great post Bendigo!

March 2, 2010 at 7:24 PM

I have been lucky to, I don't recall ever having to 'do without' when I was a kid. I was very blessed.
Now, once I got out on my own, and was single in my 20's, I did without for a while...when I visited my parents, I used to try to push out my belly so they wouldn't see how thin I had become.
But it makes you stronger, makes you realize that you can survive.
God bless you!

March 2, 2010 at 8:16 PM

And you think you can't write. Get real man. Some of these posts could be fleshed out and talked about in front of live audiences. That's how good they are.

March 3, 2010 at 5:23 AM

Kristy...The important thing was that you were wise enough to accept the help...I'm sure you will pay them back too!
Thanks, my mom is a pretty great lady :) (the great son..hmmm maybe.lol)

Joe...I had to laugh at the pushed out belly...It's crazy what we will do to avoid the concerned looks..

Ian...Thank you sir...for now I think maybe we will keep em in the blogosphere...lol... Thanks for letting me drop my opinion on your site...Very Much Appreciated !

March 3, 2010 at 5:42 AM

Visiting from over Ian's way...

Beautifully written and Ian is right (but don't tell him I said that. Woudn't want it to go to his head or anything).

While Pride, Ego and Shame at times causes us to learn lessons with much more difficulty than need be, it also shapes us into the adults we have become. They are a bittersweet trio, are they not?

March 3, 2010 at 6:02 AM

You found my blog...so I had to go snooping and find yours. I'm now a follower! Like your blog very much.

March 3, 2010 at 9:11 AM

Humble beginnings help us to develop lifelong skills that enable us to adapt to hard times as they come along in future years. I credit my difficult childhood with making me who I am. It has allowed me to appreciate all that I have now. It also taught me to take care of what I have. Today I see too many privileged kids seeking quick and easy gratification. They never learn those basic values.

March 3, 2010 at 12:08 PM

Reading this makes me think that I am very lucky. Very lucky to have all the stuff I have. Had I been in the same situation as you, I'm pretty sure I would have done the same thing. I would've hid my difficulties out of pride and if I was confronted to the situation tomorrow, I'd do it anyway. Pride can be harmful, but it's so hard to go over it. It takes a lot of strength. I don't like asking for help at all, because I feel in debt of that person; I feel like I owe her. Your story makes me think, really. :P

And I'm not sure the Santa Barbara pictures are doing me any good, because I want to quit everything here and hop on a plane, a bus, a train, or whatever that's going to take me there!! ;)

March 3, 2010 at 3:37 PM

Daffy...Thanks...(promise I won't tell) totally agree bittersweet indeed.

Momma Fargo...Well thanks for following...I enjoyed your post very much:)

Rae...you hit the nail on the head. priveleged kids do seem to lack those core values more often. It's sad really when you think of what great people so many of them are, and sadly how much better they could have been.

Sarah...Just remember that sometimes it's ok to want to handle it all on your own, but you have to get to that point where you know a helping hand is only gonna benefit. I might have a few more pics to put up on the Santa Barbara trip too...Some better full size pics at that. I found a couple of the coast line that were breathtaking, and I'm gonna try and enlarge them just a little bit.

March 3, 2010 at 8:11 PM

Nice post. I learned a couple of these lessons in my very late... late 30's. It's unreal how going without can build character. In the U.S., people are used to getting everything they want immediately, so it's no wonder we're in the mess we currently are.

Everyone I knew growing up was familiar with layaway. Everyone used to put 20% minimum down when buying a house, and going out to eat was a special treat. Heck.. I only recently fully embraced my old man's words of wisdom he constantly pounded into my head as a kid..... "DEBT is Bad". Better late than never right?

You've got a great blog here. Thanks for stopping by mine!

March 3, 2010 at 8:34 PM

Darrin...Agreed...Layaway...whatever happened to that? I remember 20% being the minimum they would ask for on the house too....great points...

Thanks for stopping by..I enjoyed your blog...good stuff going on over there for sure.

March 3, 2010 at 9:00 PM

You are a wise man. I am going through some of what you once had to myself right now. Not going to complain because we aren't going hungry, but I know what pride can do as well: it can make me starve :)

And that's never going to happen you hear me?? I like food too damned much!

Jokes aside, I think what you are talking about here is important and true. Most people who love you WANT to help, so if you need it once in a while, let them.

xoxo

March 4, 2010 at 8:37 AM

You're so lucky to have such great parents! As parents, the best thing we can do it make sure that our children feel loved....

March 4, 2010 at 11:34 AM

Wow, that is the first thing I have to say. I had a similar childhood but a little more lenient than yours when it came to chores. I had an gas powered mower. =)

But really reading this post I walk away with great advice. I know during earlier relationships I tended to use my pride as a shield but now as a father of two I will keep your words with me and never allow my family to suffer because of my own ego. Thank you!

My Thoughts

March 4, 2010 at 12:08 PM

I completely understand why I blog now..it's cause all of you guys just get it...How friggin cool is that...

March 5, 2010 at 9:25 PM

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