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Natural Awakenings Atlanta

The Assumptions and Curiosity of Childhood

Sep 01, 2023 06:00AM ● By Linda Minnick

I had ten brothers and sisters. My parents were bookbinders when books were still being sewn together. After the book bindery closed, my father started working as a bartender at a local family-owned bar and restaurant about two blocks from our house. For as long as I can remember, he worked six days a week with only Sundays off. During the summer, this grueling schedule hardly left any time for family vacations or weekend picnics—with two exceptions.

On the Fourth of July and Labor Day weekend, my dad’s side of the family would have picnics in the park with us. Uncle Frank’s birthday fell on the Fourth of July, and my birthday is September 3, which typically falls on Labor Day weekend. So along with the fried chicken, potato salad, beer and Kool-Aid, there was always birthday cake and ice cream. I knew it was a special time because Daddy and Uncle Frank were both there! Uncle Frank’s birthday, I figured, was so special we even had fireworks! It was so special, I concluded, that everyone took the day off work and celebrated with us—even if they were at their own picnic sites! Until I was nine years old, I assumed Uncle Frank and I must be very important people.

Isn’t it amazing how, as little kids, we deduce things based on the facts as they appear in front of us? Due to our lack of life experience, we conclude things based on what we know. Santa must be real. Mommy told me he was. I wrote him a letter. I got what I asked for!

As we grow up and experience more of life, we begin to recognize that our earlier conclusions might not be accurate or are no longer true, and we begin replacing them with revised thoughts or beliefs. Sometimes discovering these erroneous beliefs is fun, like when I learned that my grandfather really did run away and join the circus—he wasn’t just teasing me.

I’ve found that with the tens of thousands—possibly millions—of thoughts I have, I can’t assume that all of my earlier thoughts and beliefs—erroneous or not—have been edited or corrected as needed. Through the years, I’d find myself thinking or assuming things based on biased beliefs I had formed as a child or young adult. Sometimes those beliefs were still appropriate, but sometimes they weren’t. It took many years for me to acknowledge that my understanding of life—what I held to be true—was influenced by the people, places and things in my world at the time.

As my world expanded, I soon realized that not everyone came from a large, blue-collar family in the Midwest as I did. It took longer, though, for me to realize that not everyone had the same values and beliefs I had. How was I supposed to know that bowling wasn’t everyone’s favorite team sport?

Those summer celebrations of my early years were wonderful experiences, and I looked forward to them every year. But if I’d had any idea of the wonders the world held for me, I would have celebrated my birthday knowing I was one year closer to being a citizen of this amazing place we call Earth.

Many of us are challenged to accept and understand that people are different and that the world around us is not always what we expect. I find it interesting that, while we often insist on holding on to childhood beliefs that no longer serve our growth, we often relinquish that childhood curiosity that kept us asking questions.

What would our lives be like if, instead of listening to our assumptions, we started asking the questions we asked as little kids? “Why?” “When?” “How?” “What?” ❧

Linda Minnick is a speaker, author, life coach and preferred PSYCH-K facilitator. She lives in Roswell with her husband, John. Her most recent book, New Day, New Life, can be found on Amazon.

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