Childhood memories make you

Last Friday evening, my husband and I had a very interesting conversation about our early childhood memories. We mentioned whatever came to mind and then elaborated on the most important memories.
Without question, Howard’s most important memory was the day the whole community gathered to raise the roof on the second floor of his family’s home.
The house had been a bungalow, but the growing family required more room. Local carpenters worked for weeks in the attic, constructing the studs and the walls for the second floor.
Howard, who was five at the time, was very curious about the whole project.
But then the great day came. Early in the morning, the men of the community began to gather. They came with cars and horses and buggies.
When almost 50 men had gathered and every man was in place, the lead carpenter shouted “Heave-Ho!” and altogether they raised the roof a little.
After a short rest came another “Heave-Ho!” and in two hours the roof was up and the walls were in place.
It astonished five-year-old Howard what a community working together could accomplish.
And I understood in a new way his lifetime commitment to community–a community in which people share their lives in many ways.
On the other hand, my memorable memories were calamitous. When I was four, I was swinging a rope around the barn and knocked down some red-powdered medicine for the cows.
I was immediately blinded, and ran flailing and crying toward my parents. In the dim lantern light, my father saw my blood-red tears and exclaimed, “Her eyes are gone.”
And when I was nine, I saw my four-year-old brother hit by a car just in front of our house. I saw the driver carry Jimmy’s lifeless body from the highway and gently place him on the grass, and I ran screaming to the house.
Both of these early memories turned out fine in the end. But for the first time, I understood why I’m such a worry-wart.
This whole conversation began because I had been reading Kevin Leman’s book, “What Your Childhood Memories Say About You . . . and What You Can Do About It.”
Leman, who is an internationally-known psychologist, loves to perform and make people laugh. He credits his love of making people laugh to an early childhood experience when he botched a performance and the crowd roared with laughter.
He decided right then that he wanted to be a clown.
He begins his book with the question, “What are your earliest childhood memories?”
“Tell me two-three childhood memories before age eight,” says Leman, “and I’ll tell you everything about you. Guaranteed.”
So what are your earliest memories and what are your feelings attached to the memory? What was the most vivid part of the memory? How old were you?
And then the most important question of all, what do you think this memory reveals about who you are?
And as you reminisce, share your memories with a family member or with a friend.
Remember that your childhood memories are the key to everything about you–even as an adult.
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist.
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