Do you feel like the same person you were at the age of five? Or the same person you were at seven? I mean on the inside of course. But do you feel close to that person in that tiny body?
I was pondering this recently. The five year year old me in her bright red wellington boots is someone I am still quite impressed by. I know in some ways, she/I have had to “grow up” in a sense. Perhaps fundamentally with regards to not seeing/judging everything and everyone as black /white….good/bad….right/wrong. As I grew and learnt, I did have to become a little more reasonable than perhaps I was as a little girl.
I remember some of the things I said to others – especially adults – when I was a child. My goodness – I was cheeky – I did not know that back then of course, I was just telling them that they were bad people because they were doing something bad. That is the way I saw it.
But during my childhood, I learnt about things like forgiveness and repentance. I thought these were beautiful, but I found them hard to apply to examples of bad people I knew of. My mumma found me sitting in bed one night and saying outloud, “All you have to do is say you are sorry and really mean it, and never do bad things ever again.” When she asked me who I was talking to, apparently I told her I wanted Satan to hear me. I gave up on him when I realized just how wicked he is.
I have so much admiration for the five year old me, for the seven year old me, for the nine year old me. She was seriously switched on. She saw through the words that adults told her and questioned their motive.
I am deeply fond of her because her dreams were noble, and I know that she has steered the course of my life in so many ways. She had a dream of the way this earth should be, the way the human family should be, and her dreams were so beautiful that the woman she became has never abandoned them and still works toward them becoming a reality.
This is a subject that is interesting to me. I read an article about lying recently. It quoted some statistics about how many of us lie regularly. It also discussed the many reasons people may lie. I found it rather thought provoking because there is no doubt that some people us lies in a very sinister way, whereas for most of us, lying is often a weakness in a moment of fear or panic.
People lie for many different reasons.
I think that some lie about their abilities in order to get ahead in the world. Others try to cover up errors or guilt with lies. I think some lie out of fear of being caught or exposed for a mistake they have made. Some falsify reports, resumes, forms and tax returns. Then there are those who maliciously lie (slander) to damage another’s reputation, cowardly lie to avoid embarrassment, lie in a calculated manner to justify previous lies, or deviously to defraud people of their money – we call them swindlers or scammers. Some feel there are legitimate excuses for a lie if it protects another person. They hope that a so-called “white lie” is acceptable because they think it does not injure anyone.
I think some are so afraid of truth, or prefer to believe lies, their life has become a lacy lattice of interlocking lies that are hard to untangle.
Now I am convinced that almost everyone on the planet has lied out of fear, embarrassment or thinking that it will perhaps protect someone from being hurt. But I think there are a smaller number who wilfully set out to deceive others in order to take advantage of their trust, to gain some profit or power over them, and to hide their selfish motives.
I am proud of the many times I have refused to lie in a situation when it was clearly wrong. For example, when I worked in finance, my manager threatened me when she demanded I lie to a client in order to deliberately deceive them. When I refused she was furious and stated that the job description included being willing to lie. I stood my ground much to her obvious annoyance. Some time later she was amongst a number of staff who were dismissed for gross negligence and dishonesty when the company was embezzled and lost around £1,000,000.
I have definitely withheld the truth at times. But my conscience is mostly clean regarding those occasions. For example, I do not like to tell friends here in London what happened to me the night I was attacked. Very few know. Many have asked me probing questions because they wonder why I disappeared for a year. Many believe my disappearance was in connection with my ex-flatmate Jack (which it partly is) or they presume the rumours were true that I was having an affair with a married man. I have chosen not to fight those untruths by opening up my tale of woe to everyone. I have withheld the truth. My family, my close friends, the directors I worked with – they know because I needed their help in order to deal with everything. But I just don’t feel that everyone is entitled to the truth – in some respects, it is none of their business.
But what I do remember is the first time I told an outright dishonest lie for selfish reasons and how my parents helped me to realize it was wrong. And now Crushed Caramel will confess the biggest lie – an outright fib that I told, and I was only around five years of age at the time:
It all started when I went into my brother’s bedroom. To this day, my memory of the first outright lie I told is vivid, and the way my parents tackled that dishonesty is even more a deep part of who I am as a person.
Now I was very aware of the rule that my parents had set. We were not allowed to go into my brother’s room without his permission (a rule that had been made after previous invasions). But I broke this rule and crept into my brother’s room. I was fascinated by my brother’s belongings. He was eight years older than me. He was a very good artist. He had these little bottles of ink on his desk. I could not resist playing with them. I also found his magnifying glass and played with that until I was bored. Then I noticed next to the lamp on his desk there was some money. I took it. It was not a huge amount, perhaps £2 or £3. I slipped out of my brother’s room before I was discovered thinking that I had got away with it.
Some time later, I heard a sound that always made me and my sisters excited. I rushed to my parents and asked them of we could have an ice-cream from the ice-cream van which was playing it’s song in the street outside. My parents said not this time. Then I asked if I could go and buy one for myself with my own money. They asked where my money had come from.
I lied, “I found it.”
“Where did you find it Mel?”
“It was on the floor outside.”
“How much did you find Mel?”
I told them how much I had and I could see my brother shooting looks at my parents. They did not react. They started to ask me if I had been painting that day. Well, I did not have any paints. There were paints at school, but we did not have any for us little ones at home. So I told them it was my felt-tips. I should have known right then that I had been caught out.
“Mel…have you been into your brother’s room?”
“Noooooo!” I fibbed again! My brother looked so cheesed off. But he waited for my parents.
“It’s just that when your brother went into his room a while ago some of his inks for painting had been spilt on his desk and chair and on the carpet and were on the handle of his magnifying glass. Is there any possibility that you might have been there – just for five minutes?”
“It wasn’t me. I didn’t go in.”
“There was some money missing from his room as well.”
…well, I couldn’t bear it much longer. I came clean. I admitted that I had been in my brother’s room and took the money. It took me longer to admit that I played with his inks though.
My parents sat down and reasoned with me. I remember what they said quite clearly actually. I did not understand why it was wrong to take something that did not belong to me. They wanted me to think of examples of people who took something that did not belong to them and what were the results. Now although I was a little girl, I was well read for my age. My first answer was Achan. Then I said Adam and Eve. Then I said Satan. I was devastated. My little conscience beat me severely. Mum and Dad had to cheer me up. They helped me see I had a choice though. Now that I had grasped how wrong it was, the question was would I do it again? Or would I make sure I did not repeat my action? If I had another opportunity to take something that did not belong to me, and the thought of taking it came into my head – what would I do with that thought? Would i keep on thinking about it? Or would I push that thought out of my head?
They confirmed that it is wrong to take something that belongs to someone else without their permission. Of course, I returned my brother’s money. I was told again that I must not go into my brother’s room without his permission. Funny enough, after that day, I was never tempted to steal anything ever again. I learnt that lesson at the age of five. My parents had got through to my heart the lesson that stealing was wrong. Better to enjoy treats with a good conscience, treats that did not come through dishonest means.
I think they had to work on my heart on other occasions until I grasped that lying was wrong. But I remember their patient way of sitting down and asking questions to determine how much we understood our own actions and whether we appreciated why what we had done was wrong. My little conscience was wide awake.
I learnt that it is very uncomfortable to have your conscience telling you what you did was wrong. I also learnt that the peace and happiness that come with doing the right thing are tremendous. I am so glad my parents helped me to grasp the conscience I had within me.
But I am so glad that my parents did help me to reason as a very small child on what was right and wrong. They helped me to understand when I had done something was wrong why it was wrong. They helped me to see that I had a choice – would I do it again? Or would I repeat my action? They helped me to see I could learn to control any wrong thoughts or desires and that there is a special happiness from choosing to do the right thing. I learnt that life is so much happier with a good conscience. An inner judge that says “Well done Caramel, good girl!”
It’s been an eventful week! So I am late again with this week’s SHARE-YOUR-WORLD post. I love the chance to share a little of my view of the world at large and my own little but lovely world. The questions from Melanie, the creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind, are always just too good to resist. So I had to make sure I finished my post before the weekend was through. Here is Melanie’s original post, so you can take a look at the original questions and all the great posts from other bloggers who participate in SHARE-YOUR-WORLD:
Are we losing the art of listening in comparison to simply hearing?
Yes, this is an interesting question indeed.
I always understood the word “listening” to mean that you hear and act, or hear and obey. In fact somewhere I have read that in some ancient languages the same word was used for “listen” and “obey”. I always thought hearing could be more passive. Whereas, I have always understood the process of listening to demand that you fix your attention on something and respond or act on what is heard.
There is a lot of noise in this world, it’s hard to avoid hearing that “noise”. But to choose to fix your attention on something or someone and to heed such…well, that can require some effort and conscious choice.
Someone might think they are listening…however, there is so much bias and prejudice in their heart, they are only mentally arguing regarding what they have heard. (Which might not seem like a bad thing, if it seems utter nonsense.) So, it can take great effort to prepare yourself to listen with retention.
A very skilled listener may also be able to not just hear and respond to the words spoken, but to discern the tone of voice and other indicators of what a person is actually feeling…regardless of their choice of words. I often think of my parents. They were very good at listening. Even when I didn’t say how I felt or voice my concerns, they knew something was wrong and they listened to what I was and wasn’t telling them. They were deeply interested. Someone who is really interested in something or someone tends to be a much better listener.
Listening is a marvellous skill…to be cultivated and trained. It can mean your very life!
How often do you openly discuss with friends or here in WP with your readership topics that make you feel uncomfortable or may be taboo or stigma laden?
Oh my friends and I discuss all sorts of fascinating subjects! There are no limits to the topics and subjects we handle.
Hmm.I would say that my site is on the whole light-hearted and lively. I hope you find CRUSHED CARAMEL (LEARNER AT LOVE) that way. But I am not afraid of interesting questions. I am aware that on certain subjects there are diverse opinions, and I do appreciate that in stating my own opinion on a matter, there is a possibility that someone who disagrees with such may feel alienated.
Sometimes other bloggers might raise interesting questions, and I may choose to attempt to provide an answer. But I would be cautious. Whenever these “provoking” questions come up, I do try to be careful and considerate. I would not wish to be belligerent or cause any offence.
Do you think that these discussions should be freely discussed and written about more?
Hmm. I am not afraid of engaging in subjects that are difficult to discuss, because I am careful in how I approach them. However, if you tackle a subject and express your opinions in a manner that could cause someone else to feel threatened and intimidated, or offended, well, naturally you may expect to lose some readers. You can decide for yourself whether you care about that. I am sure that the main reason that I am invited to so many dinner parties is that I have that training in tact, discretion, diplomacy that means I can be at any dinner table, and part of any discussion without causing any offense or embarrassment.
I am careful to remember that a person may have deeply treasured beliefs and views that are holding them together, and that have helped them to endure all manner of challenges in their life. Their faith and their hope may be very sacred to them. Presenting your own beliefs or views in a respectful and reasonable manner allows someone to consider them. Make your expressions palatable though. If you deliver your opinions like punches…you’ll entertain those of like-mind, and alienate others.
It is cruel to turn on someone else’s deeply treasured views with a sledge-hammer and leave them with nothing. If you are the kind of debater that aggressively seeks to demolish all other possible opinions that differ from your own and have no regard for causing another person to crumble…well – I hardly know what to say to you! Maybe that’s why I don’t see you at dinner parties! I wonder if it is really more important to win arguments or win hearts. Is it more important to always be right, or to be kind?
Did you have a nickname as a child and if so, what was [or what is it now]?
I needed a tomboy name. Melody is rather girly. Jo seemed more fitting for my character. I was a tree-climbing, football playing, pond-wading, scaffolding invading, rope swinging kind of a girl.
Jo is part of my middle name. So Jo it was.
Why is there still ‘stuff’ we simply just don’t understand despite our progressive world?
“Progressive” – I am not so sure that is the word that would come to my mind when I contemplate this “world”. I consider it more along the lines of “lost” and “estranged” from our Creator. Trying to learn about creation, while ignoring the purpose of the Designer and Creator, is always going to lead humans to wrong conclusions, some of which are very harmful.
Humankind are crying out for help. I have every confidence that we will learn and understand and progress forever, under the loving guidance of our Creator. We are all learners at love.
What is your most essential kitchen tool? (Can be a person you know. For the non-cooks in the crowd).
I absolutely love my food processor. I love making hummus and pesto. I love making coleslaw and being able to make biscuit crumbs for the base of cheese-cakes so quickly.
Who is one blogger you really admire and why?
There are so many bloggers who I admire for all sorts of reasons. It is really hard to single out one. So I will give you three for a start. If you follow their blogs and have any idea of their personalities and qualities…you will know exactly why I mention them. But I could easily supply another thirty bloggers who I truly admire.
Are you one of those curious types who wants me to give a reason for why I have mentioned these three…well, I will try to explain. We all face challenges at some point, I draw huge encouragement and inspiration from the way people deal with challenges they have faced. Endurance, determination, fighting spirit…and a remarkable way of communicating and chronicling how they have dealt with challenges. Hats off ladies – you are all awesome!
I have been working on a new series of posts which I am going to publish next week.
I started writing about a subject I that I have kept suppressed within me for a long time. Not the night I was the victim of a crime, not the year I spent with family recovering from my injuries and the trauma of what had happened – but the six months after that. My first six months back in London.
Let me tell you – they were pretty terrible really. I did not realize how much that was the case at the time. As I have been writing about those six months, I have felt rather horrified at how incredibly vulnerable I was at that time.
I am much stronger now. I pity that woman who was trying to get back on her feet but had some horrible challenges to deal with. I am going to publish some of the experiences I had to deal with. When you read them, you might scratch your head at my reaction to the challenges I faced. But please remember that I am relating to you how an extremely vulnerable me acted – not the me I am now.
The two years before I was attacked (during which I was teased, taunted, shunned, essentially bullied and eventually maliciously slandered) had crushed my self-confidence. The year after I was attacked sheltered me from the world outside and I lost a lot of my ability to deal with challenges. I have been reading back the posts I have completed so far and it really is strange to realize the depth of my vulnerability then. But in some ways – I had to get through that awful achey shaky breaky period to develop some strength again.
Starting with my first job back in London, next week I am going to publish one post a day in the series:
Just about to leave the safety of my sweet little abode to head down the hill to my new job – aaaaaaagh! Terrified! But as you know…I am pretty certain I made the right decision to leave behind me a situation that made me feel like one of those poor battery hens.
Photo credit Jill111 @ pixabay.com
Here I go…all dressed up for my first day on the new job, with my bag packed and my shoes all shiny and my hair – well, my hair would not co-operate, but it hardly ever does.
Feeling a bit sick as if I am about to jump from a twig like the birdie above and not sure if I will know quite what to do with my wings!
Thank you for all of the lovely lovely comments of encouragement and support over the weekend. Wish me well…
…who was crushed by a very challenging situation…and then was the victim of a crime…
…but Caramel is all better now! She is loving life, she is singing and living, she is recalling wonderful lessons she has been taught by her family and friends over the years.
There are several ways to navigate this site. Below is a long list of posts in the order they were published. Or if you click the widget box in the top right corner or the screen (those three dots) they should open up the widget menus:
LESSONS FROM OTHER BLOGGERS
LESSONS AS A CHILD
LESSONS AT WORK
LESSONS IN LIFE
LESSONS IN LOVE
SINGING AND LIVING
THE STORM IN A TEA-CUP SERIES
If you click on the icon of me in the top left corner it will take you to the home page which is almost identical to this one.
I truly hope you enjoy this light hearted and joyful site. There are a few weepies along the way, but on the whole, this site is about how wonderful it is to be alive!