My son has an apple shaped wall clock I let him play with. I figure he might learn something from it so I let him have at it. Today he was actually all but chasing my daughter around the living room wanting to show her “7 o’clock”. Now, I know he doesn’t know how to tell time on a regular clock. He barely knows how on a digital.
I remember that no one taught me to tell time on a regular clock until I was closer to 9 or 10, I decided to give him an early lesson. I know he won’t retain much of it, but something might stick for the next time I try to show him. I point out the big hand and the little one and how if the little hand is on a number and the big hand is on 12 then it is that number o’clock. We went through it a few times. He understood some, but I am not going to beat it into him. He will just remember something the next time I sit down with him.
Then I recalled who actually taught me to tell time. It was my first step-mother. She died of cancer when I was 15 and sometimes I wonder what else she could have taught me that no one else bothered. I remember it like it was yesterday. I think she bought me a new watch and she was disappointed that I didn’t know how to use it. So, she sat me down with what I guess you could say was a mantle clock and proceeded to show me the hours and minutes and how to know what was what. It would still take me years to get the hang of it, but eventually I did.
After this memory I began to remember why I didn’t know how to read time. It was because my mother moved us around so much…and usually during the school year…that at one point when we were supposed to learn I missed it. The class I left didn’t hit time yet, and the one I went to already covered it. I was left in limbo without knowing how to tell time.
I often wonder what else I missed from moving like we did. By the time I was in 6th grade I had moved about 6 times…all of those times I remember that it was during the school year. I remember my mother talking about moving to Florida when I was in High School and I told her that I wouldn’t go with her…I would find a friend to live with so I could at least graduate at the same school I had attended the past few years.
Another thing I remember is barely doing well in school. It makes sense seeing it here written out, but my mom never made the connection. She was always mad at me for not “living up to my potential”. I was a C-D student and even failed the 7th grade and had to go to summer school to make it up. At least I was a poor student until High school. Freshman year was tough…but I have to say with the exception of one class my freshman and sophomore year I was a A-B student and many times made the honor roll and Principal’s List.
Even so, the years of moving around and not learning things I should have learned (I didn’t really learn to count money until my first job at 17) made me very insecure in my intelligence and though I had dreams of going to college and becoming an archaeologist or paleontologist…I never felt secure enough to pursue those dreams. I stumbled through my early school career so how could I possibly go to college? This, among other things, has led to a lifetime of thinking I was never good enough and felt I was never able to anything.
It’s time to stop thinking of myself as not good enough. It’s time to start looking at what I want to do and go for it…even if it means a little more work and preparation. It’s time to think better of myself and what I can do. It’s time to leave the past there and look forward to the future.