Many years ago, I requested that readers share their stories with me so that I could share them with others as a way of letting everyone know that regardless of what you have lived in your life, there are others who have shared the same experience. In the midst of all of the stories that I received, a very unexpected one came to me from Lindsey, a young lady who wrote the following:
I am 12 years old. I am living the life I have always dreamed of, being home schooled gives me the opportunities I never thought possible. Now, I left middle school because of my indifference to those sassy 13 year olds. They think they can do whatever they want. No I don’t think I am a dragon warrior, I am actually quite normal but too different.
I was so astounded that a young lady is living a happy life at her age and has been so appreciative that she is able to share her story with me And the reason is obviously because she has someone in her life that cared enough to not only listen to her but also to hear what she was saying.
“We don’t need someone else to do something for us on this day. We can do something special on this holiday for the most important person and that is ourselves.”Barbara Jacoby
This brought me to memories of my days in junior high and how I always worked so hard to reach perfection but no matter what I did, it never seemed to be enough to receive the praise and attention that I really craved from my parents. These thoughts then took me to a very special Valentine’s Day dinner that I shared with my parents many years later. As we were discussing many things from the past, I raised the point that as I was growing up, I felt that I was pretty much ignored and did not receive the attention that my older sister and younger brother had always received. My parents actually agreed that this was true and for that, I will always be grateful so that I don’t think it was just my childish imagination.
You see, I was that middle child whose younger sibling came along only 16 months after me. Therefore, as my parents explained, there was never time for me to be the baby. As we grew up, I always did well in whatever I pursued so they did not need to spend the time with me that they needed to give to my sister and brother.
I could go on and on but there is no need to do so because the message is that the most important thing that anyone can do for their children is to give time and attention to each and everyone of them in accordance with their individual needs. Had I been recognized for my achievements along the way rather than just having my parents expect them of me and ignoring them and me as a result, I would have had a much better self image. But when you do your best and no one ever acknowledges it, you feel like you can’t live up to your parents’ expectations and therefore, have low self-esteem, even when it isn’t justified.
Lindsey’s story helped me to understand some things about myself that I had not understood before and hopefully will help other parents to take a second look at the interactions between themselves and their children. But, it also taught me something else that comes to mind every Valentine’s Day. We don’t need someone else to do something for us on this day. We can do something special on this holiday for the most important person and that is ourselves. And as a matter of fact, we can do the same thing on every other day of the year as well as true love for others can only be given if we first love the person that we are, not only on this holiday but every day of the year.
Barbara Jacoby is an award winning blogger that has contributed her writings to multiple online publications that have touched readers worldwide.