Monday, June 12, 2006

Paying Attention

Sitting in school I would hear them say, “Pay attention.” I would sit up straight and listen. Then I grew up, and friends told me things like, “It was school. I knew I was supposed to be bored.”

That threw me. Was I bored? I didn’t think so. I was odd and off thinking. My mom was often told if only . . . If I would use my mind, I was, after all, the smartest girl in the room. I didn’t know that. What did that mean? I paid my attention. Didn't I?

It cost me hours of sitting up straight and listening. I paid. It cost.

I tried talking, but I was always talking about things that were things that no one else had thought about. They never paid attention. It cost me some embarassment.

So I went back to paying attention. That’s what they mean by a penny for your thoughts. It costs to think your own thoughts when no one really wants to listen.

Luckily I could go home to a wealth of conversation with my dad who would pay heed to what his little girl was saying. So I could give him a piece of my mind along with a generous helping of my heart.
−me strauss Letting me be


michaelm said...

I'm sure you realize how fortunate you were to have someone to "run to".
Many kids don't and in the end their "penny jar" is virtually empty. Tragic.
My mom would ask me that same question on a daily basis. It seems ironic that in her last days a million pennies would buy nothing at all. That's Alzheimer's; the ultimate robber of the cent.


ME Strauss said...

Ah! That awful disease. I've seen what it does to people. I think we were better off before it had a name and we sat watching, waiting wondering whether this was the next stage. I'm sorry you lost your mother that way, while she lost herself in the process.

Jennifer said...

It's nice to be able to have someone to share all those thoughts with. Even when I didn't want to share them they were there listening, coxing, caring.

ME Strauss said...

Hi Jennifer,
Now there will be kids sharing thoughts about what they did all day with you. When does school start?

jason evans said...

I know that feeling. Except the isolation at home grew worse than at school.

The private time the teachers spent with me was wonderful, though.

ME Strauss said...

People don't pay enough attention to the right things, it seems. That's why I quit multitasking. One thing at time seems to help. I still don't pay attention to the right things, but at least when I pay attention, I'm giving it my all.

Mama Mouse said...

I was a shy child .. raised by a Catholic mom and grandmother ... taught by Catholic nuns (for TEN years). I was taught to 'listen to your elders' ... 'pay attention' ... 'you (eveyone NOT them) are not smart enough to understand because you are a child' or in the case of the nuns, because I was not a priest or a nun.

I was brain washed ... and I stayed in that state until I got married. THEN all I had been taught came into question and my mind FINALLY woke up. I found out I think differently than most people. To me two and two do NOT necessarily make four.

I never paid attention ... why did I need to ... after all everything was black and white and layed out before me on a silver platter. Or so THEY thought. I didn't know till after I was a mother that my own mother also had thoughts that veered from what SHE was taught, but was so dominated by her mother that she never was able to break free till her mother died.

ME Strauss said...

Oh mama,
no wonder. You understand. You have space for other people for the same reasons I do. I'm talking to you in my thoughts. I hope you hear me. I know you do.

Marti said...

I absolutely LOVED school! I got such a thrill from learning and pleasing the teacher! My folks were decent, hard-working folk, but they had little interest in esoteric discussions LOL

I am 100% empathetic with this post! LOL Thank you for sharing - magnificent as always!

ME Strauss said...

You are such a joy! Your energy always makes me smile, and always comes just when I need it. You are like magic that way.

Jennifer said...

I start in september - college level. Right now it'll just be one evening class (since I am still working full time).

I'll get experience with this (have something I can put on my resume). I'm excited.

ME Strauss said...

That will be so cool!
Wish I could be the grown up lady in your class that screwed up the grading curve. :)