Question of the Month: Heal

by Susan Henderson on May 4, 2009

Say you come across a kid who hurts the way you did as a child. Tell me what you’d say or do that might make a difference to him. Or, to put it another way, what’s the thing you wish someone had done for you?

Wednesday, Lac Su will be here to discuss his memoir, I LOVE YOUS ARE FOR WHITE PEOPLE, and I’ve asked him this question. I hope you’ll be back to hear his answer.

Oh, and P.S. I’m reading at KGB with the marvelous Kim Chinquee Friday, May 22nd. Hope to see some of you there!

One more P.S. I know there aren’t a lot of TV watchers here, but if you happen to watch American Idol, one of the remaining contestants, Adam Lambert, belongs to friends of LitPark, Eber Lambert and Amy Wallen. Feel free to vote for him on Tuesday!

{ 72 comments… read them below or add one }

Margy May 4, 2009 at 1:12 am

I DID stop and tell a little girl several years ago,that I had worn a patch on my eye when I was her age too. At the time, I was a skinny and beautiful size four with no corrective lenses at all, and that seemed to be all she needed to hear. She beamed at me like I was Glinda the Good Witch, and she knew she would be okay.


DarylDarko May 4, 2009 at 1:40 am

Availability seems to be a big issue regarding how I was able to deal with the loss of my father at the age of 11. No one was available to replace him for me. A step father came along, male teachers I admired came along, iconic figures in the distant world came along but none of them were available to be to me what I needed them to be. Present. Interested. Participative. So I started a journey through life in which I had to figure things out on my own. Somehow I was born optimistic and overcame the negatives stacked against me, to a degree at least, and have survived to be 50 years old. What I would tell an 11 year old boy that just lost his father and had a lifetime of the questions about life, companionship, and how to become someone when you don’t have a personal mentor to model yourself after anymore? “Blessings child, this too shall pass.”


Nathalie May 4, 2009 at 7:32 am

I suspect I’d be rather clueless for it would be a rather absurd flight of imagination to try and pretend I suffered as a child (even as a teenager. Angst a bit, but nothing beyond the normal healthy bouts).

But your question brought back to memory this letter sent by Stephen Fry to his younger self (apparently an answer to a letter his younger self once wrote to the older man he is now), which is a good example:


SusanHenderson May 4, 2009 at 8:10 am

Nathalie, that letter is a gift. God. I’m printing it and so in love with Stephen Fry right now. Love that he addresses it: Dearest absurd child. Thanks for this. I’m going to re-read it next break I have today.


SusanHenderson May 4, 2009 at 8:14 am

Oh, I know, how lifesaving would it be if there were someone consistently present and interested? You’re kind not to tell that 11-year-old that no one was ever available like he needed and he’d have to go it alone. Sometimes it’s the hope that you might get what you want that keeps you going forward, you know?

Glad you’re here, Daryl.


SusanHenderson May 4, 2009 at 8:15 am

Love to here that you reached out like this. If you have a picture of you with the patch, feel free to link it here!


Nathalie May 4, 2009 at 8:17 am

I’ve been in love with him ever since I stumbled upon this video:


billie May 4, 2009 at 8:29 am

I think if something is going to hurt, we should tell children that and help them prepare for how much. In everything from getting a shot to losing a pet to dealing with parental divorce. I had a pretty good childhood but some early medical issues and a history of medical professionals and my mother telling me I was being silly about needles because they didn’t hurt that much. Guess who has to have valium this Friday at the dentist b/c I still can’t deal with needles? It’s no longer the pain – it’s the whole gestalt of betrayal I felt as a child.

I have spent most of my career as a psychotherapist working with traumatized children (mostly sexual abuse, but other traumas as well) and they all need to hear, on some level, that it’s not their fault and that yes, many things do hurt. (and so let’s sort out what hurts and how much and figure out how to manage it the best possible way)


SusanHenderson May 4, 2009 at 9:09 am

More people should describe themselves as fluffy and moist.


SusanHenderson May 4, 2009 at 9:12 am

Oh, I wish I could remember what I was reading just a couple of months ago that confirmed what you said here. I don’t even know if it was an article or a book, but it was someone who had gone through a long hospital stay and … oh, wait, I think it was a Ted video. Let me track it down. Maybe you’ll be inspired by it to write your own story or to do a series of photos.

(I worked in the sexual abuse field, too. Mostly teenagers. But my youngest was 6.)


SusanHenderson May 4, 2009 at 9:18 am
Kimberly May 4, 2009 at 11:14 am

It might sounds totally bizarre to say this (esp for people who only know me peripherally) but the ungotten gift that I would want to give a child is strength and self-confidence.

I’m a voyeur, so no matter how often I heard the words: “You’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and gosh-darn it, people like you” the people I heard those words from were also the ones who I would watch as they looked into the mirror and said to themselves: “You’re stupid, fat, and a bore.” So those were the learned self-descriptors I left home with – never the empty praises.

I would like to think that now, several thousand therapy-spent dollars later, the simple act of removing self-deprecating language and behavior from my daily routine will one day reflect upon someone else.

And if I were to see a child repeating those same self-hating patterns? Gosh. I don’t know what I’d say that could change those stubborn, destructive thoughts. But I bet baking something together would be involved.


SusanHenderson May 4, 2009 at 12:25 pm

Aw, you hit my soft spot. I think I may have to answer your note here with my monthly wrap…


Aurelio May 4, 2009 at 1:11 pm

I’m not sure how to answer this one. I was a middle-child who felt pretty invisible, so simple acknowledgment of my being would have probably been enough, but that lack of visibility gave me tenacity and drove me to work harder and achieve more than I might have otherwise, I think, so I’m not sure if it wasn’t good, in a back-handed way, that I didn’t get all sorts of praise or encouragement or attention as a child.

I think if I were to be around a child, I’d want to really try to know them, to simply be there with them, not prejudge them, or try to make them into what I think they should be, but keep them from getting too distracted by their weaknesses and watch for their gifts to emerge, and be a dependable audience to their process of becoming themselves.


terrybain May 4, 2009 at 2:22 pm

K. I think I got “Like” turned off for the good of the community. Let me know if it breaks something else.


Lance Reynald May 4, 2009 at 2:30 pm

possibly one of the hardest questions you’ve ever hit me with.

hindsight being what it is I like to believe that a mix of visibility and acceptance is what a kid might need. The validation of someone simply saying “it is ok to be You, you don’t have to be someone or something else”…

with that said,

it took years of searching, lots of therapy, countless mistakes, estrangement, love, loss, books and even a novel to bring me to a place where I feel like it is ok to be me… and I still fear that I will disappoint someone (usually myself) ….and have yet to really find any external reassurance that can make any of those voices in my head stop telling me that I shouldn’t be me…

so… do any of us ever really hear the things that can change us?

and…would such a thing change the drive?


notmoro May 4, 2009 at 3:02 pm

Hi. Found my way here thanks to Nathalie.

My mom used to say something to me– constantly, like a mantra– when I was a teenager that went “You’re-independent-and-capable-and-intelligent-and-loving-and-kind-and-you-have-a-lot-of-courage.” I very rarely believed it when she said it, and it didn’t necessarily make the bad head gremlins– the ones which say it’s not okay to be me– go away. But it’s in there, and it’s my mom’s voice, murmuring quietly in the background like an old radio someone forgot to turn off. Most of the time I don’t hear it, but occasionally I do, and sometimes it’s enough to make me pick up and do something independent, capable, intelligent, loving, kind or courageous which I might not have done otherwise. The point being that I think sometimes general reinforcement can be as effective as heartfelt sincerity (though, in Mom’s case, I believe it was both).

That said, I think Billie made an excellent point with respect to kids’ need to hear that it’s not their fault. Without it you (read: I) carry this inescapable feeling on into adulthood that you may have done or said something terrible which you have yet to discover, and which no one’s telling you– or that you might, at any moment, and not know it. Makes it hard to talk to people at parties.


Nathalie May 4, 2009 at 3:08 pm

Watching this video regularly can help boost someone’s good feelings about themselves I think. Because if we can’t love ourselves, how can we expect anybody else to do so?


Nathalie May 4, 2009 at 3:10 pm

Ha haaa!
I knew one day you would sneak in here…


notmoro May 4, 2009 at 3:13 pm

It’s you and your wicked ‘fluence. I can’t resist your hat. 😉


Juliet May 4, 2009 at 5:57 pm

I often wish I could go back in time, sit next to my child-self and tell her:
1. You are right. This is not the way it was supposed to be. It hurts like a punch in the face to the heart, and you will face this pain often, but it will make you stronger, more beautiful, and scars can be beautiful.
2. Highschool will only be four years out of a long life. Be brave, hold true to you, because boys and friends’ fleeting interest is worth far less than a lifetime of being you. Be honourable, walk with integrity, love richly and deeply and remember: four years. That’s all. You can do it.
3. When it hurts, go ahead and grieve.
4. When they push, push back.
5. Saying “sorry” is only necessary when you are wrong.
6. I KNOW it feels like love, but please, for the love of all future Juliets, do NOT say “I do.” I repeat, do NOT say “I do”.
6. Repeat.


SusanHenderson May 4, 2009 at 7:42 pm

You’re wonderful. Best instincts ever.


SusanHenderson May 4, 2009 at 7:49 pm

Thanks for this, t. And for the tweet.


SusanHenderson May 4, 2009 at 7:51 pm

Speaking of ultra-not-disappointing and being yourself, I started someone’s amazing book today. Will probably finish it tomorrow. What a beautiful heart.


SusanHenderson May 4, 2009 at 7:53 pm

Jess, I’m glad you’re here. (And thanks, Nathalie!) And man, but I love what you say about your mom’s voice murmuring quietly in the background. That comment’s going to be with me a long, long time.


SusanHenderson May 4, 2009 at 7:55 pm

This, and you (especially if you add in the ABBA video, which you should link here): perfect. xo


Lance Reynald May 4, 2009 at 9:06 pm

the Molly Wizenberg?


SusanHenderson May 4, 2009 at 10:48 pm

No, dear retarded one. YOUR book!


Lance Reynald May 4, 2009 at 10:59 pm

lol….oh, THAT book.


Ric May 4, 2009 at 11:26 pm

One of the neighborhood kids, an older friend to my own, I came across him going through that terrible 15 going on 25 rage, busting everything in sight, just lashing out. I watched for awhile, then said, quietly, “Been there, done that, life’s a bitch, but it gets better.” A long pause as he thought about it, then calmly walked into the woods to think.
We never spoke about it again.
He’s 30 now, calls me Dad, and IM’d the other day to say he is going to be a Dad himself.

When I was going through that phase, I got long wondrous letters from an older cousin living in Paris. I never would have made it without her.


Jennifer May 5, 2009 at 4:12 am

I’m here because of Nathalie, too. 🙂

This is a really difficult question, one I keeping getting asked by my therapist, actually, so I thought I’d give answering it a go.

My answer would be pretty much what Aurelio wrote. I’d want to spend the time it took to get to know the child. Help them to know they are valuable and loved. I taught preschool for a few years, and I still love small children. So wise, so full of wonder. They are who they are, and they often have a better idea of what that is (even at three or four!) than the parents and teachers who try to make them conform to certain unrealistic–and unfair–expectations. (I’m not talking about issues of discipline, but personality traits and interests—what makes us individuals, what makes us gifts to the world.)

I was a middle child, too, and was told, growing up, that I was the only one of my sisters that was “planned,” that I was meant to be a certain way. And that way WASN’T “too sensitive, too quiet, too shy” and all the other “toos” that I couldn’t help being. Decades later, my mom explained to me that she said those things to protect me from the cruelty of the world, but her strategy backfired. I became scared to death to show ANYONE my true self; part of me wonders if that’s one of the reasons why I ended up becoming a storyteller. I’m far more comfortable with fictions. In order to function in the world, I carefully crafted a persona, and she was an overachiever, the biggest people-pleaser ever. I learned to work very hard to get the things I wanted, to impress, to help, to smile like there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. To always be good, good, good. I never wanted “praise” (it makes me feel uncomfortable, actually)—I only desired, desperately, to know that someone SAW me. The real me. And I wanted to hear that particular someone say that it was okay to be who I was, that there was nothing “wrong” with me, that I wasn’t “made wrong.”

So that’s what I’d want to do. I’d want to spend time seeing the child, knowing her, and I’d want to tell her that she wasn’t made wrong at all. She’s just exactly who she’s supposed to be, and she always was.


Aurelio May 5, 2009 at 8:09 am

My copy is on order so I have to wait. Go Lance!


Aurelio May 5, 2009 at 8:15 am

I’m in love with his voice, which IS “fluffy and moist.”


Aurelio May 5, 2009 at 8:17 am



SusanHenderson May 5, 2009 at 8:33 am

Oh, what must I do to get you guys to promote your work? Aurelio didn’t even mention this new collection of dark fairy tales, GRIMM AND GRIMMER, featuring one of his stories, as well as one by Gary Wolf (who penned the book that was made into Roger Rabbit):

(Guys, it’s hard enough to get your work published, please don’t be shy about letting everyone know when you have something to share!)


robinslick May 5, 2009 at 8:34 am

My father was the most negative person in the world and each day I was treated to verbal abuse about all of my shortcomings, which lead to a massive inferiority complex which lead to some pretty questionable behavior on my part in my search for “love”. I can remember thinking as early as age 8: I will never be a parent like this. So I’d like to think that this is a promise I’ve kept because I think both of my kids turned out pretty freaking cool and confident.

In other news, Susan, Barry Eisler says Hello!


SusanHenderson May 5, 2009 at 8:36 am

That’s so great when someone doesn’t overreact to a meltdown. Takes all the potential shame out of the experience. Great story, Ric.

How are things going in Michigan?


SusanHenderson May 5, 2009 at 8:41 am

Well, Nathalie just rocks, doesn’t she?

It’s so great to have new voices here! And I love what you and others are reminding me of – that people just want to be noticed and valued and free to be who they are. Cuz what a difference it makes when you find someone who does that!


SusanHenderson May 5, 2009 at 8:48 am

You’ve raised the kindest, smartest, most creative kids. Pretty remarkable that you could just do an about-face with how you were treated.

That link’s not working for me, but I’ll keep trying. Doesn’t Barry have beautiful hair?


SusanHenderson May 5, 2009 at 8:50 am

Link’s working now, and I’ll link it again because it’s really fun and the photos are great!


billie May 5, 2009 at 8:53 am

Susan, what a wonderful talk – thanks for linking it for me!

I wonder if I did a photo series of needles if it would help any. Hadn’t thought of that before. Two interesting developments with me and needles – I had to learn to give two of my horses injections (or pay the vet to come do it every time). The day I learned I was a wreck – physically ill – but I remembered that when I was younger one of the ways I managed to cope with getting shots was to imagine my horse at the time getting a shot, and how he did it w/o fuss or flinching. Thinking of him being so brave helped me turn off the “intensity” for myself. My two horses now are so completely calm about getting the shots, I was able to let them calm me down enough to be able to try it, and then to keep doing it as needed. Now, I can literally walk out to the pasture and administer the shots w/o a halter, w/o anxiety. It’s definitely shifted my experience, but not enough to forego the valium this Friday!

The other thing is just a funny serendipity. My husband works for a major medical company who makes… needles!! Supposedly their mandate is to make the sharpest, least painful instruments. 🙂


robinslick May 5, 2009 at 8:56 am

Yep he does. And he seriously asked about you, Susan. We talked about you for a few minutes. What an interesting man…holy cow. Between him and the Neil Gaiman/Amanda Palmer love story I’m following on Twitter (ha ha – Nathalie will know what I’m talking about), I’ve got enough internet fodder to keep me busy for….well, whenever I am taking a break from writing. (Nathalie: How does he go from a woman who is never seen in public to one who takes photos of herself naked and posts them on twitter? Erm…I’m thinking I know the answer to that…)

Thanks for the kind words about my blog. I wasn’t pimping it here – I just really wanted to tell you that Barry sent his regards.

Oh. One final thing. I just read all the comments here now and realize Kimberly said (much more eloquently) exactly what I did. Amazing how our parents can screw us up…from the time my kids were born, I literally showered them with compliments and self-confidence because I was so desperate they would not turn out like me. So yes, that’s definitely MAJOR.


SusanHenderson May 5, 2009 at 9:02 am

Yeah, he used to be a spy, etc. Wish he’d write a memoir.


SusanHenderson May 5, 2009 at 9:07 am

Oh, you absolutely have to do the photo series of needles now. It’s like they won’t leave you alone.

Now me, on the other hand… When I was a kid (I think it’s been established here that I was a weird kid), I used to love needles and bee stings. And remember that game where people play “farmer” on the inside of your forearm? You get plowed and pelted with hail, etc. I could play that game until my arm was bleeding. The big luxury in my life is acupuncture. Some people buy shoes. I like being stuck with needles.


Malcolm R. Campbell May 5, 2009 at 9:14 am

I would keep silent, giving that child an opportunity to triumph. I grew into myself through every challenge I faced and every hurt that had no closure.


aimeepalooza May 5, 2009 at 10:43 am

Wow, I’m struggling with this question because so much of what I do for my children comes out of the memory of hurt from my childhood.
This question is going to take some time.


notmoro May 5, 2009 at 11:32 am

Thanks for the warm welcome, Susan. I’m looking forward to the Lac Su interview!


Ric May 5, 2009 at 12:17 pm

Michigan is undergoing an identity crisis. All we’ve ever had was the auto industry and it appears that is being taken away from us (Not saying that’s a bad thing, but still….) Everyone in my neighborhood knows someone affected and many are walking around waiting for the other shoe to drop. We’ve been in a recession here for four years now with the highest unemployment, etc. So the general feeling is it can’t get much worse….

On the other hand, for those of us with an optimistic bent, the sun is shining, temp is 65, clear blue Michigan sky, dogwood getting ready to bloom, tulips out, and the green grass of rebirth and renewal all around.


Ric May 5, 2009 at 12:25 pm

Gee, guys, reading over these comments inspired me to call my Mother (who is 85) and say “Thank You”.

My three brothers and I were raised on a farm, and none of us was shown any favoritism (because her parents did, apparently). We didn’t want for anything; we grew healthy and used to hard work; a magical childhood. Anything could be achieved; everything was possible. It was quite a shock to get out into the real world and discover that wasn’t so.

Sure, there were some things I wish had been done differently, but, as Mom says, “You kids didn’t come with a guide book, we did the best we could.”


SusanHenderson May 5, 2009 at 2:03 pm

Lac’s an amazing person, and I’m glad you’ll get to meet him. The interview goes up at midnight.


SusanHenderson May 5, 2009 at 2:08 pm

Isn’t unemployment at something like 12% right now? You know what, though, it reminds me a little bit of Pittsburgh – hopefully a much shorter and less serious decline. But everyone, absolutely everyone, would say Pgh’s a better, prettier city today. But when the steel mills closed and they didn’t yet know what they’d become, that they’d be there at the leading edge of computers and robots and technology, that there would be clean air to breathe, etc, it was pretty scary. Maybe Michigan will be at the head of a new, Green revolution. Or maybe something else entirely. It’s definitely the city that will most show what we’ve lost or gained with the changes that are being made right now. (Hopefully *gained* is the right word.)


SusanHenderson May 5, 2009 at 2:15 pm

You’re right about the triumph and the character-building that tends to come from tough times.


SusanHenderson May 5, 2009 at 2:17 pm

You know, you’re not the first to bring this up, this idea that the hurt you experienced made you the cool and creative person you are now. And maybe why writers are so quick to connect with each other. Though I can’t help but wonder and hope that you can still have a great artist without stomping him to bits when he’s young.


SusanHenderson May 5, 2009 at 2:18 pm

That’s awesome. Here’s to your mom! (And your instinct to call her.)


Aurelio May 5, 2009 at 5:43 pm

Thanks for the plug (okay, and the reprimand too, I suppose – *rolls eyes*)

The book is a lot of fun. Lots of variety of voices and styles, with very entertaining results. Interestingly, mine is about this very blog topic.


Ric May 5, 2009 at 8:32 pm

Gee, guys, reading over these comments inspired me to call my Mother (who is 85) and say “Thank You”.

My three brothers and I were raised on a farm, and none of us was shown any favoritism (because her parents did, apparently). We didn’t want for anything; we grew healthy and used to hard work; a magical childhood. Anything could be achieved; everything was possible. It was quite a shock to get out into the real world and discover that wasn’t so.

Sure, there were some things I wish had been done differently, but, as Mom says, “You kids didn’t come with a guide book, we did the best we could.”


Anonymous May 5, 2009 at 9:32 pm

I learned how to handle hurt and disappointment from my father, who grew up in a poor family in Louisiana during the depression. He’d sit down next to me, usually with something in his hands that he was fiddling with, and without directly looking at me, say something like, “Time was, I was in a position like that. Made me feel XYZ. How about you?” That would give me the opportunity to open up about it. Sometimes, he’d share his experiences, sometimes not. Sometimes, I’d just spill my guts. Other times we’d just sit side by side in silence. What mattered was that I knew he understood, and he didn’t try to fix things for me (unless I asked for help). Too many adults think they have to fix every problem presented to them, when sometimes all that’s needed is someone to listen.


Laura_Benedict May 5, 2009 at 11:52 pm

What a wonderful question. I think I would have to listen–thoroughly and well–before I said anything to that child. As for me, it would have been a kindness for someone to say “Okay, you’ve got our attention. Now, stop doing that before you injure yourself and others!”


Billy Bones May 6, 2009 at 7:57 am

Love the part about pouring emotions into your art. Tremendously good advice. Plus I wouldn’t be around if it wasn’t for that.


SusanHenderson May 6, 2009 at 8:17 am

Yeah, I think it’s the rush to fix things that creates so many of the problems. Sometimes, all you need is someone to sit with you while you cry or vent, and just put a hand on your back and be there, not judging. It’s all the, Did you try this or that, or how can I make you hurry up and not feel this way? that adds a sense of pressure and shame to the mix.


SusanHenderson May 6, 2009 at 8:20 am

Laura! I’m so glad to see you here! And OW that a comment like that would have been an improvement.


SusanHenderson May 6, 2009 at 8:27 am

So glad to see you here, Bones! I think you meant for this comment to go under Lac’s interview, right? I looked through my administrative tools, thinking I had the power to move it there, but I don’t. Can you repost it here so Lac sees it?

Also, tell me, Is your book out yet?


kategray May 6, 2009 at 12:36 pm

I think I’d say to any child, but especially to myself, that it’s important to find someone to talk to. I didn’t really have someone I felt I could tell all the bad things to – teachers were often the sourcepoint of the bullying, my mom was wrapped up in my older brother’s teenaged angst and my younger siblings’ toddlerhood (and she was coping with depression – which I sensed, but couldn’t understand), my dad was often overworked and impatient (and, incidentally, also the parish priest, taking away another place I could have turned to). My parents took me to an “art therapist” at one time – a spectacular failure – but if I had found someone to listen, someone who wouldn’t turn the blame around, or try to fix it even…just being able to share the unhappiness makes it easier to bear.
Obviously, my problems growing up pale in comparison to other stories – but while you’re in it, buried in childhood, everything feels like either the “worst day ever” or its opposite. Kids have no sense of perspective, but adults do.

I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot lately, as I try to deal with my 3 & 7 year olds, their schools, outside activities…it sends me right back to thinking about what would have been helpful for my own parents to have possibly done. I don’t blame them for doing the best that they could, but I sense that I could fall right into the patterns my mom was into of, “just get through the day” – she gave up everything that she enjoyed, worried over everything she couldn’t control, and, I think, hid from life just a little. In myself, I am trying to push outside my comfort zone, and do things I normally get the cold sweats over (not even things like parachuting, either!) – public speaking (with large note to self: BREATHE!!!!), volunteering, signing up for classroom duty, and yes, I even nominated myself for VP of the PTO, even though I have no idea what it’s all about. I think, somewhere in all that, I may take the step of providing a set of listening ears for some lost child out there by mentoring.


SusanHenderson May 6, 2009 at 4:27 pm

Oh, I agree how it’s just about being able to share the unhappiness, even if no one can fix it. And I’m a big believer in not trying to measure one person’s pain against another’s. In fact, I think I’ll talk about this more on Friday…


5speener0 May 8, 2009 at 2:26 pm

Okay, so…a little help from friends never hurts.
This is the title of Aurelio’s story:
Agony & Ecstasy Jones
By Aurelio O’Brien
Explore the magic land of Suburbia, where happiness and conformity can be achieved through miracle potions called Paxil and Ritalin!
This is the link to the book: There’s a big red button at the top of the page that says, “buy this book”, so do it.

Smile, Mr. A!


Jim Nichols May 9, 2009 at 1:12 pm

Late as usual….

I grew up in a family of nine children, where attention was hard to come by (especially with taciturn yankees as parents) and I believe it made me independent and resourceful, but I would have loved to have somebody pick me up in a bear hug occasionally. That’s what I’d do for a kid like me, pick ’em up and swing ’em around and squeeze ’em.


SusanHenderson May 9, 2009 at 9:03 pm

This makes me want to read another one of your books. Anything coming soon?


Jim Nichols May 10, 2009 at 9:56 pm

Well, thanks for asking, Sue (g). I have a novel done and I’m trying to get it out there.


SusanHenderson May 11, 2009 at 8:23 am

I’m looking forward to reading it!


5speener0 May 13, 2009 at 9:08 pm

Later than you, Jim. Oh, well, someone’s got to be last.

I really enjoyed reading all of the posts. I guess we’re all growing and becoming stronger people.

I think that line about “my mother’s voice murmuring in the background” is WONDERFUL. I also loved the idea about scars being beautiful, and I agree with that. The scars (inside and outside) are reminders that we are survivors, that we are resilient and that we can endure pain and negative emotions and live to tell about it (or write about it). Working our way through all the bad stuff helps us with empathy. How could I say to a young person, “I know how you feel” or “I remember when I hurt that bad”, if I haven’t had my share of all that? So, here’s to the scars. We all have them, but we have survived.
I would have to say that the best gift I could give to a young child is to tell it like it’s going to be:

Here’s the way it is, kiddo, and the way it’s going to be. I know it hurts and I know it feels as if the world is ending or that there is not one single person who understands you right now. You are probably right! Most people don’t understand how you feel right now or…they have forgotten.

It really does get better and you really do get stronger and other people do improve; they become kinder and more understanding. Some people never do though, so just know that and get out of their way when they cross your path.

Others will realize how smart you are and how beautiful you are, on the inside and on the outside, given time, so be patient. Don’t let the stupid people who cannot recognize beauty make you feel inferior or not good enough. They are out there and they always will be; some of them will even be in your family! Just don’t let them steal from you the unique and one-of-a-kind person that you are. Be YOU! Continue to grow, to learn, to try new paths and new experiences and continue to become at better YOU.

A wonderful man named Leo Buscaglia wrote a book called “Love”. One day, in my twenties, I remember him sharing a story about an awakening that one of his students had. (This was in one of his “Love” classes.) The most important rule in this class was, when you have a revelation, yell, STOP! One day, a student yelled, STOP!

She shared with the class that she’d just realized that she was a plum!

She’d always been a plum, but had tried to be a cherry or an apricot or an apple, but that she couldn’t be those things, because she was a beautiful, ripe, round, juicy and delicious plum and that this was all she needed to be. One day, she had concluded, someone who had a true appreciation for plums would come by and choose her over all the other fruit.

So, go be a plum, kiddo, or an apple or an apricot or a watermelon or whatever it is that YOU are.

That’s what I’d say, then I’d give that kid a great big squashem hug!


5speener0 May 13, 2009 at 9:11 pm

Smart guy, your dad. Lucky you!


SusanHenderson May 14, 2009 at 7:59 pm



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