What stood out to me in my reading yesterday of The Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships was something that Sean Barron said on page 61, about when he was in nursery school:
“I remember a teacher’s aide in Mrs. Kreidler’s nursery school room, who assigned an art project that was unlike anything I had ever done. Part of the activity required us to use a pair of blunt scissors to cut whatever we drew on the paper. Before that day, I had never used a pair of scissors, and I was almost physically sick at being in a situation that required me to do so. I had no idea how to correctly handle and hold them, let alone cut with them. The aide must have thought I was being stubborn, and challenging her authority, because she yelled at me for not being able to cut whatever I had drawn. I also recall the other kids’ silence as she made clear her scorn.”
That sounds a lot like my own childhood: I was confused and in a fog, teachers were mad at me, and I did not understand why. A lot of the problem was that I was not paying attention, listening, and following instructions, since I was in my own little world. While I was aware enough about my surroundings to do my homework, it did not dawn on me to study for tests. It wasn’t until I was in the fifth grade that I began to really study.
The other kids did not torment me when I was in elementary school, as they did to Sean (which Sean talks about). I was teased more in junior high school, but, when I was in elementary school, the other kids were protective of me because I was smaller than others. In elementary school, there were plenty of times when I preferred to stay indoors alone during recess to catch up on my schoolwork. (I was often behind.) But I also recall a number of times when I socialized with my peers—-playing basketball, soccer, four-square, and tag. (I wasn’t that good at sports, but people let me join in.) Unlike Sean, when I was in elementary school, I did not consciously think about whether or not I fit in. I did fit in, in a sense. My social struggles occurred more from junior high school up to today.