Throwback Thursday #18 – Naughty or Nice?

A side note before I start. My computer finally died today. I am writing this blog totally on my iPad. It is a first for me. Usually I just read and comment on my iPad. It may take longer than usual, but I am sticking to it.

It’s my turn to have you look back into your long-ago memories. My choice this week for the topic on our  Throwback Thursday Memory Blog Hop is memories as a kid when you did something naughty and something nice. Maggie and I rotate posting this challenge every Thursday. Participation is easy. If you want to join in, you can…

  • Write your own post sharing your memories and leave a pingback to this post in the comments.
  • You can use the photo above in your post to make it easier to find.
  • Tag it with #TBTMemory or #IRememberWhen.
  • If you do not wish to write your own post, feel free to tell your story in the comments below.

Memories of being Naughty and Nice as a kid

No one is ever perfect. Kids do things, often egged on by peers and siblings, that they probably shouldn’t do. Kids can also partner with friends to be kind. Parents are often focused on their child’s friends because they want good role models for their kids. No one wants the neighborhood bully as a role model for their sweet baby.

As a child did you consistently get involved with shenanigans? Was there one time when in particular, that you can remember doing something you regretted? Did your parents know, or were you able to keep it a secret?  Were you often mischievous as a child?  Did you change your typical behavior if a birthday or holiday was near, hoping to win the favor of your parents?

Now think about times you were particularly nice. Or think about something someone did for you that was nice, when you were growing up. Did you show off your “niceness” for relatives or adults when asked to be good by your parents?  What characteristics do you think makes a kid “nice?” What about a teenager? Were there different expectations as you grew  up?

My response follows. . . . . . . . . .

The majority of times I got into trouble was when I was with my brothers. I was a follower, not a leader. Most often, it was harmless pranks. When my older brother would ring doorbells and run, I was often the lookout. When my other brother would light small fires on paper out in the empty field, I was the lookout. I don’t recall ever finking on them.  

I do remember stealing a bag of peanut M&Ms when I was about 10. I never told anyone. I felt terribly guilty. I ate half the bag and tossed the rest. I didn’t bug my mom about buying me candy for quite awhile. It felt like I was returning to the scene of the crime.

When my brother and I would go visit my grandparents, we were told to never go to one side of the house. It was a narrow passageway with outlets for the utility readers. My  brother and I would hide there when playing hide and seek. I felt like such a rebel.

I do remember one particular instance when I did something terrible. (At least to me) We had just moved back to Cali after spending a year on the east coast. We were living in an apartment complex in a, not so nice, part of town. One of the other teens offered my brother and me a cigarette. We smoked it, choking and gasping. It was a one-off experience. One of the other kids got caught and ratted us out. The parents came to talk to my mom and stepdad number seven. We heard the parents talking. I told my brother we needed to stick to our story that we never smoked. We were truly afraid of what violence we might incur if we admitted to smoking. We were yelled at for quite awhile, but stuck with our lie. I never smoked a cigarette again.

I don’t recall ever changing my behavior at home. I was the rule follower. I had numerous opportunities to do things wrong, I just chose not to do it. Once as a teen, my mom dropped me and a friend off at the store. Her parents were going to pick us up at a specific time. She decided to shoplift some albums. I wanted nothing to do with it so I went to a different part of the store as she hid them under her coat. As soon as we walked outside, a security man grabbed her by the arm. They didn’t want me. I had to wait for her parents to come. I had to tell them she had been arrested. I had to wait while they sorted it out so I could get a ride home. I have a strong desire to do the right thing.

 I do remember being told to be extra special behaved when going to my grandparent’s house. My mom wanted us to have a relationship with bio-dad’s family. She also wanted them to think she was doing a good job raising us. We were told to not talk about the stepdads coming and going in our lives. I remember being told that it was none of their concern. I also remember feeling shame about keeping secrets from the people I adored. I do remember thinking I wanted them to love me, and it was easy to behave for them. I just avoided my older brother as much as possible. He left me alone while we were there, most of the time.

The nice things I did at home were to try and make things as easy as I could on my mom. The cleaning and laundry were my jobs since I was nine. My brothers were boys, so they didn’t have chores. My mom often worked two or three jobs to keep us fed and clothed. The stepdads never contributed to the household expenses. I knew my mom was stressed and worried most of the time. I felt by being the “good girl” I was being nice to my mom.

The people I remember being nice to me, were teachers. They provided a safe haven for me. They made me enjoy learning. School was easy for me and I wanted to please the teachers so I would do classroom chores to help out. As a teen, being nice meant not joining in on the gossip the popular girls spewed.

It was great in high school having two tight friends. We would help each other out by being there through family dramas and school challenges. It was so nice to have someone who you could do things for and share things with. Being nice to these friends meant changing plans at a moments notice if they needed you. Being nice meant, and still means to me, to think about how what you do effects others. It means to want to bring happiness to others.

This holiday I want to be on the nice list. Being naughty isn’t my gig.