Trial Balloon

Trial Balloon: February 11, 2010 Archive

Extraordinary Moments

Posted at 5:14 AM on February 11, 2010 by Radio Heartlander (48 Comments)
Filed under: Guest Bloggers

From the Desk of the Heartlanders
Guest Blogger - Renee

There are things that happen and leave no discernible trace,
are not spoken or written of, though it would be very wrong
to say that subsequent events go on indifferently, all the
same, as though such things had never been.
A.S. Byatt, Possession

Yesterday, Joanne sparked some memories of choices made along the way when she wrote about "the road not taken".

I have always been fascinated by these moments of decision, and how persons and events align to point us in one life direction or another. I have also noticed that these seminal events or people sometimes can be modest or even inconsequential in others' eyes, yet have great influence on us.

In my own case, I knew for years, even in elementary school, that I wanted to be a psychologist. I can identify only two events that pushed me in that direction. Both were very significant to me, although no one else seemed to notice.

I clearly recall designing my first, formal behavioral intervention when I was six during the first week of First Grade. I noticed that the girl sitting next to me sucked her thumb. I was horrified for her, and worried about the teasing and humiliation I was sure she would be subjected to, so I said to her, "You need to stop sucking your thumb. I'll help you stop. Ever time I see you suck your thumb, I'll pull your hair." Oddly enough, she agreed, and I proceeded to yank whenever I noticed the target behavior. I remember being so excited when I noticed a decrease in thumb sucking as the first days of school progressed, and was equally disappointed when the teacher, for no good reason I could think of, changed the seating chart and she was out of my reach. The girl in question went on to be my very best friend and godmother to my children. She has no recollection of our plan or the hair pulling.

The second event that pushed me toward my profession occurred in Sixth Grade, when my teacher, who read aloud to the class each day, chose to read Dibs in Search of Self by noted Play Therapist, Virginia Axline. It chronicles the course of therapy by Dr. Axline with a very emotionally disturbed child. The book is a pretty strange choice to read to a bunch of sixth graders, but when I heard her read that book, I decided then and there that I had found my calling. I don't know if any one else in that class liked the book or even remembers it-my best friend certainly doesn't.

Is there a moment in your personal history that was by all appearances ordinary to those around you, but turned out to be influential to you in a significant way?

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