In Kindergarten, when it was somebody’s birthday, the teachers used to get a nice piece of chocolate, a big biscuit or a piece of cake. The kids got a tiny sweet little sweetie. Nice....better than nothing.....but not awesome or life changing.
My lovely teacher sometimes put some of those biscuits and cakes in a special box and whenever any of the kids was very sad, had an accident or did something extraordinary like saving another kid from an early death she took out “the box” and the kid could pick whatever she liked from the box!
Remember it was 1958....I never had anything like cakes or biscuits, except on the odd birthday party, once or twice a year.This particular day my teacher got a very special treat. She got a chocoprince. I had never ever seen anything like this. In a golden wrap. It was the most irrisistable, the most inaccessible and unattainable thing I had ever noticed. And yet... it was so close!
NeverbeforedidIfeelsuchadesiretodoanything(yesanything)toGET THE CHOCOPRINCE.For the first time in my life I really consciously had to make a plan, do the chosen action steps and then pick up my reward. For the first time in my life I felt a sense of focus, concentration and serious urge to make this happen.
My small 4 year old mind had to work over hours (while pretending to play with the dolls and the other toddlers)becauseIhadmadeupmymind.THIS CHOCOPRINCE WILL BE MINE!AndI have to act quickly before some accident happens and somebody else walks away with my gorgeous prince!
I figured out there was a pretty high success rate but it would all depend on how I would perform the action steps and how conscientious I would be during the moment of eh......truth...
The plan was to pick some bricks from the box of bricks in the boys’ corner, hide them carefully (actually in my underpants) until the end of the day when we would get summoned to put all the toys back in the boxes. (I can still remember the weird feeling of bricks in my pants all day long). When the teacher would notice the missing bricks she would make us all look for them and the chance of there being a reward for the finder (me) would be pretty high. No sooner said than done. I was clever enough to realize that the search for the bricks had to be intense and long, otherwise there would be little chance of getting the reward. So I was pretending to search, under the tables, behind the cupboards, everywhere. I finally hid myself in a cupboard (because I had to get into my pants and nobody was to see that of course) until I thought the moment would arrive that my teacher would give up the search........and at that moment I jumped up, the bricks in my hands: “I found them, here in this hidden little corner of the cupboard!!!” And yes... I could pick up my prize, I got to chose from the box, full of less interesting pieces of biscuit and cake and on top of it: My Prince. During my walk home (yes, in 1958 most toddlers just walked home from kindergarten) I enjoyed my Prince, I felt on top of the world and I was extremely surprised and amazed (and at the same time feeling very guilty) about the easy success I had this day. Of course there should have been a real accident or heroic act and not a fake one. I was very very aware of that! And of course I could not share my moment of fame with anybody because I knew this was both a victory and a crime! Now this is where a belief of victory feeling like guilt has been created. Right at that moment when I walked home from school, enjoying (and not enjoying) my Choco Prince! Only 45 years after that event I could let go of wanting to feel guilty whenever I was celebrating a success! What a relief!
This story shows how I connected the awesome feeling of victory with feeling guilty. Do you have a story like this? I would love to hear from you!