Who taught you?

A few months ago, I came across a post on Instagram that really resonated with me and made me think about my own life experiences.

The post stated “my son is left-handed. My nanny keeps trying to correct him; “Don’t use your left hand”, “Don’t collect things with your left hand”. Today I asked her “why is it bad?”. Her reply: “They said it is not good, that’s how they taught us”.

Reading this post really made me think about how I had gone through this exact same thing as a child. I was left-handed but over time, through correction and scolding from my parents and adults around me, I eventually gave in and changed from using my left hand to using my right, and then becoming ambidextrous (using both hands) now which is sometimes still very confusing even in adulthood.

What subconscious cultural values control your thoughts?

It wasn’t just me, it was a cultural norm that was drummed into us as children, the use of the left hand was deemed to be a “taboo” or at the very least, “rude” and “disregard for your elders”. And whilst we accepted this to be the norm, none of us stopped to question these beliefs neither were we given any explanations or reasons for them, we just went along with it.

It is fascinating now looking back and reflecting on this experience and so many other cultural values and norms that we hold dear. These values (not all bad) have been passed down from generations without anyone actually stopping to check the true significance and impact it has on children and even adults.

I remember collecting a pen off a colleague at work once and instinctively I said “excuse my left”. The look on my colleague’s face summed it up. Even in adulthood, I still unconsciously felt that the use of my left hand was somehow a bad thing.

We are to teach these values, as they represent our identities.

I am not completely against passing down values and beliefs to our children, in fact, it is important that we do because these values and beliefs are a core part of who we are; our identity. However, what I am learning to do is interrogate some of the thought processes behind these beliefs which in hindsight, was harmful to us as children.

It should no longer be enough to say “that’s how we were taught”. The process of unlearning is hard and observing the status quo is often the most comfortable thing to do, but knowing the why can be truly powerful and liberating.

The reality is we are now dealing with extremely curious minds in our children and we cannot afford not to know the reason we are promoting these values.

The most important value to promote is honesty when we dont know the why.”

Pamela Shodeinde

We must educate ourselves first, understand what it is that we are selling to them, then it becomes easy to digest and implement. But more than anything else, the most important value to promote is honesty when we don’t know the why. We should not try to sell something to our children when we as parents don’t know where the blueprint originated. You don’t have to have all the answers, “I don’t know” or “I am not sure” will suffice.

On a final note, every day is an opportunity to learn and grow.

The point of this post is just to get us thinking, who taught you about those values and beliefs that you hold on to so dearly?

Do they still align with the person you have become?

Or are they in fact limiting you from being the person you want to be?

What is holding you back from unlearning those things that no longer serve you?

I hope that we can get to a place where rather than saying “that’s how I was taught” or “I was raised this way”, we can acknowledge and accept what we truly need to unlearn. Imagine my surprise when I accepted that God created me perfectly even with my left hand, I had nothing to apologize for. Therefore, let us become intentional about what drives us, what we stand for, and what we believe in.

4 thoughts on “Who taught you?”

  1. Hmmmmmm very true Pampam
    who taught us?

    my husband has the same stories to tell from his childhood. He was told not to use his left hand but rather the the right one and with no explanation to back it. Today he uses both hands.

    we need to change the narratives about all this ideologies of the past and start putting our correct ideologies in place for our children and grandchildren lined with the truth and correct application.

    thank you so much Pampam for sharing this.

  2. Ladeloye Olaoluwa

    Amazing piece Pam, the other day my son was whistling at night in the living room, instinctively, I asked “who is whistling?”. Realizing that I was about to make a fool of myself 🤣 I quickly added, “my Father told me that it’s bad to whistle at night”! My Son out of respect just gave me the look, it meant, that’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever said to me. My Wife saved the day by explaining that, culturally speaking, it was a superstition that spanned through many centuries, and we assured him that he had nothing to be scared about now. Pam, do you know that till now, I don’t eat my piece of meat or fish until i finish the entire food? I totally agree with this piece, if we must transmit values, we must do so from a place of honesty and our own understanding of the lessons.
    Great job 👍

  3. As a left handed person, this post sparks memories.
    I remember how my dad scolded and sometimes spanked me for eating with my left hand, but eventually gave up when I turned 13. Our agreement was, I could carry on doing everything with my left hand but not to eat with it, safe to say I kept to my end of the deal.
    Recently, my mum-in-law came to spend sometime with us and I kept questioning some of the “forbidden things” she claimed my 3 year old did, and true to my inquiry, she had no basis for why they were forbidden, but they just were.
    At that point, I came to a resolve that, as far as I am happy with what I am passing on to my child, and it’s morally acceptable, it’s a win for me.

  4. I remember you using both and always having to explain to fellow adults. The lack of knowledge is real!! Keep sharing and opening the floor for discussions like this! Proud of you, mama!

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