The Rugged individual: Leaning to value both independence and interdependence

Chapter 38 of Waking Up White: and finding myself in the story of RACE by Debbie Irving

What did you learn about self-sufficiency and independence? How do you feel when you need to ask someone for help?

I had the typical upbringing of an American public school – except – in 1st, and 2nd grade I went to a “progressive” elementary school. We were not only allowed, but were encouraged, to get up, walk around the classroom, consult other kids and the teacher. When I was in 3rd grade in the fall, my sister was born. Mama returned to her mother’s house, taking me with her. Because we were going to be there for a month or more, she enrolled me in the school she had attended as a child. In fact the teacher had actually taught Mama when she was a little girl. Nobody told me I was supposed to sit still and not talk to other kids in the class – I guess they just assumed that I should have known that. That was the first time I remember really getting in trouble at school, and I worried so much about it that I had to go home sick in the middle of the day.

From that time on, I was obsessive about hiding my work, and keeping other kids from seeing my answers. I still have a hard time sharing information and observations. And I also have a really hard time asking for help.

If you would like to join me as I blog about my experiences with race, please read the book. It was life changing for me.

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