Bedrooms and Values 7

On my recent trip to visit my daughter and granddaughter in Charlotte, I got to thinking about bedrooms, space and values.

I never had my own bedroom until I became an adult.  My daughter and son  had  rooms of their own growing up except for a couple of years when they shared.   For several years they had two rooms each – one at my house and one at their Dad’s.  My granddaughter has started out life having her own bedroom and separate play spaces within her home.  She doesn’t have to share a bathroom.

I grew up not having the ability to shut the door and have privacy.  I had to negotiate bathroom time.  I used to burrow into the closet, make a pallet on the floor, turn-on my flashlight and read.  This was the only way I could physically create privacy.  I created mental privacy all the time by going so deeply into a book that I couldn’t hear anything going on around me.  Books were a constant companion.  I might have to go to the family gathering or slog around to the weekly shopping trips, but I didn’t have to really be there.  Books took me away to other worlds.  On those occasions when I wasn’t allowed to read a book – I would create stories in my mind and project myself away from where I was.

In my mind, my ability to share and to work/make do with what I have is directly linked to having to share a room growing up.  I wonder how my granddaughter will relate to space.  Will she have the notion that she has a right to privacy and will that notion carry on throughout her life?  Will she value having her own space, will she expect privacy, will she be a child who can share or will she be selfish and self-centered?  Will she have sense of privilege and entitlement or will she be gracious and grateful?  Do I want my granddaughter to “make do?”  Do I want her expectations to be higher than those I had growing up?

Time will answer many of these questions. Right now she is a queen in the country of herself.  She may get deposed if she has siblings.  She’ll be the oldest (like me), which will thrust her into the role of having to share and having to help look after and set an example for the younger siblings.  Because of her mother’s passionate commitment to volunteering, she will certainly be exposed to giving to others. 

Values have to be consciously taught to children, but they are also observed and absorbed by their watching the everyday actions of parents and other people in their lives.  Values are transmitted by what you grow up with and are taught is part of your birthright.  She is certainly starting out life with great space, with a door of her very own that she can close.  I am looking forward to watching her grow and seeing how she walks in the world with the space and things she has.

I want her to have strength of character and independence without having to suffer to build these traits.  I want her to be a productive member of the world.  I want her to be happy. 

About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

7 thoughts on “Bedrooms and Values

  • Jim

    The question is almost impossible to answer. Inevitably we learn more from challenging experiences than we do from unchallenging ones. To what extent does hardship create character and do we want hardship for its salutary effects? There are very few of us who would give up our hard experiences but there are even fewer of us who would ask for them again.

  • Mary McCullough

    Great Blog! I’ve read most of the entries and look forward to reading your blog on a regular basis. I particularly read the piece on “skin color” closely.

    Having attended UT’s service yesterday, your piece on him makes me regret that I did not keep him closer while he lived but he is in my heart.


  • Amber

    I wonder myself and try to balance her exposure to things. I guess I feel that I took what you gave us and built on top of that wonderful platform, I hope Saige reaches even higher than me but retains her integrity and responsibility to her community. She isn’t spoiled yet if ever right now she’s fortunate. How she handles what we’ve afforded her will determine that.

    Being loved well is the foundation for a beautiful life.  I am sure she’ll be just fine because she’s got a wonderful mom guiding her. CS

  • Mr Harrod

    Candy, you are still your literary self.You have not lost the edge. I enjoyed your essays, and will tune in often.

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