If we’re alive and more or less functioning,
if we’re capable of taking joy in things occasionally,
if we can be kind and grateful to others,
if we’re not addicted
or very drawn to killing ourselves,
那意味着 在我们早年间 有那么一个人
then it’s likely that someone somewhere, early on,
loved us very much
They may live quite far away from us now,
they might share none of our interests
and could in many ways be a little boring to spend time with
– and yet we will continue to be deeply loyal to them
and know in our hearts that we owe them everything.
When we say that someone ‘loved’ us,
what we’re really referring to
is the acquisition of a set of skills.
These were not transferred in any formal way,
we imbibed them in the ordinary bustle of daily life.
It might have been in the kitchen,
on a walk out in the woods
or at night-time in the bedroom after a story.
It would have been easy to miss what was really going on,
the vital nectar that was being imparted,
all the life-sustaining goodness we received
when it looked like it was just another conversation about homework
or the plans for the weekend.
But in the course of being loved,
we got an encyclopedic emotional education nevertheless,
in which some of the following was learnt:
Sometimes, it all looked very bad indeed.
We were in a state,
soaked in tears, or red with fury.
We felt the world was coming apart and that we would not survive.
But they kept the tragedy at bay
until we could breathe calmly once again.
They may not have had all the answers,
but they promised us – and they were right –
that a few would eventually emerge.
They held us through the night and guaranteed
that there would be a dawn.
And ever since then,
it’s become just a little easier to keep catastrophic dread at bay.
They lent us a sense that we were of value to them
and therefore could one day be to ourselves as well.
If we made something or had an idea,
we could share it with them
– and though it wasn’t perhaps entirely accomplished already,
they were guided by our underlying intentions and promise.
When we entered the kitchen, not every time,
but enough times to form a protective layer over our ego,
they looked up and lit up.
They might have had a name for us:
小冠军 纽扣排 或小甜咩
little champion, button chops or sweet sheep.
At one point in adolescence,
we certainly didn’t want that name used any more,
and it would be mortifying if colleagues knew it today,
but it remains a secret symbol
of an emotional bedrock,
upon which all our later poise and confidence
was able to emerge.
At points, we did something very wrong:
we forgot a book,
we scratched a table,
we were nasty to someone or exploded in fury.
The punishment could have been very strong,
and yet it wasn’t.
They came up with reasons that cast our misdeeds
in a generous light:
we were tired, everyone does that sort of thing,
no one is perfect.
They taught us about mercy
towards others and ourselves.
They let us know that we would not have to be perfect
to deserve to exist.
We didn’t master much immediately.
It took us a while to get long division,
it was ages till we found our way with the piano
or learnt to make biscuits.
But they didn’t shout or mock or get irritated.
They taught us the art of waiting till the good could emerge.
They didn’t demand immediate results –
and so spared us the need to panic
or bluster our way through life.
There were sometimes some pretty bad scenes.
They said nasty things and we did too.
We felt we hated them a lot sometimes.
But they stuck around.
They took the anger
– and thereby taught us about repair:
how things can go very wrong and yet can be fixed,
how resilient people can be,
how many second chances there are when love is involved.
With some of these lessons and more,
we grew up into people who could be kind to ourselves,
tolerant of our faults,
sympathetic to others
and capable of keeping going.
We weren’t just ‘loved’,
we got an education,
whose presence we can feel
every time we can care for someone else,
address a kind word to ourselves
or feel strong enough to face a difficult tomorrow.
We hope you enjoyed this film.
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