LETTER: How childhood affects later life

A Ponoka News readers asks about early childhood and how it affects perceptions later on

Dear Editor,

“Some people are broken,” my wife said recently late one night.

It had been cold for days and earlier that night a woman had knocked at our front door, just before bedtime, looking for a ride. I’ll call her Rhonda.

We had known Rhonda for several years. A few weeks earlier Rhonda had came by on another cold night saying she wanted to stay with her brother in Red Deer and wanted a ride.

We had talked, I remember, all three of us, trying to figure out a plan.

“There’s a bus service from Lacombe,” my wife said in that earlier meeting which would leave in two hours later that night.

Rhonda said she would wait in Lacombe till the bus arrived.

That night, two weeks earlier, had been very cold and it seemed beyond reason to leave Rhonda waiting for the bus in minus 20 degree temperatures. Instead I drove her to Red Deer and left her at Superstore. Her brother’s place was nearby, Rhonda said, and insisted that she could walk.

Weeks later when Rhonda came by a second time. I was too tired to negotiate any plan and just wanted to go to sleep.

“I don’t want to do this anymore,” I say out loud. I had made similar comments recently to others who over the years had come to our house.

Soon after my comments Rhonda left our house.

I wondered about my wife’s comment later that night, the comment about “some people being broken.” It was something I had heard before but which I never thought deeply about: does the trajectory from childhood to adolescence to adulthood explain the decisions some people make?

Early experience obviously effects decisions people make later in their lives but what were the experiences and decisions that create “broken people?”

“Some people are broken,” my wife had said. That thought was and is perplexing; really! Are there really “broken” people?

Can people really be broken and what exactly does that mean? Does it mean that they cannot make helpful decisions about their basic needs for food, shelter, relationship and meaningful activity? Can psychological or other intervention mend broken people or is that a exaggerated metaphor? What really is possible?

George Jason

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