I guess I shall call this a “series”, though I initially didn’t plan it out that way. I just started blogging about memory triggers and it started to turn into a rambling wall of text that I didn’t want to foist upon any readers that were simply casually browsing blogs. I therefore decided to break it up into a few posts and cut it off where most logical. I will likely revisit this kind of series in the future, but for now I’ll cover what I started on. I covered scent in my last post, specifically cedar. This one is about words. Just hearing this word and I’m back in my childhood again.
The word is actually two words, really: “obedience” and “disobedience”. I hear something about either of those two things and immediately my mind snaps back with the phrase “delayed obedience is disobedience”, a mantra from my childhood. Where it came from, I can’t quite remember yet, but I suspect it came from my family’s brief foray into ATI. It certainly sounds like it could be one of their quips. I hear that phrase in my mind, and I can almost see the study room that was our school room in GA, my mother standing above me and saying it to me. This specific moment in time, I’m not sure what surrounds it. Was she simply repeating it to me so that I would remember? Did I do something that she disapproved of and she was reminding me of this principle? I can’t say for sure. But it is a very strong image that comes back when I hear that phrase in my head.
Sometimes, hearing that, I’ll only get that image in my head. Other times, if I’m not busy or otherwise preoccupied, my mind might wander into the time my family was in ATI. I don’t remember how long we were in it. My mother started homeschooling me starting about K-4, when I asked to start homeschooling after giving a Christian school a try. That is one thing that I will give props to my parents for, is letting me decide how I wanted to learn. If I wanted to try a school, they would get me in. If I wanted to homeschool, they would let me. It gives me an interesting background with a lot of different experiences, some that I’ll always cherish and some that I wish never happened.
Anyway, I’m getting off subject. I believe my mother started homeschooling me when I was around 4 years old. I don’t think it was too much longer after we started that we got into ATI, so I’m guessing I was about 5, 6 at the very oldest when we started, but I’m pretty comfortable with saying 5. We went to conferences (I’m pretty sure my memory is of multiple ones) but I’m not sure which ones. I do remember they were boring as all get out. I also remember playing a telephone game as an exercise in a little kid’s group that I had been put in. I don’t remember how they determined the splitting up of children into groups as far as the age ranges went, but I don’t remember the groups being overly large. When I was there, I didn’t notice this, but looking back, the girl who was leading us seemed rather young. Like, 16-18 years old young. I remember she misspelled my town name as “McDonald” until I showed her my name tag that had it written down correctly as “McDonough”. She had been writing my address on an envelope. Was I supposed to send something to myself? Were they going to send something to me? I don’t remember why we were doing this.
A couple of other clear ATI memories is sitting in a darkened room with a huge group of people and going through a lesson from the Wisdom Booklets. Or maybe we were going over the Wisdom Booklets themselves, as in how to use them and lessons in them. Now that I think about it, that seems to be the more likely case. Character was something that was heavily emphasized, as were the specific character traits that Gothard espoused. Another memory is standing outside during a break, leaning against a rough concrete wall. I remember there was a pathway on the other side of the wall, on a lower level, and I peaked over it several times.
This is perhaps one of my biggest memory fails, and one I hope to piece together. I remember little to nothing of this area of my life. I know that I was still pretty young, but I have distinct memories that I know reach back further, so I don’t understand why this area is so disjointed. I hope that by blogging more and more that it will come back to me eventually. Until then, I will keep writing.