A New Life


I was scared to ask my mother to provide items I needed to create an ecosystem for my high school science project. We did not have a good mother-daughter relationship. I learned that asking could result in a verbal assault that bullied me into a shell. I learned to ask for “necessary” things. A school project was not necessary.


I decided to create a marine ecosystem without my mother’s help. I knew a kid at church. I knew he had an aquarium. I knew he liked me. I knew I could get a fish from him.

I asked him for a fish for my science project and he gave me one. I do not remember how I got the other items, but I completed my marine ecosystem, which was a small jar with the fish, algae and sand.

After the exhibition, all the kids took their projects. I was scared to take mine home. How would I explain it to my mother? I left it at school.

A few weeks later, my teacher called me and said, “What do you intend to do with your fish? It is growing. It needs a bigger place or else it will die.”

“It’s OK to leave it there,” I said
.
“I’ll put it in the school’s aquarium for you.”

I felt happy. I did not think a fish from me was good enough to go into the school’s aquarium. For a while, I visited the fish almost every day. I felt good about myself. 

In retrospect, many people, like my teacher, have helped others to take the next step to keep going. My teacher’s deed stretched beyond the story of my fish. My teacher—consciously or subconsciously—gave me new life to be a better person than the one who was scared of her mother.

    --This is Judith Kerr's story -- I interviewed her.
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Image above taken from http://www.desktop-xp.com/free-aquarium-screensaver.html

62 comments:

  1. Aww! This is such a sad story, although I'm glad the school could keep the fish instead of letting it die.

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  2. Thank you so much for your comments about my poetry, Peaches. A poem can be written in one hour and then 'tidied up' whilst another I may work on - rewriting up to 40 times over many years. But always a wonderful satisfying process. I'm going to make this first collection of poems into an eBook and publish it free on kindle for a while so that friends can read it.

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  3. That's sad she couldn't even ask for materials for the project. At least the fish found a good home.

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    1. Hurray for the fish and how the teacher made her feel.

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  4. I think teachers help more people than they know. It's very good when this happens and I'm happy for Judith. :)

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    1. I have had a few teachers who helped me to be who I am today.

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  5. When some people fail us others sure show up when needed

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  6. Reminds me of my childhood... I've never asked anything from my parents either, nor did they ever offer it. It is very bad for one's self-esteem and self-worth.

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    1. Dezmond, I understand the effect of situations such as Judith and the one your shared on a person's self-esteem. Thanks for sharing.

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  7. What a disservice this mother paid to her daughter. Such a simple thing to ask. I wonder what the author's relationship with her mother was/is like now that she is an adult.

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    1. The bond wasn't formed from childhood because Judith was first raised by her grandmother whom she considered as her mother until she died. So, when her real mother entered the picture,bonding was difficult, but there is mutual respect now and acceptance of individual choices.

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  8. Her teacher has been very nice and kind, I feel very sorry for her who neither could bring home the project and then the fish, I can easily get what she felt!:/

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    1. Some parents are just difficult to coexist with.

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  9. Hi, Peaches. Thanks for visiting my place. :)

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  10. Hi, Peaches. Thanks for visiting my place. :)

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  11. Sad that her mother would not see things like this as valid. The teacher sounds like a much better influence in her life.

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    1. Many teachers do influence their students.

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  12. She found a way to get around the barrier her mother presented, then she had a teacher who lent a hand. One step at a time. Very sweet story.

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    1. Yeah, kids are smart and learn how to survive.

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  13. Such a lovely story! It has warmed my heart. I can relate to the mother-daughter thing because I didn't have a very good relationship with my mother, either.

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  14. Such a lovely story! It has warmed my heart. I can relate to the mother-daughter thing because I didn't have a very good relationship with my mother, either.

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  15. Good teaches can make such a difference ...
    Glad you shared this ..

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  16. Glad the fish found a home. This reminds me of a local teacher who put a tiny turtle into her aquarium. I guess it was one of those Galapagos turtles.It had to be moved to a nature center and then to a major zoo!

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  17. Nice and positive thoughts, thanks for sharing!

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  18. I'm glad the teacher was a positive influence in her life.

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  19. I'm glad the teacher was a positive influence in her life.

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  20. A beautiful story.
    It's sad when mother and daughter did not have a good relationship. Pretty much the attitude of the teacher. It is important to encourage children and raise them high esteem.

    To find the pictures in my blog I search on the internet pages of artists works of art. I love art. You find the names of some artists below each illustration of my posts. Just copy the link and paste in the search source that you will come to their pages. I also look on google images.

    Hug.


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    1. It's hard for some parents to do that.

      Thanks for letting me know about pictures.

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  21. What a perceptive teacher! And how sad for that daughter that her relationship with her mother was so difficult. I was fortunate to have a mother who loved me unconditionally. I wish every child had that.

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    1. You are certainly lucky, and you have a strong history behind your upbringing, too.

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  22. That's awesome, there are so many stories of people who have changed others' lives by seemingly innocuous acts.

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  23. Home should always be about safety and comfort. Sorry your childhood wasn't like that. I DO like that you were resourceful and took care of things. Says a lot about you.

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    1. Home does not always have what it should have. Certainly.

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  24. Aww. It makes me sad that there are kids out there who feel this way about their moms. I wish only parents who were suited to parenthood were allowed to have babies.

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    1. Sad, indeed. And some parents make mistakes and realize too late.

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  25. That's terrible for a kid to be scared of her mother. And what kind of a mother was that to bully her child? Thank goodness for the nice teacher.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog.

    Sunni
    http://sunni-survivinglife.blogspot.com/

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  26. If mothers knew what influence their behaviour has on a child would they still do it?
    You have to hard-hearted indeed to do so.
    I hope Judith has found people who appreciate her.

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    1. Some mothers only realize the impact of their behavior when the damage is already done.

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  27. I was afraid of mother when I was growing up too. I don't think parents realize how their attitude affects their children's lives. Glad Judith found someone who empowered her a little bit.

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  28. Thank you for your kind words of praise.
    Come visit me more often.
    I’ll be happy to see you in my blog.
    A beautiful story.
    I'm sorry you did not have a good mother-daughter relationship.
    Me and my mother are "the best friends at the world"... :)
    A big kiss.
    MIGUEL / ÉS A MINHA DEUSA

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  29. Oi Desculpe-me vim no seu lindo e aconchegante cantinho só agora, amei sua doce visita e tmb ler uma historinha assim, ainda que triste, mais faz parte de muitas e muitas pessoas. Que bom que não fosse assim, a vida seria mais feliz. Desejo um dia alegre para você; Aqui não tem lugar para segui?

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    1. Thanks for the note and wishing you a happy day, too.

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  30. I was afraid of my parents too. It's not easy to break free from that fear. Luckily, you had good help in that department.

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    1. Vanessa, I hope you no longer fear her. Thannks for sharing.

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  31. Hi, dear Peaches! Thank you very much for joining the fun on SDMM today.

    I can relate to Judith's true story. Sometimes, in fact, many times, one person, one moment, one decision, one act of kindness and generosity, can change the course of a another person's life. I participated in science fairs in high school and was very lucky to have a male science teacher who was quiet, polite, sincere and eager to encourage students and cultivate their interest in the subject. He influenced me profoundly and to this day I remember him better and more fondly than any other teacher and try to model his attitude and generous spirit.

    Thanks again for coming to see me today, dear Peaches. I deeply appreciate your friendship and support!

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    1. Happy for you and your teacher, too. You are a lucky and it's good you knew/know, how he influenced you.

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  32. Sometimes the small kindnesses mean the most. That's a great reminder to keep doing the right things. You never know whose life you touch.

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These are our stories. Thank you for your kind comment and laugh as often as you can. Peaches D. Ledwidge, author of Day Laughs Night Cries: Fifteen