How the Book “Divergent” Taught Me Success Skills

I recently took my periodic “fiction” break.  I usually pick up a book to completely escape the crowded thoughts in my head and simply relax. As a fan of The Hunger Games, I was excited, albeit late to the game, to read Divergent.  I also was unable to shut down the create engine that can sometimes be exhausting.  Without giving away too much of the book for the 3 people left who haven’t read the book, the main character, Beatrice, has a special gift that classifies her has divergent.  The teens, who make up the characters, are put through a series of fear simulations to test how they react in a stressful environment.  In order to truly measure someones reaction to their greatest fears, they need to actually feel fear.  Written into the story, the majority of the characters are unaware that the simulations are actually “simulations”, thus feeling the full force of their fears.

Stray dog - asleep

Stray dog – asleep (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For some, however, they are aware of the “simulation” and are able to manipulate the outcomes based on this “awareness”.  These characters, Beatrice included, are “divergent”.

How does this relate to the us on our journey toward success or “awesomeness”? Most people are simply going through life one day at a time.  The days “happen” to them.  Unfortunately, they are unaware of the clock and the calendar speeding up.  They are unaware that they have the control to change their destination, to “manipulate” the outcome through intentional living. Fortunately, you are here, and you realize this.  Intentional living is the awareness that we control what we do.

There are no guarantees that we do the right things and get the perfect outcome, but without awareness, you have no chance.

You will be a puppet being manipulated by time.  We read stories of older people gaining this awareness and sharing regrets of things left undone.  Get intentional, stay intentional, and live with an awareness of your purpose.

Rocco
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Me and Mom: A special post of lessons by Jamie Volbrecht

English: Behemoth , roller coaster at Canada's...

English: Behemoth , roller coaster at Canada’s Wonderland. Français : Behemoth , montagnes russes à Canada’s Wonderland. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I grew up in a very loving home; there were plenty of hugs and kisses but the basics for a child’s development such as discipline, boundaries and knowledge were absent. The trade off has been unfortunate, as a hug won’t teach you about preserving your innocence and a kiss won’t convey consequences. Around the age of 14, I started experimenting with sex, drugs and rock and roll. My teachers,my peers, other teenage girls, not even old enough to drive yet they were experts in sexual homeruns and recreational drug use. My mother always assumed that if I wasn’t talking about it, then I wasn’t doing it, however, on the contrary, she also believed that if she talked about it then that was an invitation to experiment.

As a young and very influential girl, I needed to know why we should preserve sexual intercourse for marriage or what permanent affects drugs can do to your body and mind.

I was impressionable and ready to take on the world

Unfortunately, I was about to enter high school alone and completely vulnerable as I had already closed off my relationship with my mom.

As I look back upon my youth, there were two events that profoundly shaped my future, the day I replaced my mother with invaluable fascinations and the day I stopped trusting her.

I remember the last day of my innocence, the day I detached from my mother. It was the summer before freshman year, and my mother decided to take me to the movies. As we walked into the mall we were holding hands, as we always did. I remember seeing other teenage girls without their parents. It was a day no different from any other, however, that day I was different. For the first time, I saw independence seeping from these girls and I was immediately attracted to their youthful complexity. At that moment I was captivated by what I saw, and at that moment I let go of my mother’s hand, and to this day, I have never been able to re connect with her.

The second event occurred one year later. I had been at an amusement park all day with my best friend and when I got home, my mom approached us to ask about the day. I remember her blank stare mid way through our conversation. Pointing to my neck, she sternly asked “Jamie, what is on your neck?” I didn’t know what she was referring to so I responded, that I had no idea. My mother left the room and my friend informed me that I had a hickey on my neck. You see, earlier in the day at the amusement park, my friend and I met up with two boys. This was one of the first times I explored my my sexual promiscuity and since I never spoke with my mom about sex, I didn’t know about these bruise-like marks caused by kissing. After my friend left, my mother and I yelled at each other. She told me how disappointed she was in me and I responded with anxious rebellion. A few days later my mother left a note for me on my dresser informing me that she didn’t know who I was anymore and she was in disbelief learning about my sexual activity. She disclosed to me that she read my diary because she felt like that was the only way she was going to find out who I was. That was the moment I lost respect for her and no longer trusted her, this comepletely ruined our relationship and too it to the point of unsalvageable hope.

She didn’t know who I had become; she assumed she knew me. She didn’t teach me about life and consequences, she didn’t give me the tools I needed to make healthy choices. It’s not neccesarily her fault because she may not have realized what she was or wasn’t doing. I believe she was doing her best as single mom. With that said we as parents need to do the best we can. When you know what you need to do to make sure your children become well adjusted adults, don’t ignore it.

I look back on these two events and where my mother could have taken this opportunity to communicate with me about what I was feeling. When I let go of her hand, I’m sure she was crushed, this is when she should have had a conversation with me about self-development, instead, she grabbed on even tighter.

As I sit here writing this blog, I’m multitasking as most mothers do. I’m typing on my laptop with my right hand while feeding my 5-week-old daughter with a bottle in my left hand. As I look at her, I hope to have a different type of mother-daughter relationship. I hope for respect, trust and communication. I believe that my mother did the best she could and as parents we always do the best we can. We also need to take what we have learned from our own relationships with our parents and use it toward our own parenting. I constantly communicate with my 5 year old son, I teach him emotional vocabulary so he can communicate his feelings. With both of my children, I will talk to them about everything regardless of what they are doing.

If you are out with your children and you see someone smoking talk to them about the affects of cigarette smoke to your body. If you are watching a movie and there is a scene with fighting, talk to them, tell then how you want them to handle confrontations with their peers. Just yesterday my son and I were listening to some country music and I took a moment to explain to him that the song was a love song. In the song the guy and the girl miss each other because they love each other.

It just takes a second to talk, even if it seems like a trivial lesson.

A few months ago I was on a hike with my son and we both smelled marjajuana. He asked me about the it. I was truthful. If I’m honest with him, he will be honest with me. I told him it was a drug called marijuana, also referred to as pot and weed and when you smoke it, it compromises your ability to act rational, I told him it basically makes you act silly and its not good for your body. I told him that if he is ever offered it, to say no and then talk to his dad or me. I think about what my mother would have said to me of this same situation happened to me when I was a little girl and I have to think that she would have told me that she didn’t know or it was the smell of the tall redwood trees that hovered over us.

Jamie Volbrecht