I wonder whether I was a child of the 60’s, but I know I was a child in the 60’s. On a fall Friday in first grade, my principal Miss Lewis told my teacher Miss Goodwin to tell our class that our president was dead. I didn’t fully comprehend the impact of the news — as if I could at any age.
Two days later, as we arrived home from church, dad turned on the TV as we watched the assassin shot dead — live on TV in Texas. It was a first for both of us. I noticed the shooter wore a hat just like my dad had worn to church. I remembered the day before on the same TV I watched the Lone Ranger shoot a bad guy in Texas, but that guy lived. What really affected me was school was canceled on Monday.
My journey would soon include asking questions and hearing crazy conspiracies until each was quelled with information and experience. In a decade I’d visit Dallas and remember the grassy knoll as much as I remembered attending the Cowboys-Dolphins Thanksgiving Day game. I would work hard to control my life, as I realized that the actions of another could change everything in an instant.
Over the decades, as I have witnessed many other unreal events happen before my eyes, I’ve stopped to ask myself: “How are first graders seeing this?” What impact will this have on their lives? How will they see the world based on their first impression? Recently, on the church’s Epiphany Day, I wondered how children will come to view our nation’s capital and what crazy conspiracies they’ll face in their futures.
I’ve heard it said: “you only get one chance to make a first impression.” Maybe we get a lifetime of chances to grow beyond it.
Describe a first impression that impacted your life. How old were you? How were you affected? What have you firmly held onto? How have you grown and changed since then?