Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Power of a Name

I made a dreadful mistake in kindergarten -- I decided that I should go by "Virginia" instead of "Ginger." After all, I was a big girl so I should use my proper name. That was a fine decision at the time, but it had long-term, unexpected repercussions.

By the time I reached first grade I was quite ready to go back to my nickname. And why not? I was called "Ginger" everywhere except at school, and being grown up had proven to be overrated. I'd be happy just to be "Ginger" again. But I hadn't bargained on my first grade teacher's response to my changing my name.

"You said your name is 'Virginia,' and that's what you will be," she told me!

When my mom went to my first Parent-Teacher Conference that year Miss Larson told her, "Virginia always does what I ask her, but her attitude says, 'I'll do it because you ASK me and NOT because I like you.'"

Just yesterday I came across the report from that November, 1956, conference. Miss Larson had marked me halfway between average and poor in Sportsmanship, Respect for Authority, and Profits from Suggestions. My marks for Cooperation and Consideration were flat-out poor! Comments included, "Wants to be a leader," "Does not take criticism in a pleasant way," and "A little resentful."

I should say so!

She was a first-year teacher who probably realized early on that she'd made a mistake when she wouldn't let me change my name. I'm afraid she paid for it every day that year.

It took me until junior high to get up the courage to try again! I was "Virginia" all the way through grade school. I've been "Ginger" ever since.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Your still Gingibaby to me. Tim