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Three Defining Childhood Moments That Helped to Shape Into Me Today


This piece is a response to the Creative Nonfiction Prompt#1 in the article, “100+ Creative Writing Prompts & Story Ideas” authored by HP fellow writer, Samantha Harris.

Samantha’s Creative Nonfiction Prompt#1

Tell the story of three defining moments in your childhood and find a link between them. How did these moments help shape the person you are today?

Three Defining Childhood Moments That Helped to Shape into Me Today- The Response

A number of childhood moments come flowing to the mind at the moment but I want to focus on only three of them (as the prompt suggests) that I feel influenced me in a positive way.

Here I present three scenarios from my childhood that I still remember and believe the moments have impacted me in a way that molds into what I am today.

Scenario 1:

After toiling all the beginning years at school, taking help from my parents and teachers, I managed to bring out the best in myself. I had become first in grade 1 and grade 2 as well. Soon after that, my family visited a family living some distance away, whose children studied in my school. When the father of the family called me upfront, knowing I had come first twice at school, he showered blessings upon me, touching the top of my head. Everyone around watched, and I didn’t like all the attention.

Pic: Don’t Like Attention, Kid?

Pic: Don’t Like Attention, Kid?

Scenario 2:

When I was in grade 4, my English Language teacher in the first lesson asked openly, “What is a noun?” I didn’t give anyone any chance and got up and said, “A noun is a naming word.” That’s what my Dad homeschooled me in the break holidays. Although I wasn’t wrong, the teacher wanted a little more definition. And so, she asked the question again to the class. A girl got up and answered, “A noun is the name of any person, object, place, or thing." It was then I got my lesson. I was never again the first person to answer the teachers' questions in class. I always waited for the others to answer, and when nobody could, I got up and answered. And that way I got the most appreciation. I didn't like attention, but I did like appreciation.

Pic: Were You Appreciated Enough During Your Childhood?

Pic: Were You Appreciated Enough During Your Childhood?

Scenario 3:

I remember I was in grade 7 when I was writing a Science exam. I was steadily answering the questions when one answer turned numerically different from the one I practiced at home. I felt very confused as it was a lot of steps, and I couldn’t bear the thought of going wrong. So, I got up and went up to the teacher with the question paper in my hand and asked her straight forward, "Mam, did you change the figures of this question?" She smiled and answered, "Yes." I got relieved and went on to finish the exam.

Until today, I cannot let myself have a lot of confusion in my head. So, I always ask, and it always helps.

Pic: Confused & Puzzled?

Pic: Confused & Puzzled?

How the Three Scenarios Shaped My Life

1) The Supervisor Saved My Face

A conference was being organized at the university in the US. I was pursuing Ph.D. studies at that time. The chairperson of the department announced by email that every TA (teaching assistant) must attend the conference. I was a TA and realized I had to attend it. I came to know other Ph.D. students were presenting something of their thesis work. Maybe a small fraction was, and it wasn’t mandatory.

Nevertheless, I asked my supervisor about it. He said I hadn’t erected something solid in my thesis yet; so, I shouldn’t bother. Deep inside I was so relieved. My supervisor had unknowingly saved my face.

It was a huge conference hall in the university campus's main building. I couldn't stand the attention of so many people while I would present something on the widescreen if that were the case. Thankfully, my supervisor saved me from such a situation, and I was completely at ease on the conference day.

2) Appreciation for My Writing

A few HP fellow writers had hinted earlier that I should upgrade my style of writing for the short stories I author and become better at my craft. And I decided then that writing short stories, essays, and fiction was only temporary for me and that I had other thoughts about my goals and dreams. I didn't fully pay attention to the art of writing.

Lately, however, I decided to improve my writing style. Recently I wrote a short story to publish in HP. But Brenda, my dear friend and fellow writer, came up with an announcement that a publisher was looking for poems and short stories to publish as an anthology in print. Since I had the short story ready, I edited the content in a few places, improved it, and sent it to the publisher.

I was surprised when he replied that my story was an interesting idea and that my story flowed well. He even cut a joke about the story and accepted it happily.

I loved the appreciation by the publisher. And I love it when HP fellow writers compliment as well as give guidance for my writing. LOL!

3) Confusion Cleared Up

I was having a conversation with InfoCom’s manager about how I should start my research when I was in Stuttgart pursuing my MSc. in Software Technology. The manager said I should research the various types of Asset Management System software already existing in the market and how the different companies were using them.

Then I should start working on building an Asset Maintenance and Management System (AMMS) software for InfoCom. I was highly confused. Then I asked him in full swing that I was clear I had to create an AMMS system for InfoCom. But why would I need to research existing Asset Management system software used by the different companies?

My manager was impressed that I asked such a question. And then he confessed that my university supervisor requested him to guide me in researching existing system software for IT Maintenance, compare them, find out why they weren’t fit for InfoCom, and why and how I was to build AMMS system meeting the company’s needs. And then I gave a big nod to my manager, clearing up all confusion.


I don't like attention, but I love appreciation. I cannot tolerate being confused. Everything has to be crystal clear in my head, for instance, even why I am being appreciated. The scenarios I mentioned are some of the moments that imparted these qualities in me during childhood, following into adulthood: Love to be appreciated without attention and with no confusion allowed. If I am being given credit for something, for example, I should be let known for what reason. These attributes are some of the things that helped me to excel in life personally, academically, and career-wise.

© 2022 Rosina S Khan