Tuesday 11 October 2011


I was trying to remember if I was determined when I was six years old।

Hmmm, an opening sentence with three “was” in - or should that be three “were” being as they are plural?


Was i?

Determined seems like such a grown-up word I’m not sure I could apply it to the six-year old me.

I’m not even sure if it’s a positive or negative attribute.

If the sentence offered was – “hey, that was a really determined effort, well done” – from say, maybe, a math’s teacher then I guess it would be construed as positive.

But what if the classroom sweetheart said–“you’re really determined, aren’t you!” - with or without an exclamation mark?

Would you get to kiss her?

Most probably not!

Context can be everything.

So, I’m neither sure if I was old enough to be determined, nor whether Karen or I was the more determined one.

I do remember one thing from that time though, which may help.

Every week I would trot down the road to the corner shop – you can see it here – and buy a comic.

Ok, maybe I was more than six at the time but it’s the earliest memory of “determined” that comes to mind.


There was this story in the comic about a dad and his two sons. I think they lived in a caravan or something, they were travellers possibly, and in one episode - as a test of maturity - the two brothers had to carry an improbably large rock from one place to another.

The first lad succeeded.

The second had a LOT of problems, he was weakening; sweat poured from his every pore and he didn’t believe he was capable.

Failure would have resulted in public humiliation.

He saw his dad watching and with, what I can only describe as determination, he managed and dropped the rock (it was now a boulder) over the demarcation line.

He was hugged and accepted into whatever it was he needed to be accepted into.

The club of heavy rock carriers perhaps.

The image from the comic book has never left me; every time I am struggling with shopping, a sack of cement or – the other day – a wheel barrow of logs for the winter’s fires I see the boy struggling across the field with his rock/boulder/piece of mountain.

I try to be him.

I usually fail, but I try.



Anne Hodgson said...

The nice thing about determination is that it faces forward and there's always a next time.

popps said...

Very wise Anne, trymination on the other hand looks all over the place and IS the next time!