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Shame for hurting another: my first memory

My own first conscious memory is one shame. I was four years old, running around with a group of kids on the playground. The night before, I had learned of a trick where you can flick someone’s feet with your own as they run past you, causing them to trip. I was curious to try it out myself, and running among a pack of kids, I tripped the boy in front of me. Indeed, the boy went flying, scraping his knees as he fell. He started to cry, and our teacher asked us angrily, “What happened? Who did it?” I was horrified at my actions. I had caused someone else pain and suffering, therefore I must be “bad.” It was a child’s simple understanding of “badness,” but it stuck. I remember wanting to disappear in shame. I imagined my own mother’s scornful look if I was discovered, and I assumed I would never be allowed to play with the other kids ever again. However, I was not found out, and though I never dared tell of my sin to anyone till many years later, the shame became lodged in my soul for many years.

My shame around this incidence started to soften as I dared to tell people about it. They would look at me smilingly, without words accepting me and seeing the childhood innocence of my actions.

Yosi Amram



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