Labels: Ghosts of Childhood Labels

When I was a child, I hated to read. I think it’s because at some point, my parents were told I struggled with reading comprehension. This “diagnosis” impacted me on many levels from that point on in my life.

I had been labeled.

I recall having to read “SRA Cards” every day in the sixth grade—and I had to start at the beginning—presumably because of my poor comprehension.

Do you remember SRA Cards? They were laminated sheets of cardstock printed with short stories on the front and inside with comprehension questions on the back. 

Box of SRA Cards arranged by color

Since I’m an overachiever, of course, I read my way through every single card in the box so I could collect all the certificates. In fact, I’m sure I still have them in a box of keepsakes somewhere!

But guess what?

Even though I finished the entire box, nobody ever informed me that my comprehension had improved…ever.

Labels Stick

My comprehension was fine, but the label stuck in the back of my brain like gum on the bottom of a shoe.

“Has Trouble with Reading Comprehension” haunted me through my entire adult life. It wasn’t always top-of-mind, but it always showed up when I received any grade other than A; when I tried to have a deep conversation with a friend; when I wanted to express an idea verbally to someone; and when I was having a bummer of a day.

Ditch the Label!

I finally “exorcised” the comprehension-label ghost in midlife when I became more self-aware. In other words, I ditched the label. I realized there’s no way I could have earned the degrees I earned or accomplished as much as I did with poor comprehension. Buh-bye bad label from my childhood!

Were you ever labeled as a child? Did the label stick with you longer than it should have? Have you let it go?

InvitAtion for You:

If you struggle with imposter syndrome, it could be due to some ghosts of labels past. I’m here to help you sort through the noise and get clear on who you are at the core. Feel free to schedule a FREE Sustainable Leadership Strategy Session with me here: 👈

Read more about SRA Cards here (same place for photo):
and here: