Matt Kiernan / News Editor
Michelle Pranger discussed her book A Child’s Voice and the troubles of growing up with financial and personal disadvantages last Tuesday, and how she overcame such difficulties.
Pranger, a 5th grade teacher and author, grew up with physically and mentally abusive parents. She was subject to sexual assault at a young age by her father and was regularly beaten with a belt while growing up in her home in Jamaica.
“We have to forge ahead with our life to triumph,” said Pranger during her discussion in the Center for Africana Studies.
Living with abusive parents was something Pranger thought all children went through until she reached college. At college she realized she had to deal with problems that had been kept secret.
One of the most important factors of improving how you deal with daily living is finding a person you can trust. Pranger found that in college with her guidance counselor.
She says that if people need to revisit what has happened in the past then they should do it – if they cry it’s perfectly natural.
Pranger said, “Learn from it, but don’t be ashamed of it.”
Pranger said that even in a person’s darkest hour there is still a flicker of light that keeps them strong. She advised that people should write down good qualities about themselves as a reminder of who they are.
Growing up she thought she lacked talent in anything and would wonder why her other friends were successful at their hobbies. Pranger came to realize that her talents were cooking and taking care of her grandparents.
She thinks that society promotes personal privacy, which is in some ways good, but in others it can promote an atmosphere whereby people are unable to be open. For many years she had to keep her parent’s secret. After releasing her thoughts, Pranger stopped contact with her sister and parents, feeling that the most important thing to take care of in life is yourself.
Pranger believes that people need to learn love themselves for who they are and realize that they don’t need to be someone else .
“What you see as imperfection, other people will find unique,” Pranger said.
Pranger said that she believes in self-concentration. Everyone should set aside time twice a week for an hour to reflect, she said, and think about themselves – if there isn’t enough time during the day to do it, it should be rescheduled. This time should be without distractions such as television or music, therefore the person is solely concentrating on their thoughts.
“You’re canceling the most important person and that’s yourself,” Pranger said in regards to not giving yourself time to reflect during the day.
Pranger, who has now moved o the United States, received her undergraduate degree from Queens College and graduate degree from Hofstra University. She used education and her studies as an escape from the pain she was feeling following her parents’ abuse.
Pranger promotes education as very important and believes that it all goes back to the parents in reinforcing that for their children.