First of all, as the background of the story, I must tell that i am a part-time English teacher and was a cram-school teacher. Therefore, not much, but i’m having quite experience around children. Yup, not much, but enough to tell you a thing or two about them.
For me, children are monsters; cute, little, irritating, lovely, amusing, upseting, ridiculous, silly, creative, banshee-like, paranoid, brave, shy, shameless, charlatanic, yet original creatures. They are contrastive!
But not seldom, they could suprise the hell out of me with their ‘unpredictable’ actions. Actions which i must say have taught me some valuable yet often forgotten lessons, thus i am very thankful. Well, since i grew up and drown into the world of adults, i mean this whole boring boxed-universe full of obligations, restrictions, responsibilities, hypocrites, competitions, lies, backstabbers, judgements and many more, seeing how those children live or act or interact with each other or listening to their opinions over some of the merest problems or how they react to certain issues or how they deal with their difficulties can be so —– relieving.
It’s like a mind-opening movie full of inspiring messages about life. I’m not exaggerating. For instance, once, one of my students named Ivan who is around 8-10 years old, gave a very ‘cute’ answer for a reading comprehension question. The passage was talking about a proud peacock that betrays his friends and trash-talking about how ugly they are, and saying that they’re embarassing him because of their dark, dirty feathers (i forgot what kind of birds are the peacock’s friends; maybe geese, crow, or else). And in the end of the story, the peacock was kicked out from the forest due to his bad behaviors and some other problems which i can’t remember (gosh, am i this old?). Then, there was this question below the passage, “what do you think they should do to the peacock?” I hope i’m not the only one suprised here. Well, this is his answer, “I think they have to tell the peacock that what he did are wrong, gently. I think the peacock must be given one more chance to fix his mistakes. It’s so sad he has to be kicked out from the forest.
Friends don’t leave each other just because they made one or two mistakes, right?”
Another time, i met this little girl named Denissa, she is the brightest student in my class. She’s only 10 years old. But she is so smart and i think the class is not suitable for her. Therefore, i told her that she should get an acceleration and jump to a higher class. “There’s nothing more for you to learn here, Denis, you should go around 2 or 3 level higher,” i said. But without much thinking, she instantly shook her head and said, “no!” I frown a little, not expecting that response. “Why?” i questioned her. She shook her head faster and i was starting to feel afraid that she would dislocate her neck. “Stop doing that, Denis.” And she stopped. Smiled at me. And in a second her smile turned into a pout. And after that she ran to one of her friends before gave me her reason of disagreement, “my friends won’t be there, Sir. Can i take them along with me?” “No, denis. They still have things to learn here.” “Then, i won’t. What’s so good about getting into a higher class without a friend, Sir?” She asked me. “You can find new friends there, Denis.” I try to made it as logical as possible, but i then surrendered to her next reply.
“But friends are not something replaceable, Sir!”
Thus, there she is, still in my class, with her friends, helping me to teach her friends sometimes. And those words she yelled at me, until now, still often come to my mind when i remember my old friends, of how i left them because i want to get into a better society, or how i’ve ever thought i could replace them with better friends. You know what, Denis was right. Totally right.
Children are amazing aren’t they? There are times when some of them cried over little things, but then they also could laugh over another little things just like that. I admire how they perceive those little things in their life. Their pencil boxes. Their erasers. Their new hairclips. Their new toy cars. And how they could talk over them with such a great passion. That’s amazing, remembering how sometimes I can’t even enjoy and be grateful about the big things i have in my life. I envy them. I envy how they can enjoy watching cartoons (which i can’t enjoy anymore), or how they can be so happy just by running with their friends, or how proud they are just after they can finish a big bottle of water in a day. They and their small little world.
I envy how they can be so happy over small, little things in their life.
Frankly, really, it’s true, those children have taught me great life lessons. They taught me how to let go of the things i couldn’t keep or get. They taught me not to dwell in the same emotion all the time. They taught me to be curious. They taught me to be passionate in life. They taught me to be human. And they did it by throwing away their most favorites candy because they knew it’s not good for them. They did it by playing with their friends, have a fight, break up, and forgive each other in the end. They did it when they cried because they couldn’t understand and finish an exercise, but not to think about it anymore after it’s done. They asked me about butterflies, or the crescent moon, or eclipse, or how snow can fall from the sky in some countries and why it can’t in the other countries. Above all,
They taught me that i don’t need to be perfect to be loved, because no one is. And they proved it by showing their ugly sides, their imperfections, and made me love them.