Can I tell you a story? Well, if your answer is yes, just take a few moments and look at this picture:
Now, take a moment and think what this picture shows you and maybe consider your feelings when you look at it.
How does this picture make you feel?
Does it bring back memories?
Do you have a funny story to tell, from your own childhood?
If your answer is yes to all these questions, then just let me tell you my story, and maybe you can help me understand certain things I’m clearly missing.
I was about seventeen when I’ve decided to start helping other kids with their homework. I was outside playing when a little girl, in second grade came to me, with her notebook and asked me if I can explain something she didn’t understand in class. The next day, she brought a friend to my door, and a week later I had five children who came for advice. I didn’t see it back then, but I got attached to them and I helped them see more clearly things they couldn’t understand at school.
It made me happy when they came to tell me they got better grades and that their teachers told them they were doing great at tests and in class. It’s a feeling of achievement that sticks.
Eleven years later I’m still tutoring children, adolescents and grown-ups. Romanian, English, literature, grammar, speaking and only recently CVs and other things like that (see here).
The story I’ll tell you today has something to do with a picture, or maybe more pictures, because that’s the answer I got. Everyone is in a hurry. Everything evolves in a rush, and there’s no time to actually enjoy or feel anything. So, imagine my surprise when I asked a ten year old to write a short story about her summer holiday and she refused to do it.
Considering the fact that I knew she visited Europe with her parents, I just thought it might be an exercise for her to try and use some nice vocabulary and try to write something interesting or funny about her trip.
Her answer was: You can see my pictures on the internet.
– I have to take a moment here and breathe again, because my breath stopped the very second she said that –
To be honest with you, hearing this from a ten year old, made me reconsider my entire life. How is it possible for a child that age to think that?
So, I decided to talk to her parents. After several failed attempts, they managed to make time and come to see me. They both work very hard and don’t have time to spend quality time with their child (and they know that, that’s why she has the latest gadgets she can take photos with).
They basically told me that they don’t force their child into doing stuff she doesn’t want to do.
She is allowed to spend as much time on the internet as she wants, because that way they have time to do their work.
To be honest with you, this made me very-very sad.
You don’t have to be an artist, a writer or a genius to use your imagination to write some sentences down. It is purely an act of childhood. Children should be able to describe and re-live what they’ve seen.
They should be able to imagine things, to laugh hard, to love their life, to enjoy their childhood, and most of all, to relax and see the bright side of their young age.
But they don’t… not any more. They just take pictures, with their fancy, super expensive phones (that compensate for the lack of other things – but let’s not go into that) and they forget how magical everything is.
And parents let them. They actually don’t care if this happens, because they don’t have time to see it happen.
Yes, I am old school, and I will always be. You know why?
Because I truly believe that a strong education is given by the parents, at home. That education is the foundation for a good future. Teachers come later on in life and try to give a sense of direction and explain in more depth everything… Having these pillars, children become young adults able to develop and grow furthermore. It is an easy process (or it should be).
But if the foundation is rotten, the structure will fall, and no one will be able to pick it up again. Because you can’t build a house on a pile of dust. It can’t stand proudly, and it is not fair.
We learn from each other, we learn from the people who surround us, but most of all, we should learn from our mistakes. I can still remember how much I’ve learned eleven years ago, and how much I’m still learning from everyone I meet.
It is just life, people come in our lives with a purpose and one picture can’t express everything we feel, see, or experience. It takes a second out of our lives, but if we can’t talk about it, remember it, or tell it to others… there’s no point.
This is just my opinion, and for the record, none of my students were hurt by this post and the facts were changed a bit, for the sake of the story told here (confidentiality is very important in my relation with the people who need my help)!