I grew up playing and sometimes brawling with kids. I wish someone can tell me what I asked and said when I was too young to comprehend the intricacies of life. I have met different kinds of people across religion, race, culture, and belief. But, meeting kids of various interests, ages, dreams, goals, and the like is my most favorite, because it is when you are conversing with kids that you realize the colors of life. It is the time when you are slapped by the questions and statements that have long been haunting you unconsciously. That is the time that you try to ask the questions that have long been buried,forgotten, and ignored. I listed some of the questions and statements that I heard from kids that I’ve met. Here it goes:
- “Teacher, do you know ISIS? Why do they do that?” – A question asked by a 9-year old boy.
- I was discussing to my student what the word ‘genuine’ means. I said, “it means real or true, for example a genuine or real diamond or a genuine friendship.” My 11-year-old student interrupted me and asked, “friendship? Why teacher, is there such thing as fake friendship? It is friendship, it should always be real, right? If it is fake, why would you offer that to other person in the first place?”
- My tutee and I were talking about Nelson Mandela, a South African who changed the apartheid laws before in South Africa. After a while, he asked me “Teacher, why are there races? Why is there white, black, brown, and yellow just like me? Why can’t everyone be equal?” He’s Korean.
- A 10-year-old boy once asked me, “why are you working here? Do you like your work? Are you here because you like this or are you here because you need money?”
- My nephew, who was then 11 years old, asked me, “why do people do bad things to other people? Is it needed to survive?”
- I asked a boy once, “who’s your favorite singer or band?” “No. I do not have. I am more into melody, rhythm, lyrics than the singer,” the boy replied.
- I asked my 9-year-old student, “Have you heard about the terrorist attack in Paris?” He answered enthusiastically, “Oh! Yes, yes! I saw that on TV. Why did those terrorists do that? What is the reason? I do not understand.” This is in my ESL class under the reading topic People Who Changed the World.
- I explained to my student what guardian mean. I said a guardian is a protector. Then, I asked him, “So, who is your guardian?” I expected him to answer his parents are his guardians, but- “Oh! Uhmmm… My guardian is God!” he said.
- “I asked my mom if it is possible for someone to make someone. She said that it is a religious thing. She said that it can be true or not true,” said my 9-year-old student. “Oh! That! Do you know Big Bang Theory-” before I could finish my question, he answered enthusiastically “Yes! I know that. You, teacher, which do you believe the religious thingy or the scientific one? Will you not choose Big Bang just because you are a Catholic?”
- I had a 10-year-old student before. Every after class, he would ask me, what’s his evaluation that day. In the evaluation part, there’s for scores, participation, behavior, etc. I told him to read what I’ve written “He did very well today. He shared a lot of ideas about the topic and answered the activity very well.” He smiled and said, “Oh! my mom will really be happy of my evaluation.” That’s how he reacted to me everytime he got a good evaluation. Then I said, “you really love your mom. You want her to be happy always. That’s very good!” Then he replied, “well, because she hits me everytime I get negative evaluation. She’ll say ‘oh, you are playing again in your class.'” My heart was melting while I packed my things. I remembered the times when I wrote in his evaluation sheet, “He did well today with the lessons, but he’s a bit playful.”
Those are just some of the many that I came across. Some left me open-mouthed and speechless. Some left me thirsty and hungry for truth. While most of them left me wondering about faith, love, humanity, and life as a whole. I know that the questions and statements that kids make will continue as I live. They may be haunting but they make me realize things and somehow leave imprints in my heart and soul.
(Photo taken from www.workingmomsagainstguilt.com)