Lately I just don't have the joy of writing at any length because I am spending all my time trying to help the kids in the run up to their exams. I really miss blogging and while I have the time I wanted to share a little story about on of the kids I teach (because all I can think about at the moment is teaching)
I teach a very bright boy from the Czech Republic who recently won himself a place at Cambridge to study Theology. I am not exaggerating when I say he is a real joy in every way and the whole school staff light up when you mention his name not because he is clever but because he is actually a great kid to have around. He is always full of life and relish- he bounces into the classroom as though to be there is a delight- he loves literature and philosophy. Sometimes I have found him quietly saying his Rosary in the chapel or sitting reading his Bible or St. Augustine in a corner somewhere. That is brave for a teenager who is already marking himself out with an intelligence and enthusiasm which many of the other kids I teach resent because of jealousy. They don't like that he understands Shakespeare better even though he is learning in his second language. They often push him to the outside. He never pushes himself to the front or patronises anyone, he stands back and is quite often forgotten.
When you correct him he takes it with a smile and a quip. He loves to involve everyone in discussion and debate. Sometimes he will stay after the lesson to ask me all kinds of questions about writers and great works of literature simply because he is interested. I am not saying he is better than the other kids but I can't deny that he is a likable character.
Today we asked if he would like to buy the anthology of the kids work that we have just produced and had published for charity. He came every Tuesday lunchtime to help edit it. He smiled and shook his head and said quietly that the amount we were asking (relatively little) was the amount his father earned a day (his father is still in the Czech Republic). It is easy to forget peoples struggles and difficulties- especially when you spend your time moaning about your own. It just woke me up a bit to all the opportunity we have (even in this economic crisis). From this happy, well adjusted chap came an unexpected lesson about appreciation and value. It is not the the student in question I am pitying in this tale it is all of us (especially me) who lose sight of the value of things and complain when we can't have what we want. Why? when there is so much to appreciate in life. There are always plenty of people with less (materially) who may well be better off because they have a sense of their own worth. The said student knows how hard he worked on the editing of that anthology but he doesn't need to have it in order to satisfy himself- the knowledge of the finished product, the fact it is good and appreciated by others is satisfaction enough. I can't help admiring that quality. I don't think I have it...yet.
(Just a note to say we will find a way of giving him an anthology anyway - we just haven't quite worked out how just yet- we don't want to embarrass him or hurt his pride)
It feels good to write a post