July 3, 2012


For the past month or so, my schedule has been a bit hectic, what with classes and helping to train my students for the Giraffe Storytelling competition.  Unfortunately, there are side effects to this hectic schedule.

My sleeping pattern has been dramatically changed.  My eating habits are, well, less than perfect – not that that is a different thing, but a lot different than normal for me.  My home is still in a shambles, the renovating has been on hiatus for a while now, and it just seems I’m still in a state of anarchy.

However, all this is neither unexpected nor unwelcome!  I think, if I was to really think about it, the one thing that keeps a person young, is to be on the go all the time.  That isn’t to say one has to be constantly moving, just always having SOMETHING to do.

And by young, I don’t mean on the outside – what people see.  By young, I mean mentally, emotionally, and to a certain degree, physically.  I take inspiration from people I find are active, and ’emotionally’ with it!  When I look around at the younger generations growing up, and hearing what their ‘lifestyle’ is like, I can’t help to think what their adult life will be like.

As kids, mom in particular, always made sure that we had something to do.  Whether it be homework, waxing floors, doing dishes, cleaning our rooms, shoveling sidewalks, mowing the lawn… anything that kept us occupied.  We did have our times to play with our friends, and join the swim team, and various other activities outside the house, but we were always kept active.  Perhaps I resented that for a long time.  When our friends were out playing, and we were stuck inside cleaning our rooms or waxing and polishing floors, I can’t honestly admit that I enjoyed it.  I didn’t!

Little did I realize, and whether mom actually realized what she was showing us, was responsibility.  At a young age, she was, in her own way, showing us that life is not all about playing and swimming and sitting in the sun all day.  Now how can I, as an educator, pass these kinds of lessons on to my students?  How often I get into class, just to discover that the students are just beginning their homework assignments, given to them one week ago?

I do admit that perhaps kids in Taiwan are busier with school and bushiban lessons than the average North American child.  However, you cannot convince me that they are completely occupied from sunrise to sunset, 7/365! Of course, they will argue differently to me, but when I see these ‘children’ with Facebook accounts, see their scores constantly being ‘shared’, watching them play with plastic cups and cell phones, I can hardly accept that argument.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  To use an analogy, I am a hardware store owner.  I have all the supplies needed to built a house.  However, I am not a carpenter.  My students are the carpenters, building their own homes.  I can help them, give them the supplies, even teach them how to use the tools, but I cannot build their homes.  I fear many of these kids will still be kids, living at home with mommy and daddy, when they are in their 30s and 40s.

There is nothing wrong with slacking off once in a while.  Hell, I do it now, and I’m an adult!  I enjoy playing my games on Facebook, and watching programs on ‘justin.tv’.  I would love nothing more than to just lie in bed, watch T.V., and eat bonbons for one day.  To do ABSOLUTELY nothing.  But I can’t!  I can’t waste time that way.

Then again, my childhood experiences (and parental lessons) are not typical.  When I look at all my students, I can see who is going to be a ‘star’, and who is going to be a ‘betelnut stand’ owner or server!  I can see who will likely go to university or college and actually make something of their lives.  And I can see the ones who are destined to flip burgers or pick up trash for the rest of their adult lives.

If I could press one thought on my students, that would be, do your homework.  Use video games, or watching television, or playing with your cell phone, as a reward for completing your ‘work’!  Perhaps a lot has to do with the fact, when I was a kid, we didn’t have computers or cell phones.  Although we had a colour television, it was still not the mainstay of our youth.  Similar arguments could probably be presented by my educators when I was a youth.  My educators could tell me about their lives growing up and still come up with similar insights that I see in my life, now.

And perhaps, my little students, will retell their experiences in 40 or 50 years to their children and youths at that time, of just how rough their life is with cell phones and video games and television.  Perhaps in 40 or 50 years, these items will be a lot different, if perhaps non-existent!  Perhaps SCHOOL will be a thing of the past in 50 years!

Your life is what you make of it – today!

That’s it, that’s all… for now!

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3 Comments

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