A staring contest with my computer screen. This is where I ended up after wracking my brains on what to write for the this week’s DP writing challenge.
a moment when your life was changed in a split second
A major turnaround after an angst-y pubescent phase? Not really.
Affected by a major life event such as marriage, birth or death? No.
A life changing achievement? None so far, unless you count the Alan Smithee Blog Award.
A sudden epiphany to run off to the jungle safari to be one with nature? I wish.
An enormous disappointment or failure? Destitution? Mental or emotional breakdown? Not so much. Just your average, everyday bummer here and there, thank you.
This short checklist has led me to believe that, so far, I have lived as pretty sedate life. Nothing dramatic or fancy. It’s really neither good nor bad. But it does reflect a hint of cautiousness and consistency on how I run my ship. “Instant” is not a very popular word in my vocabulary.
That does not mean that I am the same person 5 years ago. Change can occur in a myriad of ways. I guess mine just usually happen internally without much fanfare or major hullabaloo.
With this thought in mind, I am suddenly transported into a time of childish fears and fantasies.
Raised in a society which is predominantly Catholic, I hear these two arguments a lot:
1. Created in the image and likeness of God makes all of us more or less the same; a good argument for equality.
2. BUT each of us are special.
As a kid, I can’t wrap my mind around these two ideas. I hear it on Sunday mass, on religion class and even in several literature. Back when I was in school, there was already 6 billion people in existence. 6 Billion. Now, how in on earth can an average 7-year-old compete with that! I found it infinitely confusing (not to mention paradoxical) that I am special just like the rest of the globe.
Somehow two occasions in class has led me to reconcile these two arguments.
The first one happened in the first grade. We were asked us to collect all local denominations and to present them in class. Now, my parents have decided that we must do such tasks on our own even at an early age. Despite arguing that my classmate probably did their homework with their mom or dad, I was still forced to do it on my own. It was fairly easy to do so I was okay with it in the end. Upon submitting our work, I was surprised that my teacher called me up in class because she was impressed by my work. She liked the fact that I glued the coins instead of just plastering a tape over it. I was a bit confused as to why something that simple would merit a praise from a teacher. But it gave me a nice funny feeling in my chest. Is this how special feels like? If so I like it.
The second time was in the second grade when a substitute teacher asked us to draw an apple tree. I was actually getting bored already since I finished early so I decided to put some more things on my work. I really love to draw some clouds but found that there were no more space so I just drew it around my name. My teacher liked it enough to point it out in class. She also looked at me in a way that gave me a pleasant feeling far more than the words she said. To top it all off, my classmate even did the same thing in some of our exercises after that. Again, I felt glad.
So this is what they meant, being made in the image and likeness of God. I really can do great things (great does have a different measure when you are only 4 feet tall). In a way it has reaffirmed my childish belief that I can do whatever I what to pursue, in class and in life, because I am simply awesome…and special too!
It was not so much the words they said to me because I can’t remember them anymore, but what I did remember is what it made me feel. These two events have a lot in common. It made me feel really good about myself. I know this sound so shallow and somewhat self-indulgent but as an adult, I realize that these moments happen considerably less and far in between. Although I get a healthy amount of encouragement from my family, nice words from a stranger or a colleague has a certain power as well.
Aside from giving my confidence a boost, it has instilled in me the importance of recognizing other people’s work and effort. Just remembering how I felt in that moment was great in itself; but to realize that I, too, have the power to bring that much-needed lift and encouragement to others is a much greater wonder.
The timing couldn’t also be more perfect. We often look at children now as if they are not yet a “real” person despite the fact that all of us has been through that phase. The smallest of experiences that we had during our childhood can bring about such an instantaneous change, more often of great impact to our adult self.
You might say that those two occasion are fairly trivial compared to a major life event, like meeting the love of your life, or experiencing a tragedy. That may be true BUT I really think that those moments are no less as important as those life experiences that I have mentioned. Both has the capacity to change our perspective in life thereby changing the way we make everyday decisions.
Life is a cycle. Others my not be so lucky to have a supportive parent, teacher or friend in their childhood. I did. So I am resolved to continue this life changing deed by paying it forward.
I hope we all do.
This post is for all the great teachers I had in class, especially to Mrs. Caguitla and Mrs. Organo who are featured on this post
May you live long and prosper!