So yes, I have been thinking … these small episodes. These small dots. But it takes a dot to start a bigger picture. I just want to tell you what happened. You can add all the meaningful layers around these dots. And if you wish to write down your episodes, I would be most happy!
Two years ago my dad and his godson came over for a week’s skiing holiday. My father’s godson was 15. He didn’t have official school holidays, he simply missed one week of school. How? Well, when he asked his school’s headmaster if he could have a one week leave, the answer was, “You’ll learn more in one week skiing in Switzerland than sitting at school, so yes, please go!” I will NEVER forget it. (My father’s godson is Finnish – people aware of what’s going on in different educational systems will know why his country of origin is relevant to this story 😉
Today is Tuesday. But being a Catholic Swiss canton, we have a free day today (Saint Joseph’s day). My parents are here! The sun is out! We are celebrating our third son’s 6th birthday. But the first THREE hours of this precious day were spent around the kitchen table doing maths, French conjugation, German vocabulary and preparing for a tough dictation. Some tears were shed, voices grew louder, anger lurked in the shadows, frustration and self-deprication were extremely present. And it was a FREE day! And the kids are 10 and 9. They are extremely curious by nature. They love reading. They are happy and they love life. But during these three hours they are unhappy, angry, disappointed and their self-confidence gets an awful blow.
Two weeks ago, our first son, who has some tough times at school and who is considered absent-minded and who struggles with concentration at school, spent HOURS studying extremely detailed and difficult rules for a strategic game he so badly wanted to play. First, he found the game. Second, he studied the contents, carefully. Third, he sat for an hour reading the instruction. Fourth, he explained to every member of the family (with great detail and devotion) how to play the game. We all understood. He was radiant. I cried inside.
Our school librarian made a mistake. Instead of ordering the French version of the film Les Incendies, she ordered the Italian version. I had asked her to order the film. I had wanted to see the film from the moment I saw the trailer. So we sat down with my husband one Friday evening to watch it. At first it was fine, because the main characters spoke Canadian French. But then, suddenly, when the first, extremely important part came and they spoke Arab (with Italian subtitles) we gasped in desperation. What? What are they saying? What is SHE saying? What is HE saying? Oh God!!!!! I neeeeeeed to know! We literally got closer to the screen hoping that proximity would make the Italian more easily understandable. I was relying on my almost non-existant Latin, my husband on his school Italian … because we WANTED so badly to understand! And because we NEEDED, because we WANTED to understand, because there was an overwhelming INTEREST, we almost did understand. But all the way, I was thinking of my students … of them NEEDING, of them WANTING to understand … What would bend them over backwards like that? If I could only find what … the rest would follow miraculously.