Here’s a true story about this boy I know. His family's not financially well off. Though his parents supported his studies by sending him to a public school in elementary. They were luckier compared to his neighbors since they were living on a small land which his late grandfather bought some years ago while most of his friends and playmates were from the squatter’s area. Their toys were those that could be bought from sari-sari stores and they also played with candy covers, bottle crowns, cigarette packs and other things that could be found in trash bags.
Cursing was the common language there. Drinking, gambling and other vices were the hobbies of many. Shouting and fighting among families and neighbors were also prevalent. It’s usual to hear nagging, see people throwing bottles at each other or a bloodied person caused by fighting.
Sadly, this boy did not have to go out of his house to experience those things. And it was more difficult for him to avoid what’s in their home than from those happening outside. He experienced a lot of verbal, emotional, psychological and sometimes physical abuse. A weak heart could have been traumatized with his experience. He might be. And there are scars for sure.
|Hawakan mo nga sa tenga.|
This boy, however, loves reading and was doing well in his studies. But he’s far from being that perfect kid. He was very sensitive on teasing by other kids and he always ended up with fist fights. There was a period in his life that a week won't pass without him getting into scuffles even with those several years older than him.
With that kind of scenario, what do you think this boy became? For sure, he’s not alone in this kind of life.
The society and the people that children grow up with are huge factors on how they are being molded as an adult person. Unfortunately, our powers to choose which environment our kids roam around are limited. Not everyone can choose which place to live in, which kids our children play with, which people to work and interact with and most importantly what kind of parents and family you would live with. And sometimes, society is quick to judge on people by their backgrounds which happen to be the reason why most of us choose to hide our personal history from others.
The factors mentioned above may have a large impact on what a person could become. But there are other several things that we tend to underestimate on a person’s character building. One is the influence of a few good people. It can be a real person around him or those which he just reads or learns about. And at times, these persons have more impact to many of us than those whom we meet face to face. Sometimes it only takes one good person for a child to look up to for him to become a better man someday.
And another is that we forget the natural goodness of a child and his judgement on what/whom to imitate or to avoid. It was once said that if something is wrong, it becomes right in the eyes of a child if done by an adult. it will be absolutely true only if everybody around him does that. But if there’s at least just one person in his surrounding who shows the right example, the natural goodness of that kid will direct him to who he should follow.
Going back to that boy, I know him very well. Looking back at what he went through, I can tell that he grew up better than what we would have expected him to become. His life is not perfect. His character is not flawless. He still has a lot of issues in him but I can say he’s doing better in his life now compared with his past. He’s very much a work in progress. He's able to embrace his dark past. Thanks to the few good people who supported this kid. Some of them are still around while some were gone and others, he just read them on books. And this boy is me.