Here’s a true story about a boy I know. His family was not financially well off but at least, his parents supported his studies by sending him to a public school in elementary. They were luckier compared to his other neighbors since they were living on a small land which was bought by his grandfather some years ago. Most of his friends were from the squatter’s area. He played with them most of the time. 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 on trash bags.
Cursing was common language on their neighborhood. Drunken guys, gambling and other types of vices were the hobbies of many. Shouting and fighting among families and neighbors were also prevalent. It’s not surprising to hear nagging, see people throwing bottles at each other or seeing 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 and sometimes physical abuse.
|Hawakan mo nga sa tenga.|
This boy, however, love reading and was doing well in his studies. But he’s not the perfect kid. He was very sensitive on teasing thrown to him by other kids and always ended up with fist fights. There was a period in his life that a week never passed without him getting into fights even with those several years older than him.
With that kind of scenario, what do you think this boy became? And for sure, he’s not alone on this kind of life.
Environment, the surroundings and people that children grow up with are factors which have big effects 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 on which place to live, which kids our children play with, which people to interact with and most importantly what kind of parents and family you would have. And sometimes, society is quick to judge on people by their backgrounds which happen to be the reason why some people choose to hide their personal history from others.
The factors mentioned above may have big weight on what a person could become. But there are several things that we tend to underestimate a lot 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 people 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 judgment on what 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. There’s truth in that if everybody around him do that. But if there’s still even just one person remaining in his surrounding who does good things, 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 could have expected him to be. His life is not perfect. His character is not flawless. He still has a lot of issues in him but at least, he’s doing well in his life now compared with his past. He’s very much a work in progress. Thanks to the few good people who supported this kid. Some of them are still around while some were already gone and others, he just read them on books. And this boy is me.