29 Oct 2020
Years back through an English assignment, a young boy revealed that he came from a single parent household. His father had been incarcerated for various offences.
“Are you sure you want to read your story to the class?“ I asked him to consider some of the more specific details he had written.
The boy who identified strongly with American gymnast, Simone Biles’ childhood said he wanted to go ahead. The class was very quiet after listening to him.
When everyone had left the room, the 13 year old boy smiled gently. His eyes glowed softly as he said quietly, “Now I don’t have to lie about my mother’s divorce and make up stories about my father anymore. And people can stop asking about my father during PTM (parent-teacher meeting).”
He also revealed that his father used to burn him with lighted cigarettes. The mother’s shame did not allow her abused child to speak ill of his abuser.It was their neighbour who called the police.
The boy and I agreed that because he could share the truth of his background, he wouldn’t have to be constantly on the lookout for people finding out.
After that episode, he put in extra effort in his writing, and often came up with new words to express his thoughts. Free from the fetters of shame and secrets, the boy’s mind flourished with new energy and he found his voice.
It was as if fragments of his fractured psyche were coming together. One of the words he “die die also must write” in all his essays and reflections regardless of its appropriateness and context is “beatific.”
And beatific means “rapturous joy” and “divine bliss”, his rewards for having the courage to make peace with the good and bad bits of his life.
To this day I remember the shine in the eyes of Beatific Boy as he was relieved of the baggage of lies.
May we adults try to live responsibly & truthfully to the best of our ability, so as not to burden children with our broken dreams, unfinished business and unceasing neuroses.