Friday, 27 August 2010

WHY I HAD THE CHRONIC BACK-TO-SCHOOL BLUES

Most parents understand why children wish they didn't have to go to school. After two or three glorious months, depending on the country, the fun and carefree times suddenly end.

I had an additional reason for dreading my return to school, namely that it was five hundred miles away and I wouldn't return home again until Christmas. Worse yet, no adult agreed with me that the finest facility without freedom still resembled a prison. From Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School), here is one example of my complaint going unheeded.

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Suddenly it was September. "Time sure flies during the holidays," I complained to Mom one day. "It seems to speed up during the summer and drag by when I'm at stupid old Jericho jail."

"It isn't like that at all. The days are all the same length." Mom suddenly changed the topic. "How come you don't like it there at Jericho? They have a swimming pool and a bowling alley. You should be grateful for the three meals a day that they give you. You get a bed to sleep in, and they have special teachers there. Many kids in poor countries would love to go to school, you know."

What could I say to adequately express the longing in my heart to stay home and live a normal life? She never had supervisors watching over her. How could I verbalize to Mom that being with the school bully twenty-four hours a day was oppressive? How could I explain my feeling of injustice regarding the Vancouver students being able to go home every afternoon while I waited for months? Since I realized the futility of my situation, I said nothing.

I felt extremely homesick as Dad drove me once more to the airport. It was as if I had a bottomless pit inside me and my heart was in freefall. I gazed longingly at my home town and waved farewell to it until it vanished from site.

"Why do you keep waving like that?" Dad asked, clearly baffled.

"I'm saying goodbye to Fort Saskatchewan," I explained.

"You silly guy," Dad laughed.

"What's wrong with going to Jericho?" Dad asked after a prolonged silence. "They give you three square meals and a bed. They teach you and take you out to all sorts of places. Don't you know there are children starving in India?"

I tuned out, realizing that he failed to understand as well. Adults had given me that sort of speech often in the past and it only demonstrated their total insensitivity to my feelings. Both parents failed to realize how Jericho was affecting me.

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Deliverance from Jericho contains many more vignettes of what life was like in that government-run institution. These range from poignant experiences of homesickness to hilarious incidents of mischief. Click here to read more about this book and to order it. You may also e-mail me directly for more information.