July 18, 2012

The Boy Who Changed


I had a Spanish student in the camp named Ramon. He is really a nice boy. On the first days in class, he was very attentive and active. He wasn’t reluctant to utter his opinions and ideas in class, and his attitudes made him one of my best students.

However, a week after the class, Roman showed some changes. He looked very sleepy and passive in class. He didn’t participate in all classroom activities like he used to do. He even showed me that lazy face, as if he was saying, “I don’t want to be here anymore!”

To be honest, I was worried about his ‘new’ behavior. I asked for advice to Alan – the Irish teacher – and he suggested me to talk to him personally. And I did. Later in one evening, I called Roman and said, “Can we talk for a moment after the class?” and he agreed.

After class, I met Roman outside the classroom. I asked him, “Do you have any problems you want to talk to me?”

He said, “Yes, I have a terrible problem till I have got a headache.”

I asked him to sit down on a nearby bench and we talked. Roman began telling me what had been bothering him for some days. Well, in short, the problem was about a girl that he loved, that actually loved him back, but chose another boy instead. Roman was very sad about it and he wanted to, once again, tell the girl that he loved her and asked her to choose between him and the other guy. He asked me for advice, whether he should talk to her before the party – we would have a disco after dinner – or during the party. I told him to talk to her before the party.

Then I said, “I hope you will feel a lot better tomorrow. I am worried. I miss the old Roman.”

He smiled and said, “My feelings tomorrow depend on her answer tonight. If she says ‘Yes,’ then I will be happy tomorrow. But if she says ‘No,’ I may be still sad like today, or even worse.”

I told Roman, “You know what; happiness is a choice. No matter how heavy the burden you carry on your shoulders, if you choose to be happy, then you will be fine. Yet, if you choose to be sad, you will sink even deeper than where you are right now.”

Roman didn’t say anything. Our discussion ended that way.

The next morning, I got the chance to talk to him, so I asked, “How was last night? Did she say ‘Yes’?”

Roman said ‘No,’ but then he said, “It wasn’t a big deal anymore. I choose to be happy,” and smiled.

I was absolutely happy for him. He chose to be happy and he was back to be Roman he used to be.

And a surprise happened on the last night in the camp. Most of the students were crying. They hugged each other and said goodbye. I was there standing near the crowd when Roman came to me and spread his arms, wanting to hug me. I hugged him back and I heard him saying, “Thank you for everything.”

If it had not been because of the light, I would have cried there. Some more students came to me, hugged me and said, “Thank you.” A feeling of relieved suddenly crept into my body. I was not only their teacher. I was their friend.

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