Last October, Nima Zangpo, a teacher from Gonpasingma Lower Secondary School in Pemagatshel, asked me to write a letter to his students. It was both humbling and a privilege for a farmer to be asked to write to the students to inspire them. More than what I have in me to be of any inspiration, I appreciated the teacher’s innovative idea to get his students motivated through means other than those available at his disposal in the school. This, to me is how a creative and resourceful teacher thinks out of box to inspire children to learn so many of life’s lessons.
So, I wrote to his students telling them to study zealously and give their best as they are in the school to learn and study. I told them that while result is important, not everybody can excel in studies because of the limitations we all have in life. I explained to them on why giving their best is more important than the result itself because that is the only thing they can possibly do.
I also wrote to them on how competitions in life are getting stiffer by the day and how, while it is difficult, it will bring the best out of them. I urged them to recognize their inherent talents and follow them with passion in life and do things that make them happy. Success in life doesn’t necessarily mean that someone should be brilliant academically since not everyone is cut out to be brilliant. I wrote about the more important goals in life-to be good human beings and responsible citizens for a happy and meaningful life.
On February 26, 2017, the eve of Bhutanese New Year Losar, Nima visited me with a priceless present of a book and six replies his students wrote to me towards the end of last year. I am privileged to share some of what these young children wrote to me:
A class six student described about her school and the excitement of the examination that was nearing then. She apparently was well prepared to be happy about the examination unlike students elsewhere. She wants to become an engineer some day, perhaps motivated by a flyover bridge in her school, she wrote about in her letter.
A class four student wanted to do good things in life and he shared some examples of what those good things are; like sharing pen and pencils, helping those in needs and showing kindness to animals. He then shared about his favourite story. It is about monkey and crocodile and how the clever monkey avoided crocodile’s open mouth by jumping on its back.
Another class four student loves to read and write (something wonderful to hear). She says, she has become a friend of dictionary because she is able to learn many things from it. She was reading a book called, “No Fighting and No Biting.” She likes Joen and dislikes Rose and Willy in the book without saying why. She also has a bit of an advice for me, “to work hard until I succeed in life.” I honestly think I need to.
One class six student asked me why I prefer working on my farm rather than in some office. This student wants me to share stories and poems. Her mate, a class seven student says that she has a passion for singing and dancing but, admits she is even better in reading books. She is apparently one of the most active and determined student in the school because she loves both indoor and outdoor games as well besides being a position holder in her class.
The final reply was also from a class topper. Written with a beautiful handwriting, she shared an inspiring poem titled, “Teach me.” She says she does everything on time and reads at least one page of a book before going to sleep. She says her family is poor but lives happily. Something wonderful to hear but not surprising story in rural villages as happiness is infectiously prevalent more in communities that live in the fringes of everything.
All these replies have one thing in common; children said that, they were inspired by my previous letter and want me to write again. I intend to write back as some have queries that require answering. Others want me to share articles that I wrote. Perhaps, this kind of interactions helps them learn something besides serving as a leisurely break from the never ending classroom learning.
March 12, 2017