JournalismPakistan.com December 17, 2013
I woke up this morning at 5.30 am and went to GEMS Modern Academy to give a talk to 3000 boys and girls, all of them heap smart.
Thing is I wrote a book for teens and pre-teens and there was this book signing they had arranged for me and it is such an incredible sensation. Especially making children laugh.
It takes time to break that barrier because they are so used to adults giving them lectures on healthy bodies and healthy minds and well-rounded personalities and the fact is most adults have no clue how to interact with youngsters.
Either they talk down to them or they are lofty and idealistic and bore the assembly to sleep. To get their attention and their respect you need to get on the same page and travel back 50 years (for me) and recall your own days in school and dull as dishwater chief guests and exams and teacher’s pets and cogging the smart guy’s homework and then they know okay, this guy is for real, he’s talking our language and after that the rapport is so immensely elevating.
Adults have forgotten how to spend time with youngsters. That’s why being a teacher is such a beautiful job. You are like a sculptor and an architect and you have this clay and you can shape it to its best form.
This is also why writing for children is one of the toughest things I have done. Just like it is when speaking to them, your book or story has to resonate with them. And today’s kids are no pushovers, they don’t like something, they tell you. On your face, in your face, there is this confidence that a good education brings.
It was a great morning and the only reason I am sharing it with you is that if you have children or access the young, spend more time with them, teach, play, give them purpose, volunteer for a club, don’t waste this time clambering up your silly little social ladders or counting your wealth…these kids make you richer than all your tribe.
If only I could steal that lucky principal’s job….
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
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