Eyes wide open
Updated: Feb 3, 2019
“Eyes wide open.” It's one of the half dozen or so short sayings that I try to live by. It reminds me curious and try to take everything in. To look up and learn lots. To be open to new things.
As we get older, most of us become less and less impressionable. We look to others less for guidance on how to do, think and act. We are usually raised to be this way. To try to “become ourselves”, to become independent. While I think that the whole idea of becoming oneself is absolute bullsh*t (it’s all an endless search), I do think that as we age, the way we are becomes less of an impersonation of what we see other people doing. We pride ourselves in this so-called independence, usually mistaking it for freedom.
But the independence and freedom of adulthood shouldn’t equate to being less impressionable and less curious. The last week or so, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and interact with lots of kids. Most are from fairly tough backgrounds—they are living in slums, were previously child laborers, have been abused, or have very difficult home lives. They’ve seen a lot. They’ve been through a lot.
But the students I’ve had the opportunity to interact with over the last week or so are filled with curiosity and an almost insatiable desire to learn. The learning I’m talking about happens both inside and outside the classroom.
“Ma’am, but what about…” “Ma’am how?..” “Ma’am,” “Ma’am!” The students at APSA Dream School that we are working with, mostly girls in their early teens, are always seeking-- right on their teachers’ toes. They finish their teachers sentences, and in a hurry, too.
“Dance, ma’am!” They command me to show them a dance move they see as different from their own. “What hobbies, ma’am?” they ask me. And, more seriously, “How
did you become white?” one 14-year-old asked.
The girls at Dream School are a reminder to ask more “why” and “how” questions. To be eager for new information. To be curious and open to people who are different from them. To try to answer hard questions. To keep my eyes wide open.