every single week i am humbled. i am blown-away. embarrassed. and filled with joy.
every tuesday for two hours, i put aside my “troubles” and focus on someone else for a couple hours. i teach a Nepalese family how to understand, speak, read and write English. though mostly what i do is help them learn how to navigate their new community. but usually i’m the one that learns the important things.
last month i discovered that the concept of tell time isn’t so easy if you didn’t learn it in kindergarten. we spent half an hour going over how to tell time on an analog clock, and working out the difference between morning and afternoon. then came the hard part… trying to convince her that a digital clock is, in fact, a clock. it didn’t really go well.
a few weeks ago i realized that the youngest boy of the family has one book. he has a couple school books that are way over his head, but he only has one book of his own. growing up in a family where books were plentiful and almost taken for granted it definitely caused me to pause and start mentally figuring out where i could get this kid a pile of books.
so, of course, the following week i brought him a whole bag full of picture books, coloring books, activity books, crayons, pencils and erasers. once the thanking ceased, we got into the lesson for the day… today, tomorrow and yesterday. apparently another concept that is not universal. a concept that i’m not sure everyone fully grasped by the end the session.
last week we were filling out a survey for refugee transitions and the final question was “what do you hope for the future?” the mom of the family answered that she just wanted her children to get good jobs and be happy. the dad of the family didn’t say anything at first. then he looked at me, with his hand casually perched on his pot-belly and said “same same,” with this smile that was half mischievous, half too-wise for words. but that smile almost broke my heart. and his words were so honest. for all the things that we strive to do with our lives, and all the things we are constantly trying to obtain, to hear someone truthful say they’re happy–as is–with so little was humbling.
as always, i look forward to tonight’s lesson. i’m sure there will be a surprising, humbling lesson for me.