So, this week, my long desired dream of being an excellent swimmer, as the likes of Katie Ledecky, kicked off with my first swimming lesson. Everyone could tell I was the newbie because my excitement led to impatience (some would argue this has nothing to do with excitement but who’s asking?) that saw me going into the pool even before the class started.
I was so excited!
Just as the instructor was doing the roll call, the rest of our class arrived and the usual “hi”, “hello”, “how are you” rang in the air. Afterwards, we got down to business.
Our instructor seemed like a competent professional and her instructions were quite easy to follow. i was swimming like an olympian in no time.
At the end of the class, just as we were all leaving the pool and I was trying hard not to cry because I was having such a great time, I overheard this conversation between Bud and one of the men.
Bud: “how long have you been coming here?”
Man: “hmm! I’ve been coming here for almost two years, in fact, I’m her (motioning to the instructor) longest attending customer. Let me tell you, swimming is not as easy as they will tell you. So, just prepare to come here for a long time because it’s really hard. Just look at me!”
On my way to get my things from the locker room, I ran into him. I acknowledged him with a nod, said ‘hi’ and was just about to continue minding my own business, like I always do (Mmhmm) when he responded:
“Hello. Don’t let anyone deceive you, swimming isn’t easy. I have been coming here for almost two years and I am still struggling. It’s really hard!”
In Nigerian speak, “dis man na de grandpapa of buzi bodee!” (Meaning he was an unsolicited adviser)
My response was somewhat like this…
One of the joys of being back to working with children at the nursery (Uhuh! I’m back to ‘official’ work) is that you can be sure that each day will come with its own drama.
In preparation for the Chinese new year coming up, we were making some lanterns today.
I was sitting at a table with some of the children and wholeheartedly drawing a design on my lamp. So, was the little 3 and a half years old boy beside me. I stood up from the table to attend to a matter (Trust me! In the world of kids, there is ALWAYS something to attend to) and on returning to the table, I noticed my drawing was missing. I was about to ask the little boy beside me if he had seen it when I noticed crumpled paper in his little hands.
The following conversation took place…
Me: “A, is that my picture?”
Me: “What are you doing with it?”
A: “I’m go and put it in the bin acos I no like it”
Excuse me! I may not be Picasso or his distant one-eyed cousin who cannot paint a picture to save his life but I put my heart and soul into making that picture, thank you!
In fairness, his drawing was WAY better than mine and showed a lot of talent for such a young child. Still, it was my hard work and I will defend it! Mmhmm!
After we had the talk about not putting someone else’s artwork or things in the bin simply because you do not like it (more like they didn’t meet your standards), we both went back to completing our lanterns.
A few minutes on, he paused, looked at my picture again, and with a knowing look (or a sympathetic look – girl please! I will take whatever I can get, beggars are not choosers!) he said,
“it’s okay, I like it”.
If you thought that comment was a surprise, wait for it. I actually beamed like a 3 year old that was handed a big box of candies and responded,
The morale of today’s stories…
Morale 1: Just because it took you a long time doesn’t mean you should hate on someone else who found it ‘easy’.
Morale 2: Just because you are a genius/prodigy/extremely competent doesn’t mean you should throw someone else’s work in the ‘bin’ (Amen!)
We can’t all do the same things the same way.
“if you can’t be kind, be quiet!” – Anonymous