I was a bit touched when a classmate of mine handed me a note saying that he looked up to me as a “real parent.” She thanked me for being kind and for being generous to my classmates. I am a bit rattled because I am not that “close” to them (I am close to them but not in the sense of “close.”). It’s a generation thing really because I can’t relate to the music they listen to, the TV shows they watch (Pinoy Big Brother) and I can’t even keep up with their energy and enthusiasm. So, all a long I was just there in the class most of the time silent, just observing them. So I was thinking what made me generous to them?
Hmmmm….I’m thinking. Maybe it’s because they always ask me for some yellow papers (legal writing paper). It’s like this, most of the time (especially in my junior and senior years) I go to school carrying nothing but a pad of yellow paper and a pen. So whenever there’s a quiz, most of them would look at me, smile and say, “Daddy, can I have a yellow paper?”
Sometimes they come to me for advice.
Sometimes they ask me for a peso or two but they usually pay it back. I remember when we had a play about the life of Rizal. I wrote the script so I was exempted from doing anything else. But sometimes during their practices, I visited them twice and I brought with me pandecocos (bread with coconut filling) and like little girls some of them would jump and shout, “Daddy has brought us some meriendas!” Of course I did not do it to impress my classmates. The easiest thing to do is to impress people; all that takes is the ability to lie without flinching. No, it’s not to impress them. It’s really to ease my guilt at seeing my classmates practicing the play immediately after our classes while I had nothing to do.
This is not unique for me because our class has mommies too, student my age who are also studying to be teachers. They are treated the same way I was treated, like a parent. I remember one of these mommies distributing gelatins and candies and sweets to the class and my classmates, like children, were so happy.
Of course to us adult students, these little things, like giving those candies or the pandecocos are nothing but random acts of little kindness but for me (I don’t know about the mommies) and maybe without me knowing it, I had created an image in their minds of me being a daddy or a big brother.
Here’s the funny part, I think I conformed to that daddy or big brother image not because I tried to be one, but because unconsciously, I began to see myself hating to disappoint these little classmates of mine.
These little classmates of mine inspired me, and I hope in some ways I inspired them too.