The memories, of how you’d, saved a student from committing suicide, of how she’d, thanked you, by sending you that, package to let you know, that she is now, okay…translated…
On the eve of Confucius’s birthday, I’d recalled something that’s, happened from the past.
I’m a psychiatrist in practice, and worked with the Department of Education, the school instructors, made the lectures of suicide preventing to the instructors in the elementary and middle school levels. One evening a little more than a decade ago, I’d gone to a middle school by the river in the south of the city to visit. Recalled that that evening, the seminar held in the evenings was very, welcoming, in the time, I’d had the seventy to eighty instructors in the audience to split themselves into groups of three, sharing within the groups, their encounters of their students’ having mutilated themselves, or suicide attempts, or having lost a student to suicide.
During the break, an experienced female instructor came and told me a story. This almost retired Chinese instructor told me, that she had taught a girl. To help her students feel motivated in learning, she’d assigned the play of “Romeo & Juliet” in her Chinese language courses, for the students to fight for the roles that they wanted to play. As it came time to select the Juliet, normally, it would be the prettiest girl in the class who raised up her hand, but it wasn’t.
Although, she was, hesitant, she’d still, let the girl play the role, as that female student had, wished to play the role of, Juliet.
As the play successfully got finished, this event, got lost, in the busyness of the semester, didn’t leave a single, ripple, it seemed. What caused the waves, was that winter, on a day too cold. One day after class, this girl whom nobody noticed, walked out of the school. Nobody paid any attention, that she’d, walked over the embankment, and, into, the, river.
And maybe, it was, how cold it was on the day. Or maybe, it’s the person who’d wanted to commit suicide being, hesitant (The to be or not to be), this adolescent finally, made her way, back up the shores, entered back into the school, and, the school officials found her completely wet (maybe, frozen too!). The thrilled instructors ushered her to the principal’s office, not known what they should, say to her.
illustration from UDN.com
This Chinese instructor recalled, as she was called to the principal’s office, she’d, learned that this young girl had, attempted suicide. “I wasn’t her homeroom instructor, had no idea of her background, and her situation. But this kid told the principal, that she wanted, to, see me.” And yet, being young, the instructor felt anxious then, not known how to counsel a student who’d, just, almost entered into the gates of, hell.
The moment the instructor was forced to walk into the principal’s office, she’d had a thought, pretended that she’d not know what had just happened, as she saw the child, with the fallen leaves stuck on her waist and areas below, she’d, rushed up to her, exclaimed, “My Juliet! What happened to you?”, and hugged the girl, really tight.
Time flew quickly, as the graduating class graduated, life fast-forwarded close to a full decade’s time. She’d also, forgotten about this, particular, student, until one day, in school, she’d received a package from that young woman.
Inside it, what would, she find?
She was surprised, and, uneasy, slowly, opening up the package. There were, the copies of pages of paper. It was from the girl’s middle school, technical high school, community college, the certifications she’d earned, the awards certificates, and the diplomas.
That evening, in the middle school south of down, that instructor slowly told of the story of then, and hoped, that in the future, in my suicide prevention seminars, she could, share the story she’d, told me. The instructor looked very, peaceful, but I was, really moved inside.
Actually, in the hundreds of seminars for the past decade or so, I’d not mentioned this story often. Or maybe, I have, yet to get over the shock it’d, left me, as I’d told this story to the audience, everything stopped whispering, and there was NO sound, and I saw some instructors, secretly, wiping away their, tears.
Confucius birthday comes every year, but I keep on thinking, what, better gift there was, than this, package, on this, day, to celebrate, the teachers?
And so, this is, the huge difference that, a school teacher’s care toward a student can have on the student’s life, this instructor’s hug of the student, helped her turn her own life around, and it’d helped her gain the strengths to keep on going in her life, and the student gave the best present back to the instructor who’d helped her, by sending the package of all of her, important milestone markers, to let the instructor know, that she’s, okay now.