Learning from a Kid

“I don’t know how long I’m gonna live but I’m gonna live it one day at a time and make the most out of it.”

 

I was requested to sit as one of the judges for the Impromptu Speech Contest (Lower Secondary) held during the 7th EP/MEP Open House held at Satreesisaket School in Sisaket a less known province in the northeast region of Thailand. To be honest, I’ve been doing this judging stuff for the past 6 years already so you could only imagine how boring this might have been for me. But you see, I have a way of always looking at the bright side of everything thrown my way. So instead of thinking of the boredom of sitting there for  almost a day judging some 40 high school students talking about family, entertainment, environment, etc, I focused my energy at making it an inspiration or subject for my next blog post.

The competition started at 9AM and as I entered the room, I cannot deny the excitement on the faces of students and coaches  alike. Some of them are still reading on their notes hoping they’ll pick a topic they’ve prepared  for. After a few announcements from the Thai teacher and some clarifications regarding the criteria and mechanics, everyone settled down and got ready for the  first speaker.

I was starting to give in to boredom when this little girl took on the stage and started talking on the topic ‘The Best Thing About Me’. It was the topic she randomly picked from 16 other possible topics. He voice was soft yet full of confidence and some sort of authority. I honestly did see it coming when she looked at me straight in the eye and said: The best thing about me is my ability to understand a simple fact about life: I don’t know how long I’m gonna live; so it is nice that I make the most of it while I’m still breathing. For instance, I joined this competition not only because I want to win but also, and more importantly, I want to experience how it is to speak before a group of people and have my voice be heard. 

I was not so sure how I felt right there. I thought it must have been the exact words I’ve been wanting to hear. For a moment, this little girl’s words made me reflect on how I’ve been living my life. She reminded me of my regrets, unfulfilled dreams, broken promises…

The competition ended revealing the champion that was not the little girl. When I looked for her from the crowd, I saw her enjoying her selecta ice cream never taking it to heart that she lost. I asked how she feels and she replied to me with a smile: I can join again next year…if I’m still alive.

I replied: I’ll see you then again next year…if I’m still alive, too.

 

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