Saturday, June 22, 2019



Early one morning, I arrived at one of my favorite High School and started to familiarize myself with what needed to be done that day with my assigned classes: My assignment read, "Phys Ed. Health Secondary, Sokalag C. teacher". Mr. Sokalag had left a message that there would be no gym that day. Students were supposed to work on various health assignments he had given to them previously. This meant no gym dress attire for me, sweat pants, and sneakers.

As I was walking down the corridor, I could see on the left side, two girls sitting down in front of the lockers. They were huddled together. As I approached, I could see that one was in tears while the other was trying to counsel her. I stopped and bent down to speak to them.

The one in weeping had bloodshot puffed eyes, an indication to me that she had been crying for a long time and possibly had not had much sleep that night. I felt somewhat intrusive in entering their space, but I tried in the most sincere and empathetic way to demonstrate to them, that I was only interested to see if I can be of any assistance. "Is there anything, I can help you with?", I asked. They both nodded, "No." I got up and moved on, feeling much regret that I had witnessed a child in much pain and for me not to be able to reach out. I convinced myself that this was a private moment between friends, and it was not my place to insist further.

When the first class started, once again, students insisted that I tell them a story. I decided to relate to them the story of Ayonwatha, from my story entitled, "The Native." All went very well in the first period, and many students were curious enough to copy my blog URL...

... to continue reading further, about my journey as "The Substitute Teacher." In the following class, I was somewhat surprised to find out that, sitting in the third row, two desks back from the front,  were seated the two girls, in my morning encounter.  I identified them from the attendance list, as Sofia and Luciana.

As I was relating to the students Ayonwatha's predicament in life; having to live with his grandmother, and the loss of both his father and mother, one could see Luciana, visibly shaken;  bellowing tears began streaking down her cheeks. I paused and turned to address Luciana. I said, "Sometimes my stories are emotionally moving to some students. I even become emotional myself when I am telling them. Would you like to take a break?" Slowly, and somewhat embarrassed, Luciana got up and walked towards the door. I nodded to Sofia, to lip-read my gestures, asking her, "Would you see to it that she is alright?" Both girls walked out.

It was during recess,  while I waited in class, that Sofia came to speak to me. She was very concerned about Luciana, her friend: Luciana was planning to run away, that night. When I asked for more details, Sofia became hesitant, feeling uncomfortable in that she was "telling" on her friend. She thought that if there was some truth in my story of "The Light," that I might be able to help. I tried to assure Sofia that, although I could not promise that it would be "The Light," that would help in this situation. The fact that she had shared in trust with me, she was already helping her friend. Running away was not the solution for Luciana, and we must help her see that by doing so, she would be creating more problems for herself than finding solutions.  I had a spare the following period, so I decided to visit the school counselor, Ms. Janice.

Ms. Janice was quite aware of Luciana's home issues but did not know that things had gotten so far out of hand; that she was thinking of running away. Luciana had been a top student and very well adjusted until her parents started having issues.

According to Ms. Janice, Luciana's father had lost his job as an aircraft engineer and had not been able to obtain another one in Montreal, for some time. Her mom was a chef, so the couple had tried opening a restaurant. They took a big gamble and invested all their savings, including having to mortgage their home. The business had failed, and now the couple had started, "the blame game." Luciana's entire world had changed. Her father had to leave the province to find work. Luciana and her mother struggled to make ends meet. She loved her father and missed him very much, but her mother kept insisting that he was a "no good." Each time Luciana's, mother would badmouth her dad, fights would break out between them. The child was torn apart, she wished for her world of the past, which was no more. Ms. Janice insisted there was little we could do, other than informing the mother because Luciana had not actually run away from home. I decided to bring up this matter with my mentor and friend, Constable Martineau.

Constable Martineau was very understanding of the situation, but like Ms. Janice, the school counselor said that his hands were tied because the girl had not run away. That her running away, was second-hand information from her friend Sofia. He promised to have a few of his friends in the division, keep close surveillance of Luciana's home for a possible run away. Two nights later, at about 1:30 in the morning, I received a call from Constable Martineau, that Luciana had indeed run away from home. She was found trying to board an inter-provincial bus. She was in an appalling state, rebellious and self-harming. She was taken to a Children's Aid Center. I asked what was to be done with her, and the Constable informed me that her mother would be called to pick her up.

Two days after this incident, I received a call from Ms. Janice, the school counselor. She asked if I could drop by the school, to see her at a time when Luciana and her mom would also be attending.

When I arrived at the school, that afternoon and entered Ms. Janice's office, sitting at the table, was Luciana and a lady who I believed was her mother, it was Mrs. Richardo. Ms. Janice went on to say, that one of the reasons, Luciana had run away, was inspired by my story of Ayonwatha,  the young boy, in my account of "The Native." How by running away, he was able to get close to his father. Luciana hoped to travel to Alberta and find her father.

Mrs. Richardo seemed lost at all this and had no idea what to do; she feared Luciana would attempt to run away once again. I asked the mother and with Ms. Janice' permission if I could have a few minutes in private with Luciana to see if there were any way I could help.

In the next office, with Luciana, I started asking her how she felt and why she had tried to run away. Once again, Luciana broke down crying, and calling out, "THERE IS CHAOS IN MY HEART." I told her that I understood that life was difficult for a young person like herself to understand and make sense; there was hope. She reminisced about times when her family was together, and all the pleasant times she had with her Dad and Mom. The family was so happy up until her dad lost his job. I assured Luciana that both her father and mother loved her: She responded that they could not love her if they did not like each other.

According to Luciana's mother, Mr. Richardo had gone to Alberta, and found a job that only gave him minimal income; not enough for him and his family to have a decent life. When I described the situation to Constable Martineau later on the next day and how I wanted to help, he became leery of my getting too involved. My mentor reasoned that all members of the family were healthy, and they, in time, would be able to solve their problems. He advised that I should not get involved in every issue, fearing what could happen to me, if the power of "The Light," were to be exposed. I was torn about what to do. On the one hand, I knew Constable Martineau, was right in his concern for my family's safety, but I also felt compelled to reach out and help Luciana. I had to find an indirect way to help.

That night, I turned to the Elysium and the wisdom of the Judges. In the fog of eternity, beyond the thoughts of perceived reality and the essence of all, I saw two figures of ancient times. One with wings of birds attached to him; he was the younger of the two, Ikaros. Next to him, the most celebrated architect of that time, his father, Daedalus.
 " Ο νεαρός πρέπει να ανοίξει τα φτερά τους και να πετάξουν, δεν μπορούν να συγκρατηθεί, θα πρέπει να επικουρείται στο ένδοξο ταξίδι τους σε κίνδυνο και τη σοφία. Πάρτε αυτή την πτέρυγα της σκέψης, κομιστή του φωτός, σ 'αυτόν που σχεδιάζει σαν εμένα και να τον βοηθήσει να κατασκευάσει τα φτερά για την πτήση. Νέους ένα του επιθυμεί να είναι έτσι."

(The young must spread their wings and fly. They cannot be held back. They must be assisted in their glorious journey of risk to gain wisdom. Take this wing of thought, bearer of The Light, to him who weaves thought into reality and help him construct the wings for flight. His young one wishes it is so.) I knew then what needed to be done:

I could see myself having an out of body experience, traveling west to the land of gushing petrol, the tar sands of Alberta. In a small mobile cabin, a man slept there. Next to him, on a dresser, a small picture frame. The picture was of Luciana, her mother, and presumably her father, Mr. Richardo. Next to a small table lay some drafting plans of what appeared to be some drawing of wings of planes.

I proceeded to place the palm of my right hand on Mr. Richardo's right shoulder, "The Light" transfer had been made, he soon stirred and woke up. He moved to the table, looked at the drawings, and became very excited, his face glowing with “An aha! Moment”. He took hold of a giant eraser and started altering those drawings. He worked, measured, and did many complicated calculations. Finally, he was finished. He took, his final design and pinned it on the wall in front of him; he lay down once again on his bed, staring at his new plans in glee. I knew my mission was complete.

A week later, I was called to substitute at the school, where Luciana was attending. I decided to drop by Ms. Janice's office to get an update on Luciana. Ms. Janice, with a great big smile, informed me that Mr. Richardo had returned back to his old job at Bombardier. Apparently, he had come up with some brilliant new design for an aircraft wing, which gave the company a considerable advantage over its rivals in the industry. Mr. Richardo not only got his old job back but was given a share in the profits the new airplane would generate. The family was now, "in heaven," as Ms. Janice described it, and Luciana could not be much happier.

Since that event, I have thought hard about Luciana's predicament and about her running away from home. Little does my audience know about my personal experience in this matter, perhaps someday, I will write such a story, "Age of Rage." 

All I can say to my readers, for now, is that running away from home is NEVER a solution but most often than not, makes the situation worse for everyone. Staying silent and bottling up, is also just as bad. Like in Luciana's case, try confiding in some trusted friend as Luciana did in Sofia. Most important in all this, share your feelings with adults in your school. "Speak up loud and clear," to those specially trained to help, like Ms. Janice, the school counselor. I know sometimes, it is frustrating, and you might think that adults don't listen but be assured that they do.

Finally, let me end by noting how precious you and other young people are by quoting a small part of prose so dear to "The Light" and me:

"You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should."

Desiderata - Written by Max Ehrmann, 1927.

Here is "A life Recipe." Enjoy!

By Elias Leousis,
(Η αγάπη είναι το μελάνι, η σοφία είναι το μήνυμα.) 
Love is the ink, wisdom is the message!


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"May The Light shine bright on your journey of life."