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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

EPISODE X - LOVE, TRUST AND FORGIVENESS

EPISODE X - LOVE, TRUST, AND FORGIVENESS

I accepted an assignment last year to substitute at an elementary school on the East end of Montreal. I was to replace Ms. Ettedanreb in a grade six class. In my arsenal of "Teaching Tools," I carry a number of videos, which are publicly available on YouTube. From these videos, I hope to inspire my students to talk about value systems regarding our relationship with others. One such video is entitled, "Το λάθος - Ταινία Μικρού Μήκους." (The Mistake - Short Film by Antonis Agaoglou):
This film depicts a young girl of about twelve years of age, who is much immersed in herself, possibly having "a bad day." I would encourage my readers if they have not seen this video to have a look by "clicking," on the link above. The moral of the story is not trusting those around you and their good intentions may ultimately scar you, with guilt. After showing this video to the class, I initiated the discussion about a personal experience I had with my young son when he was only two years of age:
I arrived home one day from teaching to be met at the door by my young son. He greeted me anxiously calling out, "Dada, dada, vouh,vough, vough..." and pointing to the upstairs of the house. I placed my briefcase down, took the child in my arms, and hugged him. He continued pointing to the upstairs. I proceeded to climb the stairs with my son; indeed, there was a familiar sound. As I turned the bend on the staircase, I now could see where the sound was coming from; my blood rushed to my head like a cannonball! I could see the hair dryer having been plugged in from the outside of the bathroom. The hair dryer itself, lying unattended in the bathroom sink. I became terribly upset at my son and scolded him, "No, no, no!" The poor child broke into tears, sobbing and crying.
I proceeded to walk down the stairs with my crying toddler in my arms. As I approached the kitchen where my wife was busy cooking and said, "Do you know what he did, he plugged in the hair dryer!" My wife proceeded to explain, that it was not our child who had plugged the hair dryer, but it was her: While blow-drying her hair, the electric power had gone off. She had placed the dryer in the empty sink and had gone downstairs to check with the neighbor to see if their electric power was off as well. They too had no electricity; there must have been a hydro electric power interruption. Listening to this plausible explanation, I became devastated; my heart sank with guilt!
I had accused my young, precious child of something, scolded him for it, for something he had not done! In fact, the poor child was trying desperately to warn me of possible danger, the hair dryer having been left dangerously unattended! How can one ask for forgiveness from a two-year-old, whose little heart had been shattered? He depended on love and trust from his father, in a moment of disillusionment, received neither?
(After, listening to Mr. Leousis's short story, almost all students in the class, put up their hands. Each student was trying to explain their experiences of not being trusted; having been wrongly accused of something, which they did not do. In most cases, the issues revolved around sibling rivalry: Brothers or sisters would commit an act, breaking something, removing an item, etc. and the other innocent child, being wrongly accused and punished.)
I think this story, "EPISODE X: LOVE, TRUST, AND FORGIVENESS", is a much directed at parents as it is to students. What follows should be a lesson for all:
I was about eleven years of age, when like all children, boys especially, I wanted to have a bicycle. My father was adamantly against this, sighting the number of horrific accidents, which had taken place in the city involving bicycles. The attraction to riding a bike, however, was too tempting for a young boy my age to heed my father's concerns.  I decided to rent a bike each time from a bike shop on Rue Napoleon without my father knowing or having given his approval. On beautiful, July afternoon, I rented a bicycle and was "rushing the wind," when I heard the sound of a car horn behind me. I moved closer to the parked cars and continued on my way, thinking that this vehicle would pass by me. Again, I heard the honk of the persistent horn, I moved closer to the parked cars to move out of the way. Looking behind to see who was honking at me, I lost my balance and slammed into the back of one of the parked cars. The vehicle behind me stopped.
Two men in suits got out of their vehicle and rushed over to lift me up. Blood was now rushing down my face and bellows of tears filled my eyes. I tried to resist their care; it was because of their persistence that I had crashed into the parked car. As I fought with them, one pulled out a police badge; now I became more terrified, that I had done something wrong! They took me into their vehicle and asked me if that was my bicycle I was riding. Apparently, someone had called the police about a stolen bicycle, and they were on the lookout for one when they spotted me. I proceeded to explain that I had rented the bicycle from the shop at Rue Napoleon, so they took me to that shop.
After verifying that, in fact, I had legitimately rented the bicycle, they felt responsible for my accident and were now apologetic and concerned. I was not interested in their apologetic gestures but more concerned with what would happen to me when my father found out. So when the officers asked to drive me home, I quickly thought that it would be safer if I were brought to my aunt's house, some short distance away, on rue  l'Hôtel-de-Ville.
When we arrived at the house and rang the bell, I called out to my aunt in Greek, so the officers would not understand, "Thea pes pos meno edo." (Aunt, say that I live here.) When the officers described to her what had happened, she understood. Washing the tears and blood from my face, my aunt noticed that I had broken my front tooth. She advised me not to say anything to my father, else he would be furious that I had rented a bicycle in defiance of his advice. The bruises on my face and especially the broken tooth needed a plausible explanation: When she brought me home, she told my father that I had slipped on her staircase and fallen down.
That night, I entered the Elysium for guidance. Out of the horizon of life and death, bright rising rays hurled into my existence, a chariot of fire and light, hurling down into my presence. It was Helios, the sun God, standing before me, proud and noble, like a true God, but his eyes filled with eternal tears.
“Νέε θνητέ κομιστή του ονόματός μου, μην αψηφάς τα λόγια του πατέρα σου ούτε ο πατέρας σου να επιζητά να τιμωρήσει ενός νέου την κρίση. Μίλησε στην καρδιά του άλλου καθώς κοιτάζω πάνω από τα αστέρια και παρατηρώ τον πολύτιμό μου,Φαίδων. Κοίτα πίσω στα χρόνια που θα έρθουν και μοιράσου αυτή τη σοφία με τους νέους,΄ώστε να μπορούν να γνωρίζουν ότι η συγχώρεση υπάρχει μόνο όταν υπάρχει αγάπη και την εμπιστοσύνη μεταξύ των θνητών και των παιδιών τους.”
(Young mortal bearer of my name, do not defy your father's words nor your father seek to punish a young one's discretion. Speak to each other's heart as I look into the stars and gaze upon my precious, Phaethon. Look back in years to come and share this wisdom with the young, so they should know forgiveness exists only when there is love and trust among mortals and their children.) 

I knew what needed to be done.

Like in the story of the ancient's God Helios, in order to please his son, loaned to him the power of the sun and so the story goes. However, young Phaethon, lacking care and experience started scorching Earth, his punishment received the wrath of Zeus, and eternity of the stars became his just punishment for all to witness.

I tried speaking to my father the next day, but he was extremely busy with work. A week went by before I could find my father in a "quiet moment", safe enough to break the bad news. I glanced over, when my father was retouching some negatives and said, "Father, I have deceived you and don't know how to explain it." He listened. After I had finished relating to my father what had happened, during my accident, he leaned over, rubbed my head, kissed me. He said, "It's alright my son, I love you and trust you, and you are forgiven." However, that did not end it: Because I had been given the guidance of "The Light", to be truthful with my father, that very act, saved me from going blind!

For that week, I felt a throbbing pain in my upper lip and a disgusting liquid seeping through. When I mentioned this to my father, he immediately took me over to the dentist. After examination, the dentist informed my father that the root of the tooth had become infected.  The infection of this abscess was moving up towards my left eye; a few more days and I would have probably lost my sight, if not in both eyes, for certain the left one. I now had seen "the  light,": The love, trust, and forgiveness had saved my sight!

My young friends, as per the advice from Helios, the sun God


“Look back in years to come and share this wisdom with the young, so they should know forgiveness exists only when there is love and trust among mortals and their children.”
I tell my story to you as “The Substitute Teacher” in your class today, that when there is love and trust between you and your parents, there will always be understanding and forgiveness.


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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