Lessons of life: The lesson of the genius child

September 13, 2017

By Eddy Montilla.

The television presenter made his traditional introduction and his program began. This time, the topic was a contest whose participants were the most intelligent kids of the country. I came across this program by accident, and by accident, saw its first three minutes. The kids answered questions at breathtaking speed, questions that I never learned or had forgotten already. During the first 2 minutes and 20 seconds, I really admired the application they showed to their studies until those fateful 40 seconds came and made me change my mind about it and, of course, the channel too.

Those 40 seconds could probably have been for some people as brief as a twinkle, but in my case, it seemed to last forever because I saw one-side lives, planes trying to fly with one wing only. A kid was asked about his daily routine. “I get up at 5:30 in the morning, take the newspapers and read the news. Then, I study mathematics, Japanese, science… until 11:00 in the evening. His schedule did not show any sign of time to play baseball or watch a TV show for kids. His parents looked very proud of having a genius kid while I, for my part, looked at him with sorrow for having incompetent parents, blinded by a proud that do not let them see that even intelligence at the highest level leads to a shallow and unsatisfying life if balance is not achievable.

A genius behaves very differently than a “normal person” and vice versa. Despite this undeniable fact, a child is a child, and no matter how smart he or she could be, due to a lack of experience, cannot understand different realities of our society and, therefore, parents should give their children guidance on the multiple choices and paths that life has by being in contact with different experiences rather than only one. That kid’s parents, either for personal satisfaction or for today’s social competitiveness, were intoxicating their child with more than 10 hours of study time. After that, I turned off the TV. “If this is the way a genius lives, I am happy to be an idiot!” I thought, because at least I could play basketball with my friends after school, play at the park and look the girl I liked up and down, but those kids will spend the rest of their lives walking always the same path. Sorry for them and for their parents too.

Copyright 2017 littlethings4all.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.

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Lessons of life: The lesson of the hug

July 14, 2017

By Eddy Montilla.

Yesterday, I saw a mother walked a couple of meters away from her little daughter to make space first and later, they both ran to hold each other in a warm embrace: A sublime example of what sublime and maternal love means. At dusk, I found myself in front of a situation very different from the first story: When a twelve-year-old boy tried to hold his mother’s hand, she replied, unable to hide her annoyance, in this way: “Don’t touch me! Kimochi warui (That’s unpleasant and weird). The first thing that came to my mind was a very simple question: “How can a mother deny her son a simple hug?”

Since I was a child, I have been living immersed in cross-cultural environment and that’s why I weigh things first, carefully considered them from the place and point of view of those people who did them instead of making value judgements from my own culture. In Japan, for example, physical contact is almost imperceptible and the family circle size is so small that can be drawn with a penny. Customs, other people’s eyes, what people might think and the acceptance of social rules without being able to reply exerted undoubtedly a strong influence on that mother’s decision.

Once at home, I was thinking about all the times I have been back to my country and how police officers struggled trying to persuade an old man to wait behind the line until the passengers left through the exit door. As soon as he saw his son, another old man, he ran to hug and kiss him. And when the police officers told him: “You can’t do that, sir. Are we getting through to you?”, he replied: “Yes, but I don’t know how to make you understand that my son has returned home. I have to hug him.” That old man is my father and, his son is, therefore, the person who is writing these lines to you.

I did not judge the last mother’s action when she decided not to give a hug to her son as neither a good nor a bad stance. Last night, the only thing I did was to sleep happily. I was happy for the family I have and, above all, for the kind of relationship we have because we were born, grew up and will die expressing in an internal and external way what is, in our opinion, the meaning of family love through its best symbol: Hugs and kisses.

Copyright 2017 littlethingsforall.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.


Lessons of Life: The lesson of the author

April 22, 2017

By Eddy Montilla.

When I was trying to get some information from a web site, I noticed that the author dedicated almost 40 per cent of his home page (a column) to write proudly about himself in his section, About the author: “I did this, I did that, I was given the prize for this and that…

You have probably seen that we also have a section for people who want to know about the author, but what are you going to find there? A five-word-sentence, which is probably the strangest explanation you have ever read about an author.

I do not know why, but after browsing through that person’s accolades, the first thing that came to my mind was my college graduation day, when the Rector, in front of hundreds of University graduates and parents, called my name and asked me to come up on the stage to receive a class ring for reasons that not even today I can understand. According to my University, for high academic achievement, but according to me, should a student be awarded for doing what he or she is exactly supposed to do?

“I don’t need it.” I whispered, but I went there to receive it, not because I wanted that ring, but because I learned at early age that you can be as strange as you want, but you must behave in some situations as normally as people expect or you will be in trouble. Once I got home, alone in my room, I threw the ring into an old shoe box where it has been “resting in peace” since then. That can give you a glimpse of how low my interest for prizes is and what I usually do with them if I have to receive them.

I should admit that I belong to “the old school” and we are living different times today. Fame and public recognition are driving forces behind many people’s actions now and they will stop at nothing to try to get them. For five minutes of fame, many people do from stupidities and senseless things to actions that risk their own lives. Keep away from those things. We were not born to be famous and millionaire just because that would detract from the real values of life. What you have got turns into undeserved things if you have done nothing for those whose precarious social and economic situation do not let compete in similar conditions to yours.

Copyright 2017 littlethingsforall.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.


Lessons of life: The lesson of the cinema

March 4, 2017

cinema

By Eddy Montilla.

The girl who worked at the cinema took the microphone, looked at me and said: “Ladies and gentlemen, the movie is about to start, please go through into the theater.” Just then, I looked all around and noticed that only two people were there: She and I.

     Yes. As you have read it. I was the only person who was there to watch the movie. For a moment, I clasped my hands behind the back of my neck and thought about the first assignment I received in class from my cinematography professor at university: “Go to the university theater and watch this movie….” For you, it might seem a rare assignment; for some of us, however, “A part of our lives changed from that moment.”, because we learned how valuable a good film can be for our lives. On my way home, inside the bus, all passengers (except for me) were using their smartphones, most of them, playing games or browsing dreary websites as if they were looking for something, looking for nothing.

     A movie is not a simple product of entertainment. It is a visual performance of our problems in life. Movies have taught me as many things as all my teachers did. And I am totally convinced that a single word, phrase, scenery or gesture can be enough to give a person some clues to find solutions for his or her problems, including the pressing ones. Today, people have as much fun as people had twenty years ago, for example. But the huge difference between both generations is the quality of the entertainment.

     When I got home and went to sleep that night, on my bed, I felt a mix of happiness and sadness, I mean, bittersweet feelings. Happiness for the way I am and sadness for the way the world goes.

Copyright 2017 littlethingsforall.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.


Lessons of life: The lesson of the chess game

August 30, 2016

By Eddy Montilla.

CHESS

My father taught me how to play chess at early age, so early that I cannot remember the moment. Since then, I have learned a lot of things from this analytical game, things that I usually try to apply to my life. I have learned to be patient, not to force the issue and move according to the circumstances until I can be in better position to move forward. I have learned to find the best answer, to take the best decision by observing all my possibilities, etc.

    In chess, a player has a specific rating that puts him or her in a particular category. In my case, I consider myself an average player with a rating between 1700 and 1800 (lass B, category 2). Last month, I was playing chess on the Internet, and every time my opponent was under my rating, I felt like a hungry lion ready to devour its prey. However, despite my almost endless optimism, when the player was over my rating, I felt like a dog with its tail between its legs.

    These days, I have decided to try something different and hide my opponent’s rating, name, nationality, etc., and now I only keep in front of me the chessboard. What has been the result? I have been winning four and five games in a row. Today, my rating is 1950, that is, “class A, category 1”. I also defeated two players over 2000 for the first time in my life. Players with this level are called experts. Now, when I play against these excellent players, their high ratings do not fill me with fear any more. The moral of this story is not my personal accolades, but this idea: You don’t know how far you can go, you cannot imagine what you are capable of once you gain confidence and control your fear.

    Until now, I have written more than 1000 stories and without any doubt, this is the most boring one, but believe me, it is also the most assertive and reliable among all of them because the idea I told you today was tested by myself it works. Control your fear, gain confidence and things that looked almost impossible for you, they will be suddenly in your hands.

Copyright 2016 littlethingsforall.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.


Lessons of Life: The kid and the camellias

February 29, 2016

By Eddy Montilla.

CAMELLIAS

When I left home, the whole city was covered by a mantle of snow. The train had stopped, buses were running so slow that I could overtake some of them going on foot. On that snowy and windy day, I saw a kid, almost late for school, removing gently the snow from over red camellias. Neither the idea of being late nor the harsh weather at that time could deter him from doing his innocent mission. The kid took it easy. He talked to the flowers and took care of them, and “the smartest people”, the adults were watching their watches every five minutes, horrified, petrified by the idea of being late a couple of minutes.

     The other day, I heard a baseball manager saying something like this: “The problem of today’s players is that they play all the time like men and do not leave room to play like children.” And near my workplace, there is a small restaurant that welcomes its customers with this message: “We don’t stop playing because we are growing old; we grow old because we stop playing.” If you ask children if they can dance or sing, they will not say “yes”, they will start singing and dancing instead. Do not even try to ask the same question to adults since they will think that you are trying to embarrass them in front the others.

     From the first moment that you proudly say you are “a man or woman”, and behave 100% in that way, that is, according to the parameters that they usually have, your life floats over a sea of prejudice and inhibitions. Be a man, be a woman, but don’t kill the child that must live inside your heart because both periods of life are not contradictory, but complementary, and therefore, they will make your life better.

Copyright 2016 littlethingsforall.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.


Lessons of life: The lesson of the comedian

February 4, 2016

By Eddy Montilla.

COMEDIAN

I went to Tokyo to see a wax museum, and the wax figures looked so real that sometimes they scared me! Near that place, there is a TV station and I was curious about its programs and the way they are conducted. I also wanted to see a couple of comedians who were working in a show that was not televised near the broadcasting station. One of the comedians looked at me and told me something like this in English: “I, the Japanese number one comedian!”

     He was joking. They were just a couple of amateurs trying to give it their best shot in front of an audience that barely reached 20 people. Two children and their mother laughed during their show, and three people asked discreetly who they were. When I was leaving the place, I could see them behind curtains talking to an American who greeted them with a smile: “Good job!” The American said.

     I saw an important lesson in his greeting: Do not kill people’s dream. In Japan, a country where sobriety fills in all holes laugh could get in through, to be a comedian is something titanic, basically because jokes are framed and should match Japanese canons of behavior, moral and culture. Since I was a child, to make people laugh has been one of my pleasures. I think I know how to do it and I also know how difficult it might be. These two comedians might never be something of national TV celebrities, but that could not care less. What is truly important is that they were working wholeheartedly on something they want to do, despite difficulties, and for something like that in our current society, guts are needed.

     When you kill someone’s hopes, a flower dies somewhere, someone is hurt and someone cries. Encourage people to carry on rather than discourage them. And if a person does not have the virtue to do that, at least, should have the dignity to keep his or her mouth shut.

Copyright 2016 littlethingsforall.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.