Lessons of life: The lesson of the shoe

June 30, 2018

By Eddy Montilla.

When I saw this shoe at a street today, the first thing that came to my mind was to add some humor to the situation. “To walk with one shoe only is fashion, perhaps” or “I wish him/her a fresh asphalt to walk!” And later, those jokes led me to a serious reflection: A shoe is useless if we do not have the other one to complete the pair. Considering the way a lot of people live their lives these days, it is no exaggeration to say that they look like this shoe: They build tall walls around their houses as if they were sending the message of “do not steal me and do not bother me either!” Besides, relationships with neighbours are reduced to a mere greeting from time to time and they move around a small circle of people despite having hundreds of their photos on social networking sites! Things like that are very often in those places traditionally called “the developed and rich countries”.

Human beings are not like bears, jaguars or ocelots, that is, solitary animals doomed by nature to live alone, but we are supposed to be gregarious thanks to the gift of reason and our capacity to feel deep emotions. Then, every time we take the wrong direction by trying to live alone as much as possible instead of looking for living together in companionship and fraternity, we are running the risk of ending up as sad and lonely as this shoe.

Copyright 2018 littlethings4all.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.

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Lessons of life: The lesson of the fault

May 1, 2018

By Eddy Montilla.

ERROR

Today, on my way to work by bicycle, I took a different street and when I was about to get to the corner, I saw a couple of mothers whose minds were elsewhere, talking placidly while their children were few meters away from them. One of the children was laughing, something that hit the alarm of my brain because when a child is laughing, his or her second step will be to rush about. That was exactly what happened when I got the corner: the child was jumping out the street to avoid being grabbed by his little friend and without thinking about vehicles. Everything happened to fast and her mother was in her own world, too far to be able to react on time. Lucky for me and for him too, I was expecting something like that. Thus, the child stopped running when he was only a couple of centimeters away from my front tire and after I slammed on my brakes to avoid hitting him.

“How many times I have told you to be quiet today! Don’t run!” The mother told him with anger in her words. Then, she looked at me, said: “I’m sorry” and looking for a way to repay me for all troubles, she hit him in the head as if she tried to tell me: “Well, we are even.”

I just smiled and went to work thinking about it. “Was the child the person to blame for what happened?” To ask a child to be quiet all the time is like asking the sky to stop raining because you will have a barbecue outside with your friends. Blaming others for your own mistakes is easy; to accept that a mistake is your own fault is difficult to swallow because you will have to swallow your pride first. The worst part of what happened this morning was not that she was trying to lay the blame to her son, but she did not even realize that everything was her own fault. If you don’t have the courage to accept and assume responsibility for your own mistakes, at least do not blame others for them.

Copyright 2018 littlethings4all.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.


Lessons of life: The lesson of Alexander Alekhine

February 23, 2018

By Eddy Montilla.

I will do my best this time to make the story as short as possible for a very simple reason: For those who do not play chess, the word “chess” is just enough to feel very uncomfortable, horrified, terrified and petrified since the lack of understanding of the game gives the misleading impression that chess is much more boring than the word inertia.

Alexander Alekhine was a Russian player, whom I considered to be the best chess player the chess world has ever seen because a genius can defeat another genius, a great player does the same against his or her counterpart, but how many times have you seen a normal person defeating a genius? That was exactly what Alekhine did, but to a higher level than words can describe. He defeated “the chess machine”, José Raúl Capablanca, considered to be almost unbeatable. And the lesson I learned from Alekhine began before his match against Capablanca, the world champion at that time. A journalist asked him how he intended to defeat Capablanca, a chess prodigy who learned by himself how to play the game at the age of four by watching his father playing with friends, then pointed out an illegal move by his father, and then beat him soon. Anything else? Yes, a player who did not know the word defeat for eight long years.

”I don’t really know.” Alekhine said.

And when the journalist was about to leave the place, he heard the voice of Alekhine telling him the following:

”But I don’t know how he intends to defeat me either!!”

That was what I learned from Alekhine: Determination and courage to live with spiritual strength the difficulties you have in front of you are the keys to get most of the things you have ever wanted. The most beautiful games Alekhine played and bequeathed to us as legacy came one day after losing a game as if he wanted to tell us: “Whenever you fall down, you must stand up and keep fighting”. And thanks to him, every time I have a difficult problem in front of me, I remember his words and say to myself: “I don’t know now how to get out of the hole I am in now. I don’t know how I am going to solve this problem, but I don’t know how this problem will remain unsolved in front of me either!”

P.S.: I´m sorry. I could not make the story shorter!

Copyright 2018 littlethings4all.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.


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.


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.