Monday, March 1, 2010

Learner or Teacher?

Today was Purim in Jerusalem.  For those who have been to Carnival in Rio.....never mind, I can tell this comparison is not going to go well.  On the other hand, Jerusalem could use a few really good samba clubs.  For the cultural side of Purim, read Pam's and Noa's blogs.  They offer terrific Purim perspectives.

While riding the bus home, I observed a situation in which the adult was trying to be the teacher, but ended up being the learner.  Today's blog is dedicated to Margie Boule, longtime Oregonian columnist and master storyteller who wrote her final column today.  A couple of stops after I boarded, a family with two kids got on the bus.  Mom, dad, and two boys, both dressed up as pirates.  I don't recall pirates in the Purim story, but that doesn't seem to matter today.  We have seen as many pirates as we have Esthers.  Both boys stopped just after passing the driver.  Their parents nearly fell over them, the mom told the younger boy to move to a group of open seats much further back.  The dad told the older boy to head that direction, too.  Now, Israeli buses are designed low to the ground and about two seats back is a "hump" which is really the front wheel well.  There is a pole in the middle of it for folks to grab and most adults stand at that point.  Most kids (and teenagers) climb up on the wheel well and wrap their legs around the pole.  It gives them a great vantage point as they can see the entire length of the bus.  The older boy "told" his father he was not going to sit in a seat, but wanted to "play" pirate by sitting up on the wheel well.  The father's tone became somewhat agitated as he sternly told the boy to move to a seat further back.  The boy raised his voice and whined that he didn't want to do that.  Exasperated, the father moved to the open seat in the middle of the bus.  The boy climbed up on the wheel well, plastic six shooter in a holster, and pirate sword still in hand.  "This is why the Israeli school system has such issues with pupil respect for adult authority," I thought as I chuckled at the boy's rebellious behavior.  Never afraid to wade in again, the father told the boy, quite harshly, to keep his sword pointed down.  Bill Cosby's famous comedy routine came to mind.  "There are only two injuries in childhood...break your neck and poke your eye out."  The young man decided this was something he could live with and the plastic, dull blade disappeared behind the seat in front of him.  His old man could still teach him a thing or two.  At this point the boy yelled back to his mother, "Look at me, I'm a pirate" (or something like that....remember, the whole conversation was in Hebrew!)  Mom responded positively and the boy's affect changed noticeably.  He sat up straighter, looked ever like a pirate, and kept his sword pointed down the entire ride.  Sometimes one is the learner, sometimes one is the teacher.  What a wonderful metaphor for schools, teachers, students, new tools, and learning.  "I like Purim," I thought as I got off the bus and walked home.

1 comment:

  1. what a gem of a story. this was purim, but do you think compared to american boys more israeli boys play with toy guns and toy swords, knives etc?