Helpless

Volunteering can give you many experiences. It offers you an insight into unfamiliar environments, thoughts, and values. But not all of these “experiences” can be fascinating and full of wonder; some can be heavy and painful.

I volunteer at the education department of one of my county’s non-profit organizations every week after school. It is homework help for elementary school students in a community center at a neighborhood known to be the home of many families that have low income.

I help first, second, and third graders do their math homework, and then we all go outside to play. The children are so adorable and very welcoming. They love attention and, apparently, Skittles.

One afternoon, I was outside watching a few girls playing soccer in the parking lot and making sure they didn’t run off to chase the ball when it rolled into the street. I suddenly saw a boy and a girl playing with a chair with wheels on the hill-like road in the neighborhood leading to the big street. I frowned. If they happened to lose control and roll into the street, it would be bad – no, terrible and horrifying.

I went to them and told them to stop, that it was dangerous. The boy looked straight at me and said, “I don’t care. I like pain.” A chill ran up my spine. That was something I would’ve never expected. I was speechless for a moment, and then sternly told them to stop because of the drastic consequences.

Later, I saw them at the top of the hill-like road, near the huge neighborhood trash bin, playing with a shopping cart. As soon as they saw me walking towards them with a stern face, they quickly pushed the cart (which was probably an abandoned one they found) behind the trash bin.

I told them that they could kill themselves playing with things with wheels on the road. The boy came up to me and said, “Then we’ll just die.” Then he proceeded to show me his crooked finger and told me that he had gone through a lot of pain and enjoyed it. He wasn’t afraid of killing himself, much less hurting himself.

He was 12. I was beyond shocked to hear such words come from such a young child’s mouth. I asked for their names (and found their real names from other children) and went to the manager of the neighborhood’s community center. I asked him to dispose of the shopping cart and chair with wheels properly and told him that I was worried about the two kids. He told me he’d go dispose of them right away.

However, I didn’t feel good inside at all. I knew that what I asked for was just a small, meaningless thing. Even if those items are gone, the children’s mindset would be unchanged. They will find more ways to hurt themselves, and I would be helpless to help them. I felt like I was about to cry. They were young – they might’ve grown in the wrong environment that made them care little about their own lives. I had heard from the manager of the organization that I might meet children from abusive families.

I wanted to help. Yet I didn’t know how.

Three Day Quote Challenge: Day 3

Sorry I was a day late!! I would like to share some quotes I made up myself along the journey of my life.

 

Youth is a state of mind that applies to all ages.

When people use the word “youth,” they naturally picture liveliness and hopefulness. I believe that it doesn’t only apply to young people. Anyone can be in that state if they changed their view of the world to one of wonder and curiosity. Be youthful today.

 

Stubborn isn’t about saying “no;” it’s saying “yes.”

When I was young, I would think being stubborn was being arrogant and dogmatic. As I grew, I redefined it as being persistent and moral. Stubbornness is a valuable trait in life. You must stick to your values and goals. You must believe that you can do it.

 

The stars may be currently covered by a black cloud, but remember that they are still there, waiting for the cloud to pass.

This is my current outlook towards life. No matter how gray or blue right now seems, I know that life will soon get better. When something good happens, I must be thankful for it but not be obsessed about it. My journey has its ups and downs – with a down comes an up and vice versa.

Three Day Quote Challenge: Day 2

Today I’ll like to share some quotes from one of my role models, Greg Mortenson. He is the co-founder and former executive director of the Central Asia Institute, which builds schools for children (especially girls) in Pakistan and its neighboring countries.

 

Really, what education does is it gives opportunity, but it also gives hope.

I say if you fight terrorism, it’s based on fear, but if you promote peace, it’s based on hope.

I am a huge advocate of education for all children in the world. I believe that education could be part of the key to solving poverty and terrorism. I’ve also participated in a speech competition with this topic on UN Day in Korea as a finalist. For those interested in reading my thoughts about education and terrorism, read the speech below.

 

Dear Honorable UN Secretary Ban Ki Moon,

Considering the recent global issue of ISIS, I, including millions of high school students not only in my country but all around the world, have been aware of the major problem that is labeled as “terrorism.” From the news, we have heard about people around our age who join this violent force and the slaughter of millions. However, this problem is not limited to Islamic extremism. Terrorism is an issue that transcends time periods and concerns human rights.

I believe that in order to solve terrorism, instead of eliminating major terrorists one by one, we should dig out the root of the problem. I declare that lack of education is one of the major causes of terrorism. Young people who are vulnerable to the temptation of joining terrorist forces should be taught that there is a better way to commit themselves to the world, that there is a better way for them to have their voices heard. The following is a quote from Greg Mortenson, the co-founder of the Central Asia Institute, a non-profit organization that builds schools for children in Central Asia. “If we try to resolve terrorism with military might and nothing else, then we will be no safer than we were before 9/11. If we truly want a legacy of peace for our children, we need to understand that this is a war that will ultimately be won with books, not with bombs.”

In order to put this into effect, first, we should reach out a hand to the people around our age that cannot be reached. The UN should install a communication program for students around the world, including the poorest corners of Earth, to be able to share their thoughts and ideas with each other and be heard. Since young people will be allowed to broaden their thinking and develop their own perspectives, this is a valuable education method.

Second, the UN should generously support and fund non-profit organizations that work to provide education to children in under-developed countries. There should be more schools built and teachers hired in order to create a learning environment for them.

Last but not least, ethics should be a must in the educational curriculum. Children everywhere should learn about human rights and develop moral reasoning. Then they will fully comprehend the consequences of terrorism.

I know that I am one voice in millions. But as one of the thousands that understand the gravity of terrorism, I raise my voice today in the hopes that it will be heard and the UN will put more interest in providing education to fight terrorism. This may be a drop in the ocean, as the quote goes, but one day the ocean will be big enough to bring peace on Earth.

Sincerely,

A High School Student in the Fight for Peace

 

Note to readers: I know that some of you might go Google up Greg Mortenson. I was introduced to him when I read the amazing book “Three Cups of Tea,” and he became my hero when I was young. However, it was only later when my reverence towards him somewhat crashed because of his scandals with using money from CAI for private issues and the alleged lies in some of his books. Well, having a role model doesn’t mean I want to be exactly like him. He still had dedication and motive during the start and that’s what I would like to learn from him. I promise that I won’t go in the wrong direction as he supposedly did.

Three Day Quote Challenge: Day 1

Thanks to my good blogging friend TheOriginalPhoenix for nominating me for this challenge! If you haven’t already, please check out her wonderful blog full of hopeful and inspiring words!

 

I’ll like to start off with my favorite motivational quotes.

 

When the World says, “Give up,” Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.”

~Anonymous

This would have to be one of my favorite quotes of all time. There were many times in my life when I wanted to give everything up because the world around me seemed so cruel. However, I’ve learned to look for the one of the most treasured values of mankind: hope. Hope has guided me on my journey of life and taught me not to stay on the ground.

 

If you can’t fly, then run, if you can’t run, then walk, if you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.

~Martin Luther King Jr.

This is such a motivational quote. Whatever state you are in currently, you shouldn’t lose hope and keep moving forward. There may be walls in your path, but if you try hard enough, you will be able to find a ladder that allows you to climb over those walls.

 

Don’t cry that it is over. Smile that it happened.

~Dr. Seuss

There were many moments in my life when I would think about the happy times of my past and be sullen by missing them a little too much. I would think, ‘Why couldn’t my present be as good as those times?’ However, I’ve learned not to dwell on the past and look forward to the future. I am thankful that those memories happened, but I am also ready for what awaits for me with hope.