Wednesday, January 09, 2008

People just want to be heard

While doing some reporting at a preschool this morning (I like those tiny chairs, and the walls are always covered with pictures of animals like Wilma Walrus) I had occasion to talk to one of the children's parents. She is an architect trained in the Philippines. Somehow she started to tell me about her father's role in World War II, helping Americans find occupying Japanese soldiers, after the Americans shot her father's cousin, not knowing who or what they were dealing with when they first encountered the Filipino men foraging for food. The Philippines were an important part of the Asian theater in World War II -- it was that country to which Gen. Douglas MacArthur promised to return. Every person has a story, and this woman has a bookful. Listening is a great discipline.

The sun was shining -- the weather is unnaturally warm for January -- and another generation of four-year-olds is getting ready for kindergarten. At this stage in their lives everything is a lesson; both my 4-year-old subjects said the best thing about school was playing.

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