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From the mouths of babes

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From the mouths of babes

by Laverne de Vries
31 Jan 2007
Peoples Post
Peoples Post

Before my foray into newspapers, I worked in the magazine industry and when I left my colleagues were kind enough to make up a mock cover with my picture and a few headlines covering my most memorable moments.

The other day I met this boy and he followed me into my room. And on seeing the mock cover, he exclaimed with total surprise, "Wow! Why didn't you tell me you were a model?".

Needless to say, this innocent question uttered from the mouth of a babe, was my happy thought not only for the day, but also for the week.

But before you start thinking I randomly pick up boys who follow me to my room, I need to explain a few things.

I volunteered to babysit two of my baby cousins on Sunday as their parents needed to do their monthly grocery shopping.

The flat complex that I live in has a pool but because it is so tiny, I affectionately refer to it as the pond. When we got to the pond we started playing some ball games in the water and after a while our shouts of sheer fun attracted some children.

While soaking up some sun, one of the boys approached me, extended his hand and introduced himself as Masood. And this is the babe I was talking about. Babe in the sense of a child (he's about 14) and not a hot guy (although he is very adorable).

Intrigued by his confidence in approaching me, I obliged him with some conversation and was quite entertained by his curiosity (questions ranged from my tattoos, to what I do for a living, to what I do for fun).

More importantly, I was quite intrigued by his honesty and innocence. While sitting at the poolside he spoke to me about his fears (which will stay between the two of us) and his dreams (one of which includes buying a car worth R50 000 and modifying it to the tune of R100 000 (I also don't understand the logic behind that one!)

He even spoke to me about politics and I was surprised at his knowledge of current affairs.

So why am I dedicating a whole column to a chance meeting with a teenager?

Two reasons: everything happens for a reason and everyone you meet in life is your teacher.

And despite the 11-year gap, Masood became my teacher because I learnt that the beauty of kids is that they are so innocent and fearless. They live in the present and have an unshakeable belief that things will work out.

I learnt that despite the generation gap, teenagers are still confused and need to be guided, loved and made to feel secure.

I was reminded that sometimes, all you need to do to be happy is enjoy the simple things in life, like hitting a ball around in a pool.

So Masood, don't forget what I hope I taught you - don't tease nerdy kids, they are insecure enough and besides, they might end up being your boss.

Go to school because education is the key to success.

Most importantly, be yourself because there's no-one else like you!

In exchange for this column, I'm also hoping to see excellent academic results...

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