A reflection from childhood, in times of quarantine.

Por: Hernán Augusto Tena Cortés

She is a 7 year old girl, whose name I will keep. I am a teacher who works as a social pedagogue and in synthesis, I must take care of her and contribute to her education for life. Like every human being, there is a story behind her, one of those that we do not believe is possible in children of her age.

From now on I will call her Kelly, as she reminds me of a student I had with a very similar profile. Society has included her in that social niche labeled "vulnerable children"; Yes, it's a pity, all professionals in education want these stories to be that, stories.

I started working with her a month ago. Unsurprisingly, she put up a bit of resistance at first; after all, it was natural to ask herself why to trust me? I persevered and I was able to break the ice, since then, little by little and from sharing, a relationship supported by affection has been built.

Today was a particular day, it motivated me to start writing, while I helped her sleep, I had a conversation with her that left me thinking. Before going into details, I want to tell you a little about my day at work. I started around five in the afternoon one more day of social pedagogy, to those who read me from Colombia, I will tell you what this is about, in the nearest future.

The afternoon was Irish, I say this because the sky was decorated with gray clouds, they say it is normal. The temperature was not low, nor high, but it was perfect for my taste. When I entered my workplace, I greeted Kelly, she responded with that effusiveness that characterized her when she is in a good mood. Immediately afterwards she said to me: "Hernán, take me to the swings, I want to play." I accepted, but that desire did not last more than three minutes, then she wanted to change his activity.

She said: "Wait for me here, I will bring something from my room." When she came back, her hand was decorated by a "spray", she filled it with soap and water, and asked me to accompany her around the place. Meanwhile she was saying to me: - you know, the virus is messed up, every day we have more cases and I know that it is in the environment. In this "spray" I made my own substance to combat it, accompany me to water our surroundings so that we are safe.-

That innocence that characterizes ALL children, is still there. Kelly, despite her history, maintains her creativity and carries within that spirit of wanting to save the planet. It was impossible not to make a mental break to compare with the behavior of children in other latitudes, the experience has allowed me to interact with creatures of different nationalities, and I again conclude that they are in essence all equal, all are potential geniuses.

After a while, we had dinner, chatted for other minutes, and I asked her to get ready for bed. She replied: "Okay, I'll put on my pajamas and I'll call you when I'm ready." So she did, it took her about 15 minutes to call me. I entered her room and we performed that daily routine before sleeping. Basically; it is to play a game in an electronic device, then videos of her favorite series are watched and finally, a book is read.
This is where I want to stop; for a moment she said to me: -Hernán, do you think it's okay if I tell you a bit of my story, sometimes I need to have someone to talk to.- I replied: -of course, I'm here to listen to you. We all have stories, it is part of learning life.-

She replied: -very good. Look, I've had four dads, one passed away, there's no point talking about him, he died in a car accident. However, another one of them makes me very sad. I loved him, but he treated me like garbage. Every day he came from the pub, smelled like perfume, and had lipstick. He did not treat my mom well, he never said good night to us before sleeping and he did not cook to us either. However, I loved him, but he left us.-

I listened to her, looked at her and internally thought that a girl of only 7 years old was speaking to me as if she were 15. I connected the dots and several questions raised. Well, I thought it was interesting to think in her head what did she mean when she said that she had four dads? Also, what was her ideal father figure like? because she cried out affection and manifested that the dad she loved treated her like garbage for not saying good night, not preparing food for her and not showing fondness.

She continued her narration and at one point wanting to cry, she said: -Hernán, thank you for listening to me, forgive me, I do not understand why we ended talking about negative things, I did not want mean to do that, let's change the subject. I replied, "don't worry, that's why I'm here to listen to you." She finished, "thank you, honestly, thank you very much." Before arriving here, I had a foster family, they treated me like garbage, they believed that I was a slave, thank God they moved me here. I know that soon I will be able to be with my mom again, I really miss her a lot.-

The time passed by, and we kept the expressed routine, we finished reading and I asked her if she would like to do the Lord’s Prayer, but she said to me: -no Hernán, I only do church topics there, because they bring back bad memories and I don't want that in my bed. But if you want, if you feel better, we can do it.- Mixed feelings I felt, for me it was still difficult to process that it was a 7-year-old girl expressing herself.
I have been able to work with children for several years, in fact, when she was born, I was already teaching and sharing experiences.. I know that some add a little imagination to their stories and that many times, not everything they say is true. However, from a psychological point of view, it is known that there is creativity in their stories, that creation has a cause, the same one that I will try to find along the way.

So my dear readers, without knowing what percentage of her stories are true, I can conclude that it there is a lot to think about. Well, she only describes a very common home, and it is there, where we as adults could make a pause to evaluate what kind of nurture are we giving to our children? and to stop thinking that because they are kids; they don't understand, they don't listen or they don't see.

Close your computer or lock your cell phone and take five minutes to reflect on your daily experience, and thus avoid Kelly's story repeating itself close to your home, or worse, in yours. Soon I will be telling you more surprises of this childhood that surrounds me today. And how about you; do you have something to share?
Let's reflect together!