Sunday, May 13, 2007

the red man light

as we get older, we tend to take some things for granted, especially if we experience these things day in and day out. even the not so good things we see become a natural part of us and so we tend not to complain about them. or maybe decide that they are too little to be frazzled about.

we were weaving through traffic and rushing to attend an anniversary mass in quezon city yesterday. as we drove along university of santo tomas, at a stoplight, our five year-old son roque, blurted out, "why don't the people stop when they see the red man light?" when we were in auckland, we did a lot of walking. through the parks and even the city. in the city streets, he loved pressing the arrow button as we waited for the "green man light" to signal the pedestrians that it was time to cross the street. "why do they keep on crossing even if it is still the red man light?"

to that innocent question, my husband gary and i just looked at each other, knowing exactly what was going on. and gary just shook his head in disappointment. it was a simple observation. and yes, it is just a small thing. besides, none of the pedestrians got hurt as the cars were still in a stop too. but hey, roque's simple observation hit a tender spot. yes, why are simple rules not followed? we knew very well in roque's mind, there was some confusion why people in auckland were following rules and why people here were not.

i knew what was going on in gary's mind then. i was disappointed too. because in our minds, there are bigger rules here which are deliberately not followed. it is not good that seeing the same thing that roque observed did not even bother us until he pointed it out to us. it happens all the time and we had just gotten used to it. it was a small thing and we had taken it for granted, unaware that it had confused roque's little mind. and the bigger picture is, truly, as a people without discipline, we fail because of this. and as a people calloused to people without discipline, we fail all the more.

at the next stoplight, i needed to clear up roque's confusion, and erase the comparison forming in his mind, without having to highlight or cover up our people's wrongdoing. so i asked him, "why, what should they do when they see a "red man light?" he answered, "stop." i asked again, "why should they stop? what might happen if they still cross the street?" and he said a matter-of-factly, "if they cross, a car might hit them and they will get hurt." so i said, "that's right. that's why we have rules that we all have to follow all the time, wherever we are. because the rules are there to protect us, right?" and to that he smiled and nodded.

i smiled back, pleased with our little conversation but not really all that happy because i see the bigger picture from this small picture. because i am reminded of our failure as a people. and because i know i will not always be there to correct whatever small confusion roque will still encounter along the way. as he gets older, i want him to continue to be observant, to be able to choose right from wrong, and not to take little things for granted. little wrong things lead to bigger wrong things. nothing is too small to take for granted.


Blogger mama_aly said...

as long as there's a little guy like roque and a set of parents like you, this country will not be doomed.

Sunday, 13 May, 2007  
Anonymous jun said...

My daughter Iani hates "rules" when they go against her "will". We just explain to her that they are there for order, reason, fairness and safety. But in the end, she follows them, knowing they are there for a good reason, even if she doesn't like them. Uncomfortable but necessary.

If only adults would have half the mind our children have.

Tuesday, 15 May, 2007  
Blogger freckle-face said...

i hope you're right.

hopefully, all children will be like your daughter. and that even if they see others doing otherwise, they keep on doing what's right.

Tuesday, 15 May, 2007  

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