Responsibility and Life
It is the second last day of school. Mr. Shaw tries to have the children share their choice of famous quotes on responsibility and life, to open up their minds, and to discuss with their parents on what they have learned in school over the summer holidays. Each student brings in two famous quotes of her/his choice, and shares with the class the meanings felt. At the end of class, Mr. Shaw has all the quotes recorded in his computer to print out for the students.
Arithmetic Thoughts and Uses
“Grandpa, we have two very interesting visitors in class today.” Nancy greets Grandpa cheerfully the minute she gets home.
“You are really lucky.” Grandpa responds, “Tell me who they were and what happened.”
“Grandpa, are we Hakka’s?” Nancy asks as she greets Grandpa at the door.
“Yes, we are.” Grandpa answers.
“Mr. Shaw said today that Hakka’s are proud people, with superior resources and ingenuity. He said that he was proud being a Hakka.”
Everyone Is A Poet
“Grandpa, do you write poems?” Nancy asks the minute she gets home from school.
“Well, I tried once, long ago, when I was in Grade 4, back in the old country.”
“That makes you a poet. I like to have your poem.’
“I do remember it well, because it is the only one. It has only two lines: ‘I like to be a cloud, Freely I float around,’”
“That’s great!” Nancy applauds. “I like it, Grandpa. We have a very special visitor in class today, a poet from India whom Mr. Shaw knows by correspondence. He recited many poems in Bengali. They sounded just like music. They are beautiful even when we did not understand the words.”
“Grandpa, what is Zen wisdom?” Nancy asks in a state of doubt.
‘I guess Mr. Shaw talked about it today?” Grandpa responds, not knowing how to answer. He continues after a moment of thought: “It is a very big large topic. I live by it. But, I can’t explain it in simple terms. All I can say is that Zen is a state of mind which helps you to live in peace and happiness. May be you can tell me what Mr. Shaw had said? “
Distance and Feelings
“Grandpa, when do birds sing the loudest?”
“I guess it would be in spring?”
“I mean what time of day, Grandpa.”
“It would be at dawn.”
“I’ll ask one more question, Grandpa. What can eliminate distance?”
“I would say a train or an airplane.”
“You are right. But you are not answering my question.”
“What is your answer?”
“It is our feelings.”
“Well, tell me about it.”
Monkey King and Xuan Zang
“Grandpa, we have a riot of a time at school today.” Nancy is jolly when she gets home.
“Nothing bad, I hope.” Grandpa asks automatically, showing no alarm.
“Everyone was interested in the feat of Monkey King. Imagine one single summersault can take him from Toronto to Tokyo. And he was playful and naughty and wise when he faced danger and harm.”
“Ah, you must be talking about the famous novel ‘Journey to the West’?” Grandpa settles down to hear what happened in Nancy’s class.
“Yes, Grandpa. There is so much the monkey could do when he escorted Xuan Zang the wise teacher to India. There was Pigsy too. I like him a lot.”
“Tell me what Mr. Shaw said, and may be I can tell you what I know. I have read the novel three times and still love it. It is one of the four great novels in the history of Chinese literature.”
“Grandpa, what are dreams?” Nancy asks enthusiastically.
The question was discussed at school, with a visiting scholar invited by Mr. Shaw. His name is Edward Grim, a philosophy professor from Heidegger University who has come to Toronto to attend The International Conference on Dreams. Mr. Shaw met him at a dinner party hosted by Dr. Wei and invited him to visit Nancy’s class.
Professor said at the beginning of class, “When the Emperor of Heaven invented dawn, he was surprised to see its brilliance and beauty.”
Then He told the class that the quotation was from an ancient Chinese book. It set off a 6000-year heritage to have the Chinese people believe that dreams can come true.
“Grandpa, do dreams really come true?” Nancy asks.
“Grandpa, do you have good memory?” Nancy asks after school.
“May be I have.” Grandpa answers hesitantly. He says after a moment: “I can remember my Mom very welland a lot of things when I was growing up. I also remember how thrilled we were when we brought you home from the hospital. You were such a tiny sweet little baby. But, I often forget where my glasses are; even I had put them down moments ago.”
“But you have me, Grandpa. I can always find your glasses for you.”
Development and Competition
It is an early summer day, when people realize that the school term is about to come to an end. Nancy and her classmates are talking about what they will do during the summer holidays.
Many of them have their summer programs set already. Their parents have engaged tutors to teach them do a variety of things, such as swimming, tennis, dancing, cycling, painting, piano, violin etc. These are in addition to tutorials on school subjects. Dianna says her parents had arranged her to learn modeling, so she can earn lots of money.
Mr. Shaw learned about the sharing of plans. He asked: “Who will have a summer free of tutored learning?”Nancy raised her hand, together with eight classmates. The rest of the class all had summer tutoring programs waiting for them.