In life it can happen that every single event can have much deeper meanings than we imagine and that, even if distant in time, we carry them with us, continuing to elaborate and experiment them until we understand how much they really mean.
I am sure that someone will recognize this process in the exams taken at school in what are the most difficult passages of our life. Middle school and high school. Where everything changes. A real transformation of body and mind takes place. And it’s not always that simple not to feel cramped. We often look for a rebellion that sometimes takes us away from the freedom we crave so much and the world seems such a small place to us.
I once knew a little girl well that most teachers said they had never done anything good and that studying was not for her. This was enough to ensure that for a long time this little girl felt these words as the only possible truth. Fortunately, however, the greatest weight, this girl, evidently gave it to Professor Anna who one day told her: “You saw that you can do it!”. Certainly these words gave her a glimmer of hope. But they weren’t enough.
She, who could not study because she lacked the feeling of well-being that was needed to fulfill herself, was really pissed off but never stopped looking for answers. She left his studies after high school because graduation seemed like an unattainable milestone.
The professor’s words, which hid the possibility of a valid human relationship, gave her the strength to ask for help from a psychotherapist and at the age of twenty-six she enrolled in university and understood that, yes, she could really do it. But she had to be fine. Because you can be fine and there is nothing to be ashamed of letting yourself be helped.
I recently helped a beautiful girl prepare her thesis for her eighth grade exam. She described the period of the Second World War crossing themes for each school subject. So she wrote about Anna Frank in English, she talked about sport by telling about the Berlin Olympics, she went through Picasso’s art and his Guernica. He told of Primo Levi with “If this is a man”. And she quoted Einstein, closing it all with a phrase from the genius physicist: “I belong to the only race I know. The human one “. This girl wonders if she will make it. She asks for everything. She has the eyes of someone who is always looking for answers and I always feel obliged to be there in front of this really be there. It’s not just my job. Children often ask us to “stay there”. They do this even when they ask us to leave. They don’t need labels but answers.
They need someone to help them bring out the beauty they naturally possess but which sometimes gets buried under very heavy boulders.
To the girl who is about to go to high school I feel like saying that in life it is not perfection that makes us happy. May you fall, the important thing is to get up. She asks me if she will succeed … if, despite the very difficult school year, she will succeed in this exam. I know he gave his all. And now she knows a little bit too. He knows this because there was interest during the making of this work. There was a desire to understand how everything in history affects every event, from art to literature, from sport to politics.
If things don’t go our way. We will stand up and do it again. Because if in life we meet even one person who tells us: “you saw that you can do it” … it is to her that we must listen. She speaks to me of a difficult time and I feel that it is not only for distance learning, it is not only because adolescence is an explosion of sensations and transformation.
I often think that the school is missing something fundamental, that the discourse is much broader and more complicated than the funds available to propose a change or not. That this change must be cultural and that the right importance must be given to school and that children and young people need to be seen, to give them the opportunity to express themselves, recognize themselves and develop their interests and passions in the best possible way. They don’t need to all feel the same, to measure themselves against an idea of perfection that depersonalizes and makes one feel bad. I feel the risk of seeing only competition and not collaboration and sharing. We need to do something important that makes a difference, and we need to involve families to do it right because if we don’t have to blame anyone, we have to make everyone responsible.
We need a right time. A time not marked only by the sound of the bell. A time made of interest and which allows teachers not to have to run after the hands of a clock.
“The exams never end”, because the challenges that life puts us in front of are as many as the changes we choose to make; sometimes they scare, but the real danger is always remaining the same.
This is why I feel like saying: when something is wrong, let’s get up and try to change it!
Obviously she, the beautiful girl of the thesis, who wants to be a psychologist to help children when she grows up, is the first to have read what is written in these pages even before it was made public and to my question: “Tell me what you think!” she replied: “It’s beautiful, really. I got excited.”
She says it to me …