Of NERF guns and frogs
I spent one tuesday afternoon hanging around the field near the Rizal Library. I helped my friend baby-sit two kids whose parents work in the Philosophy department of Ateneo. We initially had things to discuss about Mission Youth, but there was time for that on another day.
The first thing they did after meeting me was slide down the edge, grab a random stick and invite me to capture frogs. I awkwardly looked at the 8 year-old and pretended that I didn’t think that was kind of dangerous. Then the 6 year-old called me a scaredy cat and I just got up on my feet and attempted to go down with them. They had to hold my hand, but when I got down I realized that it wasn’t that bad.
Then they told me the mechanics of the game. Get a stick. Chase the frog into a certain area. Don’t harm the frog. Oh wow, I thought. At least they weren’t intending to hurt them. Then they started poking them with sticks, and I got a bit confused. I was, apparently, too slow, so they started shooting me with a NERF gun. And then I grabbed a NERF Gun and started chasing them too.
They took me on a tour around the forests in Ateneo, and around that strange bamboo wind chime in front of Dela Costa. They pretty much enjoyed teaching me how to make sounds with it, and making the bamboo hit me. Apparently, places seem to have a different feel to them when a child is showing you around. With all the climbing, shouting and running, there was a different light to the same places I pass by almost every day. Everything just seemed to glow a bit more.
We eventually had to go back to the Philosophy Department because they had to do their homework. I never really thought I’d ever see a textbook pointing to where the eyes, nose, mouth and ears are. I helped my friend who was a Chemistry major during her time in Ateneo teach them. It was actually a lot of fun, especially when we’d take breaks and start NERF-ing each other.
Being around children really does make me feel a little bit more alive. I’ve been so consumed with college lately that I forgot there’s a still a big world out there that I haven’t seen. My failures now are minuscule, and they do not define who I am or who I’m going to become. What’s really important right now is that I learn, and that I grab every single opportunity to do so, even from children.
I hope I’ll get to see them all grown up one day, drag them back into that forest and shoot them with NERF guns. They’re not getting away with calling me a scaredy cat so easily.