Whenever I speak in front of a class, to a group of students, or even with just one student, I try to remember that class.
I remember how I sat there and listened to my classmate yell expletives in front of the whole class. The room was deathly silent; my classmate’s voice echoed and bounced off the four walls of the classroom.
In the past, when anyone cursed in class, I reacted negatively, flinched at the least.
Today, however, I simply sat and listened.
In the past, the curses were undirected, voiced carelessly to no one.
Today, however, the curses this classmate was yelling were directed at someone: her dad.
So I just sat and listened as another, and another, and yet another classmate stood in front and gave her own share of expletives against her dad. And yet another stood and did the same.
It is probably peculiar that the subject of their wrath was their dads, but I tell you, it is so. I listened as they, with voice dripping bitterness, cursed their fathers for deception of their mothers, for marriages broken, for years and years and years of hurt.
I bowed my head and tried in vain not to cry.
It was Speech Communication 121: Oral Interpretation, a performance course similar, but not limited to, Reader’s Theater. As a graduating student in my last semester, I needed just one Speech Comm course to complete my required units. The class had been very interesting and entertaining so far.
Until that day.
The task was to compose our own original piece and perform it in front of the entire class. The catch: it had to be a letter towards our worst enemy.
We all sat there and listened to my classmates rant, rave and cry against their worst enemies. There were rants of all sorts, but it struck me that to most of my classmates, their worst enemies are their dads and their families.
As class ended, the Instructor thanked everyone for trusting the class with these “information”. I think the Instructor understood, as I did, that that session had been therapeutic for most.
I left the class shocked and reawakened to the sad, bitter reality of human hurt present even to people as young as they. It was the best education I’ve had so far about the human pain. And I learned that, despite notions about restructuring the family, a parents’ – specifically a father’s – role is incredibly and indelibly vital.
The experience, however, left me with an even stronger impression: these people, my classmates, are of the next generation – the generation from whence future leaders shall emerge. These people are whom the future will be depending on. My generation. And it is broken.
Whenever I speak in front of a class, to a group of students, or even with just one student, I try to remember that class. The brokenness, the hurt, the pain masked behind witty comments and intellectual discussions and even unruliness and rebellion.
And I remind myself that I possess the only person from whom healing is possible, and to hold it back is to contribute to the future’s doom.