Letter to Elizabeth #11

Dear Elizabeth

At a little party we hosted yesterday, I caught a glimpse of you stuffing a bun into your mouth — voraciously.

Your solemn eyes broke my heart. In your eyes, and through your actions, I saw a world of hungry children. Your moment’s hunger… is their way of life.

We have much to do as you grow up. Many friends have asked about our plans for your education. Mama and I have maintained that we will ‘home-school’ you. Many have asked us — What you will learn; and How you will learn. None have asked — Why you will learn.

I am compelled now, to answer that question in this letter to you.

Most teachers in school will be eager to teach you the What’s and the How’s… What this is. How that can be accomplished. Important stuff. But easily grasped by a motivated self-learner.

We choose to focus on the Why. And we want to discover the answer with you — thoroughly — without the distraction of the many ‘What’s’ and ‘How’s’ that eager young teachers will expound.

By the time this letter makes sense to you, we’ll still likely be grappling with the same problems that exist in my time today. These problems are very big, and very real. Hunger, poverty, slavery…

I grew up schooled to think that I was the biggest ‘Why’. It wasn’t in my textbooks when I was in primary school; and it wasn’t on the teachers’ slides when I was in college. But it was there — an invisible lesson waiting to take root in my all-too-willing heart.

Your birth has been my greatest education. Through your young life, I’ve come to realise that the greatest ‘Why’ lies beyond our comfortable home. It lies in a whole of hungry children, for whom your moment’s hunger… is their way of life.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015 . 1:45 am . Singapore