On the New Year eve, I was thinking about what ‘key resolution of the year’ I could pick for this 2017. I did have some lists in mind but I felt a little bit obscured since the dynamic continues to stir my life. Should we desire for something good in the future even though we have not known what will happen tomorrow or even the moment later? This is how I found skepticism in myself.

Then, I stop for a while as a man was sitting beside me and we had a conversation about one of his great desire in life. This great desire is to be able to write and read.

This man when he was child could not enjoy being a school kid properly due to poor situation throughout the country under occupation time. Even so, he was able to attend 1st and 2nd grade at an older age and managed to learn the counting with a favorite teacher he knew well at that time. He loved that favorite teacher because that teacher always defended him when he was physically bullied or harassed by the older kids at school. However, he could not accomplish his learning to write and read, as he had to drop out from school. The reason was that that favorite teacher moved to the other place. So this man at his younger age, desperately felt that there will be no one to defend him again from the threat of bullies and harassment from the older kids at school. Therefore, he dropped his study despite he still really wanted to study and stayed unmotivated since then.

At his home, the poor economic condition demanded his contribution for sustaining the family. Somehow, he decided to start his adventure, traveling far away out from his village, to find a better job in the city, to learn new things, to learn about life.

During many years, he did learn to work and later became a better responsible self-sustained man to himself and his family with his job as a tailor. His kids went to school until the highest grade. Somehow, deep inside his heart, he still feels that he wants to continue to learn on writing and reading even though he has to learn again like a 1st-grade kid. Thus, he started to ask his older kids to teach him to write and read for a couple of hours every night before they go to bed. The kids were surprised that their father did seriously want to learn regardless of his age.

Today he already able to write his own name and other person’s name or things all in capital letters and formed like 2nd-grade kid’s writing. He can also able to read words written in capital letters. His kids sometimes laughed at him but he did not feel ashamed of his late learning desire or aged-illiterate label he got as he continued to ask them to teach him.

That night, he told me that it was the curiosity that had motivated him a lot to learn and he is now so happy with his progress that he already able to write many words and read them out.

Indeed, all he wanted from this learning curiosity is to understand more about life and the world as a literate and to help himself from being fooled on his illiteracy.

After listened to his story, I felt so shame with myself as for a moment I have lost the curiosity to live. I have lost my motivation to learn more in life despite I have studied in university, the highest degree of education and gained a well-paid job. However, it is with his that story also inspires me and burns me at the same time to face the life with great optimism although I do not know if tomorrow will bring any certainty. This simple man who just wants to learn to write and read had taught me a great lesson that there is no limitation to those who really has a great desire over something meaningful in life. Regardless of the unfortunate past, age and situation, there is still a possibility for to learn again.

This man is now entering his fifty, remains physically fit and mentally strong. Above all, this man is my father.