Amazing Kids! Magazine

Virtuous

By Abbie Kapcar, age 13, Ohio

 

20-20 hindsight is defined as “A perfect understanding of an event after it has happened; – a term usually used with sarcasm in response to criticism of one’s decision, implying that the critic is unfairly judging the wisdom of the decision in light of information that was not available when the decision was made.” That’s exactly what I experienced. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was loud, immature, troublesome and incompetent when I walked in that room for the first time. I had so much potential of being better. I wasn’t in charge of my learning, and I was impatient as can be.

It is late winter, around 7:45 in the morning. Slowly but surely, the sun is creeping up behind the clouds in the dark morning sky. The door is ajar. There he sits on his computer: a tall, aged man with a grayish-brown beard and bald head known to myself and my peers as Mr. B. You can tell by his face he’s been through unthinkable experiences and struggles. His voice is soft and calm as he says good morning and sighs. He appears tired. Slowly, he gets up and walks over to his desk to sit down. To his left, classical music plays softly on the radio. I walk up to him and hand him a cup of coffee. He smiles and thanks me. His smile is radiant like the sun and it’s wide like the sea. It changes me and gives me a sense of relief. I move to the other side of the room and set down my backpack still closely observing him. He reaches for his water bottle, and two pills. I knew he was sick at the time. But I don’t think I fully understood all he was going through. I reached in my backpack with my eyes no longer focused on him but instead on the contents of my bag. I knew that students would be arriving shortly for study hall so I was quick in getting out my binder and going once more to his desk. I had taken the liberty to come in early to go over the recent quiz answers. I showed him what I did to get the answers I got and he explained how to do it the right way. But the way he explained it was astute. He didn’t just give me the answer and quick explanation. He showed me step by step how to get the right answer and how to not make a mistake like that again. Although I had gotten quite a few questions wrong, I managed to get over a one-hundred percent thanks to his numerous extra credit points which I knew I could always count on receiving. “Way to be in charge of your learning!” he said as he pointed to the homemade poster on the wall which read, “Be smart about your smarts.”

This was something he said constantly – only one of his wise quotes. It was now 8:00 and students were starting to arrive, so I went back to my desk and sat down pondering what he said, a truly pensive statement. I was starting to become in charge of my learning. I was starting to “be smart about my smarts,” as he always said. After a whole year and a half of having him as a teacher and it was finally sinking in.

Everyday Mr. B would teach me something new. Not just math or social studies, but life lessons. We would sit at our desks before he started teaching and have conversations for what seemed like forever. It was funny how off-topic we could get so quickly, but at the same time it was so great. I recall one time in particular when he pulled me aside in the midst of my struggles with group mates and said, “Remember Abbie, patience is a virtue. Be virtuous.” I didn’t understand what this meant because at the time I wasn’t patient; I wasn’t in control. I just took it as another one of his sayings. I didn’t know all that he was going through and how much he was helping me with my struggles when I couldn’t even fathom his. I liked to think we had a special bond – that we didn’t have the average student-teacher relationship. He understood me, and even I admit that it’s quite hard to understand me. I have so much passion and when I set my mind on something, you better not get in my way. This is something I struggled with. Keeping all of that passion bottled up was so hard. I couldn’t control myself, but Mr. B taught me to. I knew that he had passion too. He had passion to teach, or he wouldn’t have taught so long being so sick. He has changed so many people’s lives, not just mine.

Looking back only two years later, I’ve seen how much Mr. B has changed me. I’ve seen how much I took for granted. How I took him for granted. But I also recall all that he has taught me – all that I will take with me for the rest of my life. He taught me to follow my dreams, and let nothing stand in the way. He taught me to “Be smart about my smarts” and he taught me that “Patience is a virtue.” I remember sixth grade graduation: I didn’t see him after the ceremony, so I went to his classroom to thank him for everything he did. He wished me luck and told me I was such a pleasure to teach. And I don’t think he knows how much of a pleasure he was to have as a teacher. I gave him a huge hug and turned to leave. But this time when I walked out of that room, the last classroom on the left side of the top floor of Mariemont Elementary School, I was changed. I was becoming a patient, responsible, respectful young woman because of him. I didn’t know then that I was so uncontrollable, and I didn’t realize that he was changing me. But now it’s clear. Now I have 20-20 hindsight. Now I am virtuous.

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