Skipping Stones magazine

Vol. 15, No. 4

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Dear Hanna

"I dread having to adjust to a new classroom each school year. That's the worst part about school!" -- Tania

Dear Tania: My best possible answer begins with the story "Crow Boy" by Taro Yashima.

Way, far away, in the isolated, hilly countryside of Japan, there was a tiny village. In the middle of the village stood a small schoolhouse. All the children of the village walked, mostly barefoot, to school. After attending school for six years, the children graduated.

by Pamela Sastra, art student from IndonesiaOne year a very strange, shy boy arrived the first day of school. He was afraid of the teacher and of all the children. He hid under the schoolhouse and under the desk. Everyone made fun of him. They nicknamed him Chibi, meaning 'tiny boy.' The children left him alone at study and play time, at lunch,all the time. Chibi taught himself to make his eyes cross-eyed so he would not see how the children made fun of him. He kept himself busy observing: the grains of the wood in the desk, details about insects, or the design of patches in the shirt of the boy who sat in front of him.

Mr. Isobe was the teacher in 6th grade. He would find Chibi when no one was around. They talked. Mr. Isobe discovered that Chibi knew more than any other student about wild vegetables, animals, flowers and fruit.

Mr. Isobe arranged for a talent show the night before graduation. Adults and children were amazed that the first performance was entitled: 'A Conversation among Crows,' delivered by Chibi. He imitated newly hatched crows, the protective mother, the defending father, crows filled with happiness in their hearts, an old crow loyal to an old tree. When Chibi concluded, the whole audience rose, clapping, crying, touched by Chibi's performance, regretting how unkind they had been to him. And at graduation, Chibi was the only student honored for perfect attendance all those six years.

by Pamela Sastra, art student from IndonesiaAfter graduation, Chibi came to the village from time to time, all the way from his mountain home to sell the charcoal he and his family made. But nobody called him Chibi any more. Everyone greeted him with a friendly, "Hi, Crow Boy!" and he answered with the happy crow sound.

Tania, switch your focus away from worry over your inadequacy. Instead, focus on all the other students in your class. Be helpful, see the potential of every other student. Discover and appreciate whatever each person has to offer. Feel friendship in your heart and they may very likely return warm feelings to you.

In Peace,



Skipping Stones Magazine
Volume 15, No. 4, Page 7

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