One of the greatest lessons I ever learnt in high school was in a junior maths class. It didn’t actually have anything to do with maths – well, not really, but there’s fractions involved so maybe that counts (?)
Anyway, this was a lesson that I hadn’t expected to have applications outside of class or school, but it surprisingly stuck with me all this time, even beyond university. The reason I’ve been thinking about it recently is actually mostly because of stuff that I’ve read on other blogs (and also stuff from real-life conversations too, I suppose), so I thought it’d be quite fitting to share that lesson here.
I can’t remember if this was in grade 8 or 9, but it was one of the first lessons of the semester (probably the very first). The teacher was telling us a bit about how he runs his classes and all that sort of thing, and he said something to this effect:
“If you have a question, don’t be afraid to ask it because chances are that at least a third of the class have the same question.”
– Mr B., circa 2003 (?) (OMG has it really been that long??)
He was one of those “there are no silly questions” kind of teachers, but he’d still give you a weird look if you asked an obviously silly question (he’d still answer it, of course). Looking back on it, I reckon it’s kind of funny how this teacher, who was actually kind of intimidating, turned out to be amongst my favourite and most memorable teachers. He’d actually give us pep talks and advice like the gem I’m (supposed to be) writing this post about. I don’t remember him being overly expressive (I just remember him being a pretty serious sort of guy) but you could tell that he wanted us students to do well in class and in life.
Back to the quote/lesson and how it relates to life now: I’ve come to realise that people sometimes think that they are alone in their problems, but this is rarely the case. Other people might not be going through the exact same thing, but they’ve probably had the same anxieties or the same stressors or the same burdens. When I’m reading other blogs, and understanding what someone is writing about because I’ve experienced that before, or perhaps reading the comments and seeing that even one other person is able to relate – it’s quite uplifting.
And, in a way, it’s especially true for something like Post Secret or Deep Dark Fears, because they’re things that people probably don’t openly share with others – even close friends or relatives – and yet they want to share that secret or that fear with the world. And then if someone else comes along and see what they’ve shared, and they realise that they’ve experienced the same thing, or felt the same way about something, then hopefully they don’t feel so bad about it.
I reckon the same is true of positive experiences and emotions. That’s when laughter becomes contagious and smiles become infectious, right?
People work through problems in different ways, and that’s ok, but sometimes maybe just knowing that there’s someone out there who understands is all that is needed.