Like, don’t lose control of your temper! Even when a student does something silly!

It was a grade three class, and I was entertaining questions. It was stifling hot in the library! And I was tired and I was frazzled, many of the teachers had been totally rude, conducting animated conversations during my presentation but still…when a student does something dumb, just take a deep breath and politely explain that you’re looking for questions, not comments at this moment.

Thing was, I had been told to wrap things up. There was only time for two more questions. I’d already allowed the students to express the fact that many were from Pakistan like me, and many had relatives with the same names as the names in my books.

I had told them that’s very nice but I’m looking for questions.

So there was one little girl, so eagerly putting her hand up, looking like she had something so profound to say that she simply couldn’t contain herself, so I called upon her, and she says, “My aunt’s name is … too!”

And I blurted out, “I don’t care.” in a kind of frustrated and funny and ironic way.

I was looking for questions. And then immediately I realized what I’d said, and I added, “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. That was completely inappropriate and I don’t mean it. I’m just looking for questions at this moment.”

A moment of weakness. A moment of exhaustion, but luckily, the little girl was completely unfazed.

I’m often blunt with kids, but hardly ever that rude.

No matter how blunt I get, the kids can always tell it’s nothing personal with me. And usually they even like it. They’re so used to the hedging speech of teachers, that a little bluntness can be refreshing!

I remember one time I was brainstorming a poem with some grade fours and fives and one kid had shouted a preposterous description and I just screwed up my face and said, “NO! That doesn’t make sense.” And moved on.

And the teacher had been totally surprised that the kid hadn’t been offended in the least.

Afterwards the little girl joined the queue and talked about how much she’d enjoyed the stories. No harm done, but darn it! I felt it!

And I remember dealing with some of the people I most admired when I was growing up and how often they snapped at me and I didn’t take it personally. In fact the more intelligent I considered them, the more often they snapped, or so it seemed. Not saying that I’m intelligent or anything, it was just an observation I recall.

In fact, afterwards I really chided myself for it. To put things in perspective I thought of how she was in grade three, that meant she was about eight years old, like my oldest granddaughter! No way would I have said such a thing to her!

All the way home I scolded myself for losing my patience.

And then it occurred to me that here I was really making a huge to-do about something that the little girl hadn’t even cared that much about, but I knew it was wrong. And it occurred to me that the more stringent you try to be, in terms of your ethics and moral, the more you beat yourself up when you slip up like this! And we’re all bound to slip up aren’t we?

And the next day, I was speaking to the junior students and many of the kids came up to me afterwards and used the same descriptor words for my presentation. They told me it was ‘inspiring’.  And one kid told me that I’d totally described his life.

And in the midst of all this, I remembered what my friend had told me about privilege and private schools.

Apparently the biggest advantage in going to private schools has little to do with the education you receive. But rather it’s about connections.

The fact is that kids in public schools have the same access to information that any other kids have access to, because of the library system. But where the kids in private schools are distinctly at an advantage is that their peers are the offspring of rich and influential people and being in such close proximity to such influential people they’re more likely to get good jobs and do well financially.

That’s the benefit. It goes back to ‘who you know’.

I found this fascinating!

So I asked my friend, “Then that means, that I’ve accomplished all the stuff I have, without having any connections at all!”

She said, “Yes!”

And I thought, “Wow!” That is actually pretty darn impressive!

And the fact that SO many authors are struggling to make ends meet and I’m doing very well in that regard, alhamdu lillah, is again, quite an accomplishment.

And somewhere along the line I came across the saying, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I can’t remember who said it, but it’s a very good quote!

We all do way too much comparing, keeping up with the Joneses and stuff.

Alhamdu lillah, I really have nothing to complain about!

And yeah, I made a mistake with that poor little kid in grade three and I regret it, and insha Allah, I won’t do it again, but at least I didn’t scar her for life!

I can and will get past this, insha Allah!

And yeah, I’ll continue to hold myself to a high ethical and moral standard even though I won’t always meet them. But I will always try! Insha Allah.

And in terms of news: King for a Day has been chosen by the TD Summer Reads as one of the 20 best books of 2015.

And it was just chosen by the South Asian Book Award committee as a 2015 SABA Commended title!!!

Woohoo, lots of accolades! Will have to add these honors to my book page for it!

Yeah, so basically that’s the things I’ve been learning over the last few weeks, as the school year’s been winding down.

I’m really looking forward to Ramadan.

And I’m looking forward to wrapping up some writing projects insha Allah.