Today, one of my students told the class that he traveled halfway around the world and he hoped he would find a girlfriend. He seemed a little miffed that it hadn’t happened yet.
In a surprisingly positive way, the other students didn’t mock him or even chuckle.
This gave me pause to think. Did they identify with his quest? Perhaps the romantic vision that TV and movies has so long sold us on continues to exist deep down in our subconscious. Cliché spouters often say that we are all looking for love. Perhaps the label of cliché was earned by being damningly true. His words might have echoed the most basic thoughts of everyone in the room.
Perhaps they admired his honesty. To get up in front of the class and make a big pronouncement is also one of those moments that movies and TV have prepared us for. We root for them on the screen, so it isn’t so hard to believe we could root for it in real life. Despite our love of the anti-hero, sometimes we want the happy ending. Sometimes we want triumph, regardless of how predictable it might be.
Perhaps they didn’t want to be negative and discouraging. Love is hard the best of times, but adding a foreign language and a foreign setting could make it more difficult. (It can make it more interesting as well, but we are not really talking about me and my experiences) The other students probably didn’t want to increase the burden. They obviously like and respect this person and felt no need to target him with insults or wisecracks.
Regardless of what the students thought, I liked this moment very much. It had so many great qualities of courage, conviction, honesty, a bit of bravado and even some self-deprecating humour.
Stand up and let your voice be heard because you can’t be the only one thinking about it. Why not be the first one. Why not articulate the most basic truths.