“What Should Adults Learn from Kids?”

Submitted By Morrison Lee

After class once in 2004, an ESL colleague of mine Wayne Golding passed me this touching essay in the staff room. (It was written by his student). I’ve kept it for over ten years. Later Wayne circulated it saying;  

‘This essay was written by a little wisp of a Korean girl eleven years old. She was a class leader at one of the top Haegwons in Daechi-dong, Seoul, and very popular with teachers. The class was required to write an essay on adult child relations. Her original essay, reproduced here verbatim, is a candid child’s-eye critique on an adult philosophy of education.’

The emotional rawness and delicate sincerity of it impress me every time I reread it. The simple expression, (with the penetrating logic of innocence) cleaves open the adult agenda to reveal the vital issues of life, issues buried in the scramble and scrabble for modernity. The little girl’s charming and wise essay is, to me, a personal and perennial reminder of the poignant message taught by the great Teacher.

Einstein was opposed to structured learning and much inclined to play and freedom. I think this letter would have broken his gentle heart.

Topic: “What Should Adults Learn from Kids?”

Our kids are not free because adults make us go to many academies and study a lot even on vacation. Then, what should adults learn from kids?

Adults should learn from us to be genuine because adults only want money, and a nice house, a car … But our kids don’t love money. We love freedom, nature, etc. We love that is pure and usual. But money is not pure.

And the second, adults should know to be interested in something. One day I told my mother that my friend injured very bad, and she bleed very much. But she didn’t seem to have any interest. She just ignored me, or just said to me, “So what?” Adults are only interested in money and education. They’re not concentrating of our friend’s problem.

And adults should know how to scold smoothly to others. I was scolded by my mother few weeks ago. She hit me and kicked me with her foot. She said to me, “Get out and die you daughter of a bitch! I can breed your brother! I can make him an intelligent man!” I didn’t want her to call me “daughter of a bitch” or “dumb.”

And the last, adults should know the freedom of us. They always force us to study, study, always study. Adults made the study, the school, and academies. They make us to be stuck. They don’t know that we are hoping a freedom, and getting stress by studying.


Daechi dong. 2004