There were many things I loved about my primary school days but there was also one thing I didn’t care much for: daily attendance. In those days, it consisted of the teacher calling out all the names of students in the roll book in exchange for a response. I couldn’t tell if this was a necessary exercise or just an activity the teacher enjoyed doing.
I thought to myself, after all, the teacher can tell who is present and who isn’t. He could as well complete this mundane task without involving the whole class. But no, one school day after the next, the story was the same, and the expectation remain unchanged. “If you hear your name, say present Sir” , were the clear instructions given.
As with most things, some kids had more fun than others with this exercise. Some yelled out their responses while others managed a soft answer. No two voices sounded the same. Whenever a name was called and there was no response, the teacher proceeded to mark that person as being absent. A few times, some students tried to play pranks by not responding when their name was called despite being present.
For some strange reason, over the past few weeks, I have been reminiscing on this particular primary school routine and drawing parallels to my current adult life. There is no teacher with a roll book calling out names in the morning (now I wish I had that) and each day I awake I get to respond “present” or remain silent; the choice is mine to make. It’s a different kind of “classroom experience” these days. A class that entails work, church, family responsibilities, and much more.
Most days, it feels as though there are more tasks than there are hours; a 48 hour day might still not suffice at this point. Whereas in primary school the teacher proceeded to teach the lessons after roll call, in this real adult life, one has to play a dual role; the teacher and the student. If life is an ongoing war, then this “adult kid” has to be “present” each day until the war is over.
This year, I’m focusing on being present in my life, in decisions pertaining to my well-being, in creating positive memories, in becoming a better version of me, in learning new skills and in challenging myself. I wouldn’t let anyone respond “present” on my behalf. No matter how soft the response maybe or how different the voice may sound, it will still be me, showing up for me, affirming my beliefs, and doing so in a way that brings hope, enlightenment and encouragement to others.
In all you do this year, strive to show up for you. This ride called “life” does not last forever, but you can show up and make an impact that will.