The Indian Boy

Eli Katz, PhD, is a clinical psychologist, expert in fatherhood and adolescence. In his book “Let Them Fly” which is dedicated to the relationships between parents and youngsters, he tells this personal touching story:

I was only 25 years-old, few years after I was released from the army, a backpacker that was travelling on his own in Mexico. After a long time of wandering around I arrived to Mexico City just on Christmas week. Around twilight I arrived to a central park – Chapultepec – and a warm rain started to fall washing the park’s lanes. On Christmas-eve people are staying in their homes or busy with last minute shopping, so I found myself walking along the lanes under huge trees, stranger, lonely but elated. At the bend of the lane, near a poor hut made of rusty metal plates, I saw a black noble horse, harnessed to a wooden decorated wagon. An old Mexican man was sitting on the Wagoner seat apathetic to the rain and his empty staring merged nicely with the horse tail’s monotonic movement.

Suddenly I felt an urge to climb on the rear seat, to pay the 5 Pesos (the price that was quoted on a small sign), and to take a ride of one hour. A familiar feeling from childhood days stopped me. “Why should I bother him to take one person, he can earn more by taking a whole family?” I used to interpret such thoughts as over sensitivity and as inability to take what I deserve. So I stood there hesitant, until suddenly I pushed myself to climb and sit in the rear seat. Only at that moment I saw a young Indian kid, about 4 years-old, standing by the poor hut bare-footed and poorly dressed. He looked at me sadly but curiously. Assumable, he stood like this every day, longing for a ride on the wagon that took joyful tourist every single day.

I waved my hand in an invitation gesture, without asking myself for the source of my spontaneous, and the boy jumped on the wagon and sat beside me. Like this was the sign for the horse and the driver, the wagon moved slowly and then ‘hovered’ over the lanes.

I was sitting there with a boy I didn’t know. I’ll admit I didn’t recognize myself either: I was a young man who never had contacts with small kids. It was almost dark and the sunset added a magical flavor to the sounds of the metal wheels over the stones, the pats of the horse shoes and the falling rain. Suddenly I felt that the small hand of the Indian boy in sneaking gently into mine, as if he thanks me. Not a word, without a voice, just the gentle touch of his hand.

In the real world of “doing”, controlled by masks, roles and fake, it was unheard off that a “real” man, a “normal” young man,  means me, will sit in the back seat hand in hand with a 4 years-old kid. For me, for a 25 years-old young man, it was a moment of truth. I believe that it was the first time that I felt father’s love deriving out of me.

It was dark outside and rain drops couldn’t hide the tear that was rolling down my cheek. The boy’s small palm squeezed mine and I felt what is “being” all about. And when my tear rolled along my arm wetting his hand, I couldn’t care less that he’ll notice that I’m crying. I understood that more than I empower him, he empowers me. And maybe this is what the whole story is about.

(From the book “Let Them Fly” by Eli Katz – Translated by me to English)

And it reminds me an old saying from an unknown source: “I’ve learned that just one person saying to me ‘you’ve made my day!’ makes my day.”

Fireworks (40)
Shuka, Thursday, October 15, 2009

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