Helping hand sees student shine
A chance encounter at an internet cafe led Nguyeãn Huøng Laâm to develop a mentor relationship with a poor eighth grade student whose true talent was being squandered by playing video games. With Laâm’s encouragement, the young boy’s life saw a remarkable
Iwas a high-school student with medium achievements. Fortunately, I passed the entrance examination and had an opportunity to study at the HCM City University of Foreign Trade. After seeing the results that I had at the university, I decided to reward myself by playing online games at an internet cafe near my house.
As I stepped into the game parlor, a world opened vividly in my eyes. Addicts as well as street kids were being immersed in the virtual world. Annoying smoke permeated the air and vulgar curses filled the room.
Suddenly, a little boy sitting next to me invited me to compete in a football match online. We enjoyed some matches and talked together all the time. Unlike other guys here, he looked smart and behaved politely.
Sadly, whenever I went there, I saw the boy concentrating on the screen. It seemed to me that he had nowhere to go but the game shop. He, I believed, should belong to a better place.
After several talks together, I discovered that his name was Taâm. He was a hapless child. His father died from an illness when he was only in secondary school; and he lived a destitute life with his mother in a shabby house where there was not even a decent desk on which to study.
After the death of his father, Taâm, as his mom told me, lost his optimism and became depressed. Eventually, he gradually became an at-risk student at school with poor marks, and he had to face a cloudy future. Why not share my happiness with Taâm? So, I decided to become his mentor. During this period, I constantly reminded him to bear in mind that knowledge was the only key that would lead to success if he wanted a happy life, not only for himself but also for his beloved relatives. I took him to high schools for the gifted to inspire his desire to strive.
Besides giving him instruction in academic lessons, I never forgot to tell Taâm about moral principles and meaningful fables. This enabled him to walk more strongly. I did not want to change only his knowledge, but also his mind.
I tried to inspire Taâm by telling him about successful examples of people, with the hope that he would try his best in studying. I told him that education would bring him success. Since then, he has made enormous progress in his studies at class, has become more mature and, is living a better life.
I was glad when I helped to alleviate his misfortune, and felt cheerful when seeing his achievements. I was satisfied about having done a good thing.
Indeed, as the saying goes, "In seeking happiness for others, you find it yourself". And I found it.
There are always people in this world like Taâm. Therefore, I reminded my student to share the happiness he had with others who needed help. Taâm shared all of what I told him with his classmates and encouraged other street kids in the neighborhood to change their lives.
Taâm's friends, who are also street children, wanted to join my class. All of them have a thirst to realise their dreams and change their lives. I decided to open a free class in Taâm's shabby house. The class was held for about one year.
Finally, Taâm passed an examination to enter the 10th grade at Nguyeãn Thaùi Bình High School. It was a big surprise to him and his mother. Both had never dreamed of admission to this school.
Some people questioned me about what was making me do that. I replied that I felt moved to witness their situation. I wanted to be a person who managed to change the lives of kids who had less luck than me.
In addition, Taâm and I visited some schools in the area to collect old bags, secondhand learning tools and used textbooks. We blew a new spirit into the destitute children there. I was happy because Taâm finally knew how to bring his happiness to others.
Inspiring Taâm and other kids helped me achieve the scholarship opportunities at 13 universities in the US and Finland. This is something that I had never thought of. I chose Luther College in the US. I have decided to return to Vieät Nam to teach after graduating.
If we all knew how to share happiness, we would absolutely receive more.
"Heal the world. Make a better place for you and for me," as the song goes.
Nguyeãn Huøng Laâm receives flowers at the Yola Centre in Hoà Chí Minh City, where he studied English. He later won a scholarship to the US.