Of Kindness and Vigilance

January 14th, 2019

Kiki and a friend playing at Robot Park.

Kiki and a friend playing at Robot Park.


Dearest Mom and Dad,

Today is Daddy’s Day! Well, that’s what we always say whenever we go to school during a Japanese National holiday, and all the daddies are off from work. Most of them come to drop us off, or pick us up from school!

Today is actually a “Coming– of– Age” holiday in Japan, as Sayaka explained to us. Like Shichi– go– san, they also celebrate people who are already 20 years old, as they have already fully reached adulthood. Sayaka said that if we go outside today, and see some people dressed nicely in a kimono, a suit and tie, or a hakama, then they are surely celebrating this holiday, and we can greet them with an “Omedetou gozaimasu!” or “Congratulations!” Pauline asked us if we can congratulate her. We gave it a thought, and guessed yes. This made Pauline grin cheekily, and she told us, she’s already 33 years old– a way bigger number than 20! We also figured out that two and zero makes 20!

We continued making our shuji with Sayaka today on the big table. The rest were interested in browsing books in the library, or playing with the animal toys on the carpet. Z and Y were grouping the animals, and they happily told their teachers, “This is a family! This one, too… and this one….”  They were probably remembering Sayaka’s circle time from last year, when she discussed about different families with colorful toy frogs.

We packed away early, but our teachers told us that even though it was a Monday, we didn’t have gym class as it was a Japanese holiday. But we would still eat our snacks early, so that we can go to the Robot Park!

After snacks, we prepared for park. Pauline played her ukulele, and we sang “I Love You, Mommy!” and changed it to “I Love You, Everybody!” We also sang “Magic Penny”. We briefly talked about love and kindness.

“Kindness is loving mommy and daddy,” K explained. That’s so sweet!

“Kindness is.. Being nice,” X said. Oh, it’s just like when we brought toys, clothes, and books for our Cambodia friends– that’s showing kindness. When we help our friends, teachers, mommy and daddy– that’s showing kindness.

We were supposed to have story time with Pauline, but there wasn’t enough time left, as we talked about what the teachers told us last week during rest time. We were used to lying down on our mats, without our shoes– it’s more comfortable to rest without them. But we were puzzled when the teachers said that we had to get used to napping and having a rest with shoes on.

“At home, it’s alright if we want to take off our shoes and socks,” Pauline said. “But in school, maybe it’s better to keep them on.”

“Why, Pauline?” V asked.

Jishin,” X answered.

“What’s jishin?” Pauline wanted to know.

“Earthquake,” Y explained. Pauline said that in case of any emergency, may it be a fire or earthquake, we have to be ready. So she took off her shoes and pretended to be sleeping. What if there was an emergency– she won’t have time to think about her shoes and how to put them on– the most important thing is to evacuate the building. Outside, if she doesn’t have her shoes on, she might step on something that will give her an ouchie.

“We have to be prepared– we don’t know when the emergency will come,” Pauline said. “It might come during nap time even,” she said. So we have to be vigilant– Kiki was reminding us not to take off our shoes during our rest time.

We went to Robot Park without our rope again– this time, we could walk all by ourselves much better! We were more careful and vigilant– we made sure that we stayed together, and that we looked after each other and ourselves. Of course, there’s room for improvement– but practice certainly makes perfect! Our teachers were also glad to hear from mommies and daddies that we practice this awareness even when we’re not in school!

So that concludes our Monday. How was your day?


All the vigilant children in Petals Class





Ohana International School