If I wrote this yesterday, I most likely would have written about how my favourite kind of people are people generally. How I enjoy interacting with people, to pick their brains on different issues – life, faith, music, football, environment, arts, etc. To genuinely learn about them and their backgrounds. I would have also written about my love for people that communicate properly in speech and text. I take communication and courtesy quite seriously. Oh, you just punctuate well and we are friends already. And in this world of instant messaging, I’m being graced by God to forgive people that reply my messages late! I kid, I kid, it’s not as serious as it used to be. I lastly would have told you that people or carriers of positive energy and vibes hold a special place in my heart. People like me that smile and laugh easily, people that don’t take life too seriously.

Sadly, I didn’t get to write and post this yesterday because I was too fatigued to create anything. I was fatigued due to spending the day with another kind of my favourite people — kids.

I had very little experience with kids before being posted to teach the JS2 students Maths in a Secondary school in Lokoja. This was during my NYSC year. Piece of cake, I thought. How hard could teaching a bunch of kids simple Algebra be? Well I got my answer after my first day — it was as hard as the pounding effect of the noise the kids made. Nah, this can’t be what I’d have to deal with for the next seven months, I thought. But I later got moved to the SS1 students and I think that was how my interest in children began. I saw young self in them. I saw how poor some of my decisions as a teenager were.

Fast forward to when I was studying in the UK and needed to work on the side. I was back working with kids again. My first duty was to do a cover teaching job for a science class in a secondary school. What a day. I had not made proper progress with my ‘British’ accent so it was all over the place. I can’t blame them for not really taking me seriously. I remember talking to one white boy and him dabbing in response. I laughed. I still don’t know how I survived that class. I later spent most of my assistant teaching job at preschools and that was when I really connected.

Preschoolers don’t really understand Nigerian English so I was forced to brush up on the British accent quickly. And being the only man amongst women felt weird initially, but looking after the kids while they had fun in their playgrounds was pretty magical. It was like reading and watching fiction. And you know there are some fictional works you get lost in while consuming them. I felt this exact way when they’d pull me to play with them, playing along in their peaceful and innocent world of make-believe. I’m just realising as I write this that being in their world helped me heal from a breakup then.

Now I teach in the Children’s section of my church on Sundays. It’s more fulfilling than stressful. Stressful because teenagers are indeed a handful, but I get along well with them. Or I try to, at least. I believe the best type of investment is People Investment. This is why I enjoy sowing good seeds into young minds. To me, it’s like giving back to my preteen and teenage self. It’s like giving me (and them) the things I didn’t get but wished I got or wanted.

Yours youthfully,

Ayo Wright

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