The North Star

    The thing about “pole star” is they are always there, hardly moving, a compass, guide.

    I spend a lot of time with my grandmother as a child and she was quite a story teller. I guess raising 9 kids would automatically give you a doctorate in story telling.

    One of the stories that she repeated a few times were about a mother and her son. In the story the son stole a pencil or an eraser, I am not sure, and took it home. The mother did not reprimand him. I am not sure if she encouraged it, but I am going to take some liberty and say that she didn’t encourage him to do it again. The next time he stole something else, and he grew up to be a thief, a pretty notorious one at that.

    In time he was caught, found guilty and sent to the gallows. He had probably killed someone when trying to steal something. As his last wish, he asked to see his mother. She was allowed to see him and she was weeping at the fate of her son. The son wanted to kiss her one last time. Pretending to kiss, he bit of her ears and said, “I am facing my death as a thief because you did not scold me when I came home with a pencil that I stole.”

    I think I might have done something bad that day and she must have punished me for it. At night she must have told that story to explain why she punished me. I don’t remember what I did wrong, but I still remember the story.

    In one of the stories she told me about a kid who hit an elder person. Once he was dead and buried, he hand rose perpendicular to his body. The way she said it, it was pushed above the grave, never mind the depth of the grave. At night angels came down to the cemetery and looked for those hands and hit them back down to the grave. It reminded me of school. And that is how I learnt to respect my elders.

    I have looked at myself and found that I could be as wicked and cruel as anyone else on earth. I could, if I wanted to detach myself from my emotions, argue with myself so that I can convince myself what I am doing is right. The scale that I use to decide on a course of action where given to me by people like my grandmother, parents, teachers and others who influenced my life.

    We learn a lot from friends, mannerisms, behavior, social skills and even morals, but they lack the wisdom that comes with age. The wisdom that comes from age is what guards us from bad influences. I have gained a lot from my friends, mostly good, a few lasting, but mostly fleeting. I have acquired a few bad behavior too. My display of negative emotions – anger, disinterest, displeasure was acquired from a friend and I have been unable to shake it off.

    Unfortunately, my grandmother never had any stories about displaying emotions.

     

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