Written by: Tammy Ma – Grade 12
…now, he saw the familiar wide river beside the path differently. He saw all of the light and colour and history it contained and carried in its slow moving water; and he knew that there was an Elsewhere from which it came and an Elsewhere to which it was going. –Lois Lowry, the Giver
The Giver: Naoreen Kabir. Thoughtful .Caring. Artistic. Intelligent. Talented.
If you could back to the past and give yourself a two-word advice, what would they be? And why?
“I guess it would be ‘just try’, because I tend to not take a lot of opportunities. And if I could go back, I would just tell myself to ‘just try it’. Like,you don’t have to be good at it; you don’t have to get into the thing or get an A plus on the thing.”
If you were to tell someone one thing about yourself, what would you tell them?
“I would tell them that I am really laid back. I just want them to know that I’m not that kind of person to judge them.”
Is there anything you want to change in this world?
“I think I would make it so that money isn’t an issue. And I would make it so that schools are just bigger, and classes are smaller and there’ll be more teachers. I think that that would make life easier for everyone.”
What are words you live by?
“Okay, well, one of them is, ‘we judge others by their actions and we judge ourselves by our intentions.’ I don’t remember who said that, but what it means is that when we are making judgements about other people, we base it off of the things we see they are doing and saying. Whereas when we make judgements about ourselves, we think, ‘why was what I did a result of circumstance and not something about me fundamentally?’
For example, if someone says something really stupid, maybe in their head they realized it was stupid and they have a bad habit of blurting things and you don’t realize that while they were doing the action. Because you don’t realize what another person’s backstory or circumstances are, that sort of thing. But I try to keep that in mind. It’s hard, but I think that when you think about anything, you have to realize there’s a certain amount of knowledge you don’t have about it and that can affect how you see it.”
What is the nicest thing you have done for someone?
“Just yesterday, I was volunteering and it ended at 5:30. So, I took the 48 to Rundle station, and as I was going up the ramp, there was a person with a sign saying that they were homeless. I usually don’t give homeless people change ‘cause some of them – not all of them- have drug addictions and I don’t want to give them money for that. But usually, I like to buy them food. And so, I went to Sunridge mall and I bought Subway. I had never ordered from Subway before so it was really awkward and I had no idea what the different types of bread were, but yeah, it was probably a really bad sandwich, if I think about it. I didn’t know what to put on it.
Then I gave it to him and I asked him what his name was, and he said ‘David.’ I think it’s important when you have an interaction with someone that you ask them what their name is and, if it’s not awkward, tell them your name too. Like, there’s homeless people and you treat them like they are homeless, you don’t treat them like they’re people. And I just find it annoying because you don’t know what happened to that person that put them in that situation and they are just as human as us.
It’s one of those things about judging people, you just don’t know. Like sometimes, you just have to accept that you don’t know. I would rather look at the homeless person and not know if they got there out of their own bad behaviour or if there was some misfortune. If I don’t know that information, then it shouldn’t affect how I treat them. “
What is the nicest thing someone has done for you?
“So, you know that I moved here from Toronto right? I moved here the summer before grade 9. So in grade 8, we were going on a band trip, ’cause I was in band, to Canada’s wonderland. We had a band trip and I think it costed thirty-five dollars or something around there… It was thirty-five dollars, I remember.
So, there are multiple parts to this story. This band trip was at the end of the year and it was to Canada’s Wonderland. I asked my dad for money, my dad’s not the type to carry a lot of change, so he just gave me forty dollars and told me to ask the teacher for change for five dollars back. Like, ‘k, cool,’ but I made the mistake of trying to give the teacher money in the morning right before classes started because she was in a rush. I went to give her the money and she said ‘hold on, give it to me later.’
So I tucked it into my agenda and then later on in science class, I left it in my desk. I accidently left it there. I have a really bad habit of losing and forgetting things. And after lunch time, we had band, and I was like,‘where is my agenda?’ And then this girl, who was in the class after mine, told me that some kid found my agenda in my desk and the money inside and said that they would burn the agenda. I never got the money or my agenda back. Anyways, I was really sad because I was like,‘I can’t go on the trip and I’m graduating.’
Then, my best friend, she wasn’t rich or anything, somehow managed to scrape up sixteen dollars in change for me. I’m not too sure how, but I think she might’ve asked her parents. I actually don’t know. I never asked, but she insisted on giving me the money even though I was like ‘it’s okay, I don’t have to go on the trip.’ It might seem kind of like a minor thing, but it’s a big deal when you’re in grade 8, and you don’t have a job or anything like that and a friend, whose family is on low income, is giving you money. She’s my best friend actually. Today’s her birthday.”