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Kids Rule in Romania

de (6-6-2010)
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On June 1st of each year, having been instituted in the 1920’s back in Turkey, children are celebrated not for their Nobel Prize-winning work or for their skills as „movers and shakers” with Swiss bank accounts,but just because they are under three feet tall, not yet able to drive a car and always cuter than anyone else around them over sixteen years of age.
Today, we had a grand celebration with grades K-4 indoors and out complete with decorations, balloons, candies, a costume parade, poetry readings, choral springtime children’s songs and a two-step combined with the dansul penguinului off and on for the whole of the day.  Not much happened in the homework department since the kids here, as in many other European countries today, were the stars of the show.  They were beaming like little shooting stars and it showed.
In Romania, I was first clued in to the phenomenon of children who are mini-celebrities while stumbling upon a Youtube video of Cleopatra Statan back when I was preparing to leave the US last summer.  I was mesmerized. In case you haven’t heard, she’s the sweetie who dresses up like a 1950’s Kim Novak looking akin to a part in a scene from Grease on Broadway.  She travels around town and threatens to disappear on the first train „out of Dodge”.  Clicking her kicky patent leather Mary Janes that glint in the sweltering sun, she totes an oversized valise while her polka-dot kerchief flaps in the wind, her sunglasses look like movie star clown shades, and she berates in tune the guy who was not cool enough for her to wait for him-EVER.  Great stuff…amusing, entertaining and in some ways it sounds so familiar.  But I digress.
Along with that, my second most pressing clue was that every store and every kid I saw walking past one with a private chauffeur (their parent, granny or other accompanying adult), had a stroller-like, tricycle type contraption that looked more like a colorful plastic substitute for an actual blue elephant, green frog, pink poodle, yellow giraffe, purple monkey or any one of countless other pretty neat animal transportation devices.  All the children under three have one, or so it seems, and every place that you find them for sale, there are also tons of other fun, „happy-place”, „please-buy-me or else I will take a tantrum” items for the little tikes in town.  And candy, there’s candy for this and candy for that and candy for when you aren’t old enough to know that candy can sometimes make you fat!
Sounds like the children here are doing all right for themselves.  They’ve stepped up quite a bit from the days of communism and they love it.  Its obvious their parents do, too. 
And, in addition to that, all of the children in my classes in the village have a great sense of what nature and animals do to enrich their surroundings.  As a teacher, I see it in their artwork.  In some countries, as I can attest to, the children’s feelings which may correspond to their own sense of self-worth will usually manifest obviously in the artwork that they produce whether it be through line, color or texture.  If a child feels dark inside in some way, he or she usually draws, paints or makes something which stands out to be not so pretty, shiny or comforting. But, here in my classrooms, the children, regardless of their situations, all seem to continue to imagine and demonstrate a much warmer world than some of them might be living in.  The artwork is full of palette.  There is softness, positivity, and energy in what they make in class.  The children here also so love to sing, dance, and really go all out to show their stuff any time they have a chance with traditional costumes, fancy or unusual dress, and anything and everything that will make them sparkle and stand out when a party or a holiday is here.
As one lucky Peace Corps volunteer, once again I was able to share in the beautiful cheeriness of the children (my students all of them from kindergarten to grade eight) in this corner of the world.  They entertained all of us adults, they made us smile again and again, and they really warmed our hearts to know that they were truly having a blast traipsing around in their best dresses and character outfits.  I couldn’t help but be transported back in time to the days when it was okay to wear striped socks with a big bow in my hair and to laugh a silly laugh even though there was nothing that the adults could do about it.
It’s time that the rest of the world appreciates it’s children and every one who has children remembers what it might be like…what it could be like if we all just let our hair down (or up as the individual case may be with glittery butterflies stuck in it).  Do you remember or can you imagine a day without them, the little ones.  I can’t.  And so when they want to stick that gum-filled lollipop on your new St. John suit or they ask for ANOTHER ice cream even though it’s their second after the cotton candy and the gooey Skittles have gotten stuck in the grooves of your BMW leather back seat—let’em go for broke.  It’s only once, it’s only fair, and it’s only for the children in the end now, isn’t it?

Natalie Montanaro, M.Ed.
US Peace Corps
Sat. Brusturoasa
Jud. Bacau


  • John: (23-6-2010 la 17:54)

    Cool, Natalie!

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Citește articolul precedent:
Lansare de carte: Andrei Oișteanu, „Narcotice în cultura română”

"Narcotice în cultura română" de Andrei Oișteanu O carte halucinantă despre halucinogene.