There are two groups of children I usually see or hear every single day without fail. One’s a group of pint size kids, probably age 7 or below, who’ve made it a daily habit to call on us to ask for some sweet pomelos from our tree or at our neighbor for tambis (a.k.a. makopa or water apple). The other group’s a bit older by about 2 or 3 years. They’re like my alarm clocks in the mornings as they ply the streets selling hot pandesal with voices loud enough to wake the whole village.The same voices and faces would later come back in the afternoon with different offerings of freshly baked breads.
While I appreciate the honesty of the first group by asking (read: begging) for fruits from house to house instead of stealing like many kids we’ve frequently seen and caught, I can’t help but feel that there’s a downside in all these daily “asking” routines. It sort of puts a certain amount of pressure on us, somehow making us feel like the Grinch every time we have to say no.
I just don’t see how giving them something everyday would help in the long run. Besides, it’s not everyday that our pomelo tree bears fruit. Some of the fruits don’t even get to ripen up before they get stolen. And yet every single day we get a visit from the first group.
So there are basically two groups of young kids we hardly miss in our neighborhood. One goes around begging for extra food while the other tirelessly roams the streets trying to make earnings for extra food.
I find myself admiring the grit of the latter group. For I haven’t even been through the same experience despite the times of hardships I’ve had when I was a kid. I surely hope that someday what those pandesal and star bread kids are planting in their lives right now would bear fruit. Because I truly believe that they have what it takes to change their lot in life.