Janil Caba: Chinese Children At Play

Something I really appreciate about Chengdu, or China in itself, is the fact the every time I go outside I see children playing. This is not a common site to see back at home in America.  I didn’t realize how consumed the American children were by current technology. It is becoming apparent that children would much rather watch cartoons on an iPad than going outside to play with a ball or with anything that surrounds them.  Parents would rather hand their children things like new electronics so that they aren’t bothered with having to actually play outside with a ball.  This teaches their children to become closed-minded about everything they come across; little do they know that this will eventually affect them.

I was excited to witness these few children playing with the tadpoles that were currently trying to develop for the spring.  While a few went to catch the tadpoles with their nets, there was another group of them surrounding a container filled with water, tadpoles, and two baby lobsters.  What really got to me was when one of them pulled out a crawfish from the container and was carrying it by its antenna.  Most children would cry at the sight of a creature, especially coming from the small stream of water which appeared to be very dirty.

Every day, I see the same groups of kids playing in a section of dirt. I believe they are brother and sister because they are always together. It seems as though whoever their caretaker is must own a small noodle shop or restaurant of some sort because the kids are alone every time I see them. I’ve noticed that there is a huge difference in the character of the children. Most times, I approach the Chinese children because they are intensively staring at me. I’ve asked many locals why it is that the children, and even sometimes the adults, stare at me so much. After doing some research, I discovered that everyone is just curious. Once I actually sat down with a few locals. I realize that they just wanted to know why I was interested in China. The most common questions the children ask me are where I come from, my name, my age, and usually their English is not advanced enough to ask more than that. The questions that I typically ask them are questions relating to their age, school, and what they are currently learning.

When returning to America I plan to shed this knowledge and experience among my family and friends. I see a lot of the lazy and traditional American traits within them, and I would really like them to expand their horizon when it comes to hobbies. Before coming to China, I also found myself glued to my phone so often that my surroundings became blurry. Currently, I am easily able to go out and enjoy a nice game of badminton or soccer with the locals. The kids are always willing to play with me, and I find that to be such a beautiful thing.

Until next week,

Janil

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