“But What Do Australians Look Like?”: An Excerpt From Janusz Korczak’s How To Love A Child, Part 2.

This post concludes the conversation between the boy “troublemaker” and his girl guardian.

G:  You did the correct thing by writing to me.  We’ll talk and I’ll offer you advice.  But don’t get upset if I speak frankly.

S:  I have improved…, and I try very hard, but why can’t I go out more often?  All the others go out once a week, but I can only go once every two weeks.  I’m just like everyone else, so why should they get a better deal?  My grandma asked me to come over every week, and I’m ashamed to tell her I can’t.

G:  You know very well why you can’t go out . I’ll ask for you, but I doubt it will do any good.

S:  I know I was trouble before and was thrown out of school.  But now I want to go to school. I know thirty-five countries and I have a travel book.  A real book!  I really want a box!  Please give me an answer.

G:  I’ll try to find a box and give it to you.  Could you tell me what you want the box for ?

S:  I really need the box, because I’ve got a lot of things:  letters, and books, my notebook, and other stuff.  I’ll put everything down in my notebook:  my worries, anything I do that’s bad, what I’m thinking.  I’ve got plenty of interesting things to write.

The boy was nine, and his girl guardian, twelve!

But What Do Australians Look Like?: An Excerpt From Janusz Korczak’s How To Love A Child, Part 1.

,In the Children’s Home, students who caused trouble were often assigned guardians to watch over the students progress.  Writing letters was encouraged, and Korczak himself sometimes read such correspondence.  Indeed, he made it clear that he didn’t want children to interrupt his work, and he had a short temper, which he always regretted.  What follows below is an abridged version of an exchange between a girl-guardian and her assigned boy student.

S:  “I love Hela a lot, but I’m not going to marry a girl from the Children’s Home.”

G:  “Hela also likes you, but not a lot, because you’re a trouble maker.  Why don’t you want to marry a girl from our Home?”

S:  “I don’t want want one from here, because I’d be ashamed.  Tell me, please.  Should I get married to Dora, Hela, or Mania?

G:  “Dora thinks you’re a twit.  Mania doesn’t want you, and Hela burst out laughing.

S:  “Now I’ll be ashamed to approach them.  Please tell me where I should sit, so I’ll behave better, and write me a long story.  And please don’t show my notes to anybody.  But I really want to know what Australians look like.  What do they look like?

G:  “If they aren’t ashamed, why should you be?  If they want you, you can sit at the third table.  I ‘ll try to show you a picture of an Australian and I won’t show your notes to anybody.”

S:  “Please give me advice, because something is really bothering me.  I’m worried, because during the lesson I think about doing something bad.  But I’m afraid to do what’s bad(to steal), and I don’t want to upset anyone.  I’ll try hard not to think about it and think about voyages.  Good night.”