The Kick

A curious event occurs during the interaction of a mother giraffe and her baby. Within an hour after being born, the calf attempts to stand up. While this may be a signal for us to call our relatives and tell them how Jr. can walk, the mother giraffe bluntly delivers a kick to her calf, causing him to fall. The next attempts will also be met by a cold kick. If the calf gives up, the mother giraffe will keep goading him to stand… by continuing the onslaught of kicks.

Why do this? We can appreciate that the mother’s reason for this is to train her calf to be able to stand up and flee from danger. Living in an environment that harbors predators around every other corner, the mother giraffe teaches her calf to live, by teaching him a lesson on life – you get kicked, you stand, no matter what.

My father lived during a time when all the comforts of technology were confined to the pen, the paper, and if you’re lucky, the typewriter. He finished law school and sweeped my mother off her feet without the use of fancy text messages or cheesy email cards. What I’m saying is that my father is a man, in the purest sense of the word. I can see from his callused hands how he’s been taught the lessons of life, and the only complaint I’ve heard he has uttered is his inability to use technology, but there’s another time for those stories.

They say that misery loves company. For a while, it’s good to be miserable – we all need to blow out steam once in a while. The problem is when we’re blowing too much steam that it fogs our judgment of the true issue at hand – the source, the cause, the problem. I’ve fallen for this trap so many times, and had I learnt to be a man like my father, those problems were just child’s play.

I talk to my parents about how hard Med school is. They offer me a listening ear, and I let my problems out. But after doing so, my Mom would give me the kick.

The kick. It’s not really a painful admonition of my moment of weakness, but rather, a challenge for me to overcome. Mama’s kick would usually be: “So, what are you going to do about it?” At that instant, my emotional self would shut up and let my thinking self take control.

“So, what are YOU going to DO about IT?” Read that phrase again. And again. Heck, read it again.

This question is what spurs me to do my best everyday. With this question, I am reminded that I own my problem, and that I have the capability to handle it. No longer am I with my parents for much of my time. I live by myself in an apartment near my school. Living alone has given me much freedom – yet it has given me much responsibility. The responsibility that I hold dearest is the trust I’ve been given by my family. In my youth, I’ve had access to the kick 24/7, since my parents have always been there. The physical distance that separates us has deprived me of this, and now I find that I’ve forgotten to get the kick every once in a while.

In my moment of weakness right now, here I am, saying to myself, my reader: “So, what are YOU going to DO about IT?”

To the young men and women out there, give yourselves the kick. We are our own parents now. The world doesn’t owe us money, looks, or fame. We are not privileged princes and princesses that are exempt from the pain and suffering of the world. It is us who owe the world a share of our fight, our strength, and our intellect.

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