Do you believe in fortune cookie wisdom? Being into all things yin and yang, it’s not surprising that I do. Actually what I believe in is wisdom that runs much deeper than intelligence and learning, that it is full of insight and knowing and is earned through experience.
So last Friday for Harmony Day, Mr Yang and I braved a classroom of prep school students (specifically Little Yang’s class) to make dumplings, along with sang choy bau (well I made it beforehand but we assembled and ate it there). We finished off lunch with fortune cookies. We brought in a whole lot of Chinese stuff (maybe not the right word for cultural items) and Little Yang proudly showed off his heritage to his class. We’d arranged to bring in chopsticks and the teachers organised a ‘picking up things with chopsticks’ activity, as well as other activities to keep the kids amused in between dumpling-making with me, and Chinese stamping with Mr Yang.
It looked a bit like this (well this is the sanitised, no-other-kids-in-the-picture version), and was a lot of fun. Believe me, your admiration for what teachers do every day soars!
But back to the fortune cookies – we brought three boxes and had left-overs, but not enough to go around. So we came home with a 2/3 box full – the kids proceeded to eat the remaining cookies and perhaps feel fortunate. Meanwhile I collected the words of wisdom.
A good fortune may forebode a bad luck which may in turn disguise a good fortuneMr Fortune Cookie
Oh, I like that one. Very yin, yang and yin again. Or yang, yin and yang again. Whatever.
I like this fortune even more because it was hidden in two cookies. Double luck. I’ll take that.
Other fortunes revealed included:
Mrs Fortune Cookie
- Worry pulls tomorrow’s cloud over today’s sunshine
- One should cherish opportunities and work with joy
- This is a great day to handle those real estate matters (not so sure about that one)
- You are progressing at the right speed
I called to mind that last one when we returned to school at 3.15pm – as the kid’s went off to the disco while we had a parent-teacher interview with Little Yang’s teacher.
We were surprised. Having arranged a referral to a speech therapist, we were already aware of the assistance he’ll need with his speech (we’d flagged an issue last year but hoped he’d mature into being clearer with some sounds. IMHO his vocabulary is good but he still mis-pronounces some sounds and his sentence structure could be better at times). What we weren’t expecting was the assessment that although he’s enthusiastic to learn, Little Yang appears to have delayed learning.
But he’s our little smart and perceptive guy. Our budding engineer who the morning after brings me the small screwdriver case to open up for him, so he can fix his glowing, spinning disco fan that is broken already. He’s a savvy little man who problem-solves his way out of punishment and somehow even engineers extra treats.
Now I’m trying not to worry, but Little Mr Perceptive (aka Little Yang) asks me what’s wrong when he spies me looking at him quizzically, wondering what the future holds, aching to protect him from it.
Thoughts about his background – how we don’t know what his nutrition was like in the womb but we do know that he was born small; how we don’t know how much stimulation he had for the first (almost) nine months of his life but we do know that he was stuck in the orphanage we visited, which looked good, but who knows? How we do know about cognitive issues in children whose brain isn’t able to develop to meet required milestones as babies. How we wish he’d had a foster mother like Miss Yin had. How we can’t change the lottery of genetics and circumstances that gave him his start in life.
Have we done the best by him since adoption? Great, big, ugly, guilty thoughts of how we might have been able to pick things up earlier (even though he has met all his major milestones), how we could have/should have read to him more (he’s always been less interested than his sister), how we’ve emphasised socialisation and play over ABC’s in pre-school, how perhaps we haven’t been proactive enough, choosing to believe in the best rather than anticipate the worst.
Rational thoughts about how I’m maybe just being a a little bit hysterical and that I need to let time take its course, being vigilant along the way (Little Yang has only just turned 5 after all).
And then reassuring thoughts about how personality outsmarts intelligence at school (research has proven it), how wisdom doesn’t come out of a textbook any more than it comes out of a fortune cookie, how we each learn at our own pace, according to our own interests, so we can live our own lives (how Miss Yin learns to dance so easily, yet often struggles to understand the patterns in maths – me too, and I can’t dance!).
How if I’m really wise I’ll learn patience and persistence, and if I put them together with love, Little Yang will be just fine.
I know he’ll be fine. The getting of wisdom can be hard though – a sage point no doubt contained within a fortune cookie somewhere.
I’ll just have to try harder.
What do you think makes someone smart, wise? Do you believe in fortune cookie wisdom? Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT and Grace for FYBF. And joining in the Weekend link-up with Sonia, Kelly, Bron and Sonia Styling.