A young man in Kiev, Ukraine sits watching a video (see below). Andrei has been shown the video unexpectedly and asked to write his feelings about it immediately after watching it. Andrei is in his first year of what is called the “Harvard” of Ukraine and is getting excellent grades. He is watching a video about a boy named Amar. Amar lives 2850 miles (4575 kilometers) away in New Delhi, India. Amar is only 14-years-old and is also in the top of his class at school. When Andrei finishes watching the film, he stuns us by not writing about Amar but, instead, “turns the camera” on his world—writing with incredible insight and candor. § Andrei’s native languages are Russian and Ukrainian. He is now virtually fluent in English as well, and truly one of our “harvest” students who uses his talents so thoughtfully and well.
I feel such respect for people who understand the value of time and opportunity. They are becoming rarer and rarer in modern society where so many children are born into almost perfect conditions. They don’t need to do a thing in order to have a high quality of life. They get everything they need by doing nothing. There is no motivation for them to work, to change something in their lives, because they have, or will have, everything they want. It is a massive problem today—and all because of the lower attitude of too many parents toward their kids. People are raising their children less and less. Now computers and telephones raise them.
It is natural for people to want to give the best they can to their child, but there must be a limit. Young parents give their children everything they want and never ask for something in return. Children get used to that and understand that they can get anything they want by just asking. They do not need to do more than ask. They do not value the things they already have because they can’t understand what “value” means. They only know constant stimulation.
Then you have children who are not raised in wealthy countries. They know the price of bread, water, and even the blanket they are sleeping on. They can have these things only one way: from hard work. They understand that they must work hard for their future and so they value things and care about them. From the youngest age they understand the law of life: to get something, you must give something.
People are not bad people, but they no longer have time for people. Today we grow up with machines which, though we don’t think about it, exist to send us ads—ads for a life that is actually meaningless. We all know about the spam that fills our computers, but there is also a spam of the mind. At some point our sense of values crashes, just like computers crash. Life spent on a computer is a fake experience.
This boy knows things others will never know. —Andrei