While organizing my office, I watched a French documentary on Netflix called On the Way to School. I expected this film to occupy me a little while I multitasked. I did not expect it to capture my attention more closely than a suspense movie.
On the Way to School is the story of how children in different parts of the world, who live in remote villages, get to school. Jackson and his young sister live in Kenya and walk ten miles a day each way to get to their school. They have to beware of the wild animals in their path. Carlito and his younger sister ride their horse more than eleven miles each way across the plains of Argentina. Zahira and her friends live in the Moroccan Atlas Mountains and their journey, partially on foot and partially hitchhiking, takes four hours to get to their boarding school. In India, two brothers have to push their brother Samuel, who’s in a wheelchair, 2.5 miles each way to get to school.
These children not only go to school, but they also help around the house. They did not complain, analyze or compare their situation to anyone else’s. They did what they had to do and learned a great deal in the process. They had an attitude of gratitude and a type of understanding that parents hinder their children from having when they baby them too much.
When I finished watching this documentary, I told my children they had to help me clean the house. I handed out a list of tasks and I stopped feeling bad about telling them to make their own sandwiches, grab their own drinks and potato chip bags. Since I watched the movie, each time an inner complain wiggles itself inside my head, I think of them. I think of their dedication and perseverance and I switch my complaints to an attitude of gratitude.
That’s what good movies are all about. They make you visit other peoples’ lives, learn something new, gain a different perspective, and maybe, hopefully, make a change.