I was scared to ask my mother to provide items I needed to create an ecosystem for my high school science project. We did not have a good mother-daughter relationship. I learned that asking could result in a verbal assault that bullied me into a shell. I learned to ask for “necessary” things. A school project was not necessary.
I decided to create a marine ecosystem without my mother’s help. I knew a kid at church. I knew he had an aquarium. I knew he liked me. I knew I could get a fish from him.
I asked him for a fish for my science project and he gave me one. I do not remember how I got the other items, but I completed my marine ecosystem, which was a small jar with the fish, algae and sand.
After the exhibition, all the kids took their projects. I was scared to take mine home. How would I explain it to my mother? I left it at school.
A few weeks later, my teacher called me and said, “What do you intend to do with your fish? It is growing. It needs a bigger place or else it will die.”
“It’s OK to leave it there,” I said
“I’ll put it in the school’s aquarium for you.”
I felt happy. I did not think a fish from me was good enough to go into the school’s aquarium. For a while, I visited the fish almost every day. I felt good about myself.
In retrospect, many people, like my teacher, have helped others to take the next step to keep going. My teacher’s deed stretched beyond the story of my fish. My teacher—consciously or subconsciously—gave me new life to be a better person than the one who was scared of her mother.
--This is Judith Kerr's story -- I interviewed her.
Image above taken from http://www.desktop-xp.com/free-aquarium-screensaver.html