Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Death to Dignity: Journey to Joy


If you want to work with kids, you can’t be uppity and dignified. If you jump into teaching, to death with dignity! But with that sacrifice comes great joy and freedom. This is my story.

It started way-back-when, I was a legalistic little kid; always doing the right thing, not for Jesus, but for myself. I grew out of play quickly because you can’t be silly and dignified at the same time. I loved having people guess my age because they always guessed me several years older than I actually was and that made me feel good. Like being mature in other people’s eyes was the bomb dot com.

Because I shed my childhood in an, I think, unnatural way, I lost what grown ups shouldn’t lose when they age: joy and freedom. My freedom because I was bound to act in a specific way to ensure others thought of me that way. And my joy because I don’t think fear of man allows for joy, love, and 
childlike wonder. So I gave up all of that to pursue dignity.

 Fast forward to early 2016. Coincidentally(I believe now in preparation for the latter half of the year), I read a few books that got me thinking about joy and my lack of it. One character in particular, Innocent Smith from Chesterton’s Manalive. Here was a chap who came to the conclusion that joy, childlike wonder, and enjoyment of life were worth their weight in gold and pursued them with gumption. I wanted that. This was about the same time I was considering Taiwan.

Coming to Taiwan, I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t really even like kids that much. The children’s camps I had taught were exhausting and difficult experienc-es. With some of my only teaching interactions being not-great memories, I prayed long and hard before I got the go ahead from the Lord to come to Taiwan.


So I came in August. And what the Lord began to teach me about joy early in the year, I have seen come to bloom. Yes, I lost my dignity and that was a little difficult at first, but I also learned something amazing. Kids. don’t. care. So, I decided not to either.

I didn’t expect to, but everyday I choose to lose what people think and begin to throw myself into every activity, use exaggerated gestures, and silly faces, I have so much fun and I don’t know where the time goes. Sometimes I think I even have more fun and laugh harder than any kid in the classroom.

If you come down with the particular malady of caring too much, I prescribe a large dose of kids. Death to put-on dignity and aspire to just be one of them. You might be surprised by joy.




~Carmen Copu

Carmen can be fairly well summed up in the acronym, “R.A.T.”. She is relational and loves doing things with friends, anything from long boarding to amazing conversations to a good ol’ game of two-on-two volleyball. Adventurous, both in activity and getting lost in the world of literature. And finally, a thinker in that she pursues knowledge with as much gumption as she loves food.