Ruffled hair, tattered shirt, equipped with nothing but a crowbar, Ron-ron treks the offending threshold of Smokey Mountain as early as the crack of dawn, searching for good trash just so he can earn for he and his family, a day's meal. His family though, doesn't seem to be quite as helpful. His father, a jobless old loon, seemed to have bestowed upon his son the role of "breadwinner" long ago. And seeing that his mother ain't what she used to be, Ron-ron was forced to carry the burden upon himself and completely forget his childhood dreams. Having interviewed this remarkable young lad, who was forced to become a parent at a wee age of eleven, made me ask myself, "What have I been doing all my life?" Here I am, studying at one of the most prestigious schools in the country, having almost all the things a teenager like myself, would want, and still not contented with my life. Having been asked about his hopes and dreams, Ron-ron meekly answered, putting down his crowbar, "None... but I do have one for my family...

". He paused for a while then smiled, "I hope for the day when my family would rise from poverty and be able to eat three times a day... I also wish that my dad would stop gambling the money I earn and start looking for a job so that we could buy the medicine that mom needs and that she could get well again". At the sight of that boy's eyes, full of hope and innocence, his words pierced right through me and threw me at the verge of realization. How shallow are his hopes and dreams!

How selfless are his views in life! And then it hit me hard, aren't these the very same dreams, hopes and views that are of the utmost importance? Poverty destroys the BODY but not the SPIRIT. When did I become so foolish as to be blinded by these false hopes, and lust over material possessions?

How I yearned for that day to come, when I could appreciate the simple rustling of the leaves in the wind, the warm sunlight touching my skin through the shade of a tree, and the soothing sounds of crickets when it rains. As a child, I remember having the same appreciation of life, full of innocence, and not corrupted by the tests of time. How I wish I could think and dream like this child who, even under these situations still manages to see life in a good way. After bidding goodbye to the boy, it was already dark, Ron-ron quickly returned home, holding in his hand his family's dinner. I was deeply touched by the sight of the boy, smilingly giving everything that he had worked for, to people who wouldn't even take care of him. But after talking to him, my whole life flashed before my eyes and I immediately formed a whole new outlook in life.

This child, who was six years younger than me, taught me to look out for the simpler things in life and cherish them. And with that, I will live my life with happiness and contentment.