“Excuse me, teacher. Now how do I tell my fortune?”
Today I made fortune tellers with Korean children. You remember these. They are paper, they open and close, you have to count. The precocious one to my left wanted to know if this was the only activity. He thought it would take, maybe, ten minutes. Then he wanted to know if he could put in bad fortunes. I said “how bad?” He said “Poor. Die easy.” I said to make at least half of them good, hoping that a counselor would not be told later that he would die early and want to know who exactly thought that was ok.
An older kid drew people that looked like marshmallows, three quarters of which had bad fortunes; the one who was poor had leaves blowing around him. Another was lonely. I asked him if he was a pessimist, explained that a pessimist expects bad things to happen. He said that, no, he was not a pessimist. But he understood that pessimist and optimist are opposites.