This is a story about a little boy with a big heart. And it’s a story that everyone should read.
The story is about Ivan, but ultimately, it isn’t just about him. It is, rather, about millions of other children like Ivan, living the same nightmare across the world today.
While this story of Ivan is fictional, its message hit me right in the chest. We must not ignore this issue. We must not forget Ivan.
My name is Ivan and I’m 7-years-old. I love my mom and dad, but I’m also very afraid of them. They often hit me and I don’t understand why.
This morning I woke up and went to school. I am a good student and my teacher likes me.
I like all my classmates, too, but I have no friends. That’s why I usually stay indoors during breaks. Nobody wants to play with me. I tried to make friends with the other children, but they rejected me and said I was disgusting.
They laugh at me because I wear the same worn-out jeans, t-shirt and torn shoes every day.
One day after school I went into the coat room and stole a jacket that was hanging there for a long time, nobody seemed to be missing it. Then I went home alone through the snowstorm. I was shivering with cold and it was hard to walk against the strong wind. Suddenly someone pushed me forward, I fell down in the snow and someone pressed my face into it. Then they said:
“No one likes you. Idiot!”
They kicked me in my back and in my stomach, then they ran away and left me in the cold snow.
I cried. Not because I was cold or injured, I cried because I did not have a single friend, even though I liked everyone else.
As soon as I got home, my mother ran over and grabbed me by the hair.
“Where have you been? Why are you so wet and dirty? Blasted child, no dinner for you, go to your room and stay there.”
I did as my mother told me, I went into my room and did not get out until the next day, although I was very hungry and freezing cold.
My grades got worse and worse, and every time dad was informed, he hit me hard. Once he hit me so hard that I could not move my index finger, I never got back the movement in my index finger and all the children laughed at me for it.
Time went by and one day I got a lot of pain in my chest.
Mom and dad did not care I was hurt. In the evening I lay in my bed and I only wanted one thing. I wish I would not hurt more, because I did not want to annoy Mom and Dad. I love them so much, I really do.
The next day at school we were tasked to paint our biggest dream. The other children painted cars, rockets and nice dolls. I did not.
Not because I don’t like those things, but because what I wished for most of all was a loving mom and dad. So I painted a family. One mom, one dad and their son. They played games and everyone was happy. As I painted, I cried silently. I would love to have a mom and dad who loved me.
When it was my turn to showcase my painting for the class, everyone laughed at me.
I stood in front of the class and explained:
“My biggest dream is a family”.
The laughs got louder. I began to cry and said,
“Please don’t laugh at me, this is my biggest dream! You can hit me, you can hate me, but I beg you, please don’t laugh at me.