This is the cartoon that planted the seed in 2004 for my future PhD research and it is the root of the idea really – i.e. the importance of finding the funny to lighten life for yourself and for others.
At the time, I was teaching in Japan and failing to manage a class of young children, which resulted in sleepless nights, circular thinking, and exhaustion. I called them the ‘kids on speed’ because they were so excited they were impossible to control. Interestingly, the solution did not come from strategic thinking or consulting books on teaching methods, but from drawing this comic. It helped me to notice the humour in the situation and to see the children as filled with incredible energy and enthusiasm. Drawing the comic shifted my thinking, so that the next time I walked into the classroom I was able to see the humour, to enjoy the energy of the children, and to begin experimenting with new ways to successfully channel this energy. This became one of my favourite classes and this is probably my favourite cartoon. It is only the second one I drew, but it makes me smile when I remember these kids – chilled Anju, tiny smiley Masatoshi, hyperactive Riichi, and confused Yusuke. These lovely kids!! Thank you.