Saturday, June 16, 2018

How School Experiences shaped my Life

John Dewey,famous American philosopher, psychologist and educational reformer, once said: “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”

I believe that's true. Education goes far beyond tests, books, and school activities. It's how we embrace life.

Thinking back on my school experiences made me realize that everything I went through helped me become who I am today, influenced the choices I made and helped me decide the kind of life that I would like to have.

Keeping the faith

My parents enrolled me in a private school from kindergarten to highschool even though we didn’t have funds. But they had strong faith that our God provides.

My mother is a teacher and my father is an electronic technician. When I was young, my mother had to teach in three schools to keep me and my two other siblings in private school. As a teacher, my mother knew that a good education is a priority.

Since gradeschool, I've dreaded periodical exams. I wasn't scared to take the test and fail. I was worried we won't have money to pay for my monthly tuition fee. I've had years of experiences sitting beside the Cashier's office crying because I wasn't allowed to take the test. I couldn't blame the school. It was policy.

I should have been happy because I was given more time to review and study. But at that time, I just felt ashamed that I wasn't able to take the test together with my classmates.

I remember being angry at my parents. Whenever I asked them if they would be able to pay the tuition fee before the test, they would ask me to pray and ask God for help. I couldn't understand it then. But later on, I began to see and understand how God provides, how after a week I was able to take the test anyway. Since then, I believed that I have a prayer-answering God.

It may not be the answer or timing I was hoping for. But it's enough for me to know that He's listening and in His time, He'll answer.

You don't have to be rich to become an achiever

Attending a private school means being around rich kids. I remember being jealous of whatever my classmates have that I didn't. I was jealous I didn't have the pencil case that had lots of buttons to push and drawers to put things in. I was jealous I didn't have a beeper or braces. But eventually, I began to accept what I have and what I did not have.

Being a daughter of a teacher means I was expected to excel. And that's where my mom and I focused on. During summer vacation, she would have me and my siblings read our school books in advance. She'd also prepare reviewers for us to help us during the exams. At home, we're made to choose between helping with house chores or reading books. But when we got older, my parents ensured that we also help around the house.

I was usually an honor student, especially in grade school. I joined school contests, directed class plays and I was often part of the class officers. I never let our lack of money or material things get in the way of excelling in school.

Keep trying even when you fail

I joined our school's declamation contest from Grade 3 until high school. I won only once and I was in third place. The experience helped train me to become persistent, to fail forward, to keep trying even if I keep losing. More importantly, it trained me not to be scared to lose.

That mindset helped me when I was looking for a job. I wasn't hired in the companies I was interested in. Of course, I was devastated at one point. But I did not quit trying. 

At one time, there was a company I wanted to apply to in Ortigas. Instead of just going to that one company, I brought extra resumes and applied to other nearby companies.

My mother told me that applying to companies I'm not interested in will help me prepare for the firm I'd like to work for. In the end, I got confident during interviews and exams until I was hired.

Embrace independence

When I applied in UP, I placed UP Baguio as my second campus. I just thought it would be worth trying since most applicants from Manila would most likely choose nearby campuses. I was surprised when I found out that I passed in UP Baguio. I knew God has a plan.

On June 12, 1998, my family drove me to Baguio. It was my first time to be on my own for that long and I didn't know anyone there. Because of that experience, I learned how to become independent. And it prepared me for my 7 years work in Brunei.

School of Life

I've spent 16 years in formal school but I will enjoy every single day knowing that the school of life has exciting and amazing learning experiences prepared for me. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

To parents who bring their kids to the playground

I am thankful I have a job that allows me to leave the office at 5:00pm so I can have time to bring my toddler to the playground. No, my job is not easy. In fact, it's very challenging; but, it gives me flexibility so I can spend quality time with my son.

I've been bringing my kid to the playground for two years now and I've observed a lot of things happen there especially on how parents and kids interact with each other. I've learned valuable lessons too.

Here's my unsolicited pieces of advice to parents who bring their kids to the playground and a reminder to myself as well:

1. When we're at the playground with our kids, let's be totally involved in being there with them. Unless we're taking videos or photos of our kids (which we also need to limit so we'll have more enjoyable time with them), let's put down our phones. Please.

2. Play with them! Having a toddler is having the greatest opportunity to be a kid again and to be better at it! Pretend you're a pirate who is waiting to capture them down the slide or a dragon who is running after them. Sure, you'll look stupid but who cares? To your kid, you're a rock star!

3. Praise them for their accomplishments. If they were able to enjoy the swing on their own (of course, ensure to provide support for younger kids or if it's their first time), or go down the slide with minimal supervision, appreciate them!

4. Challenge them to try new things. There are tube slides at the playground here at our place that are for older kids and whenever my son wants to try to slide down there, we used to tell him "no". But, there came a point when we know he can already tackle the slide so we challenged him to go for it. The result? He went up and down that same tube slide for about 20 minutes in one afternoon and he didn't even use the ladder/stairs! They need to know you are confident that they can handle new things.

5. Watch them carefully. In my recent article, I shared about my kid being bitten by an older child in a tube slide while they were there for less than a minute. So, we should be all eyes especially for toddlers who can't communicate yet if they're injured or if someone hurt them.

6. Communicate appropriately. It broke my heart one time to see a mom yelling at her 2-year-old kid for going somewhere dangerous. Yes, what the kid did was not acceptable but the public didn't need to hear all the yelling. When there's disobedience, let's talk to our kids privately and properly.

7. Teach them to make friends. Encourage them to talk to other kids or just say "hi" or play with them. Especially for toddlers who aren't schooling yet, the playground is the best place to socialize.

Kids grow up so fast so let's enjoy every play time we can spend with them.

Friday, July 17, 2015

When your kid is bitten by another child

My 2 years and 5 months old Quest was bitten by an older kid at the mall playground this evening. I was watching him closely as he played when I saw an older girl (about 7 years old) hold Quest's hand and pulled him inside the tube slide. I thought it was sweet that he has a sort of a big sister at the playground.

 After about a minute, I saw Quest come out of the tube slide crying in pain. I quickly hugged him and asked what was wrong. My mom suggested to check Quest for any injury and that's when we saw two bites on his right arm. It broke my heart. I asked the girl but she said it wasn't her fault and she didn't know about it. We even talked to the father but we were just told, "where's your proof that my kid did it?" I said his girl was the last person my son was with in the slide and he came out with two bites. My Mom still wanted to discuss with him but the moment the father asked for a proof, I knew it's not worth talking to him.

 To all parents who bring their kids to play dates or to the mall play ground, especially if your kids are toddlers, I suggest:

1. Watch them very closely and look in the tube slide or at every corner of the playground. Make sure you know what your toddler is doing and where he or she is all the time. We were confident that Quest can play along with older kids but we never thought of him getting bitten.

 2. Unless your taking pictures or videos of your kid at play, put down your phone. I wasn't using my phone when the bite happened.

3. Be strong for your kid. Pain is inevitable. And the moment they are in pain or injured, they need to know they can depend on you to assure them that there's nothing to worry about.

4. Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

Please view this link also for Babycenter's advice on Human Bites:

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Lessons on Marriage & Family Life that I learned from my Parents

  1. Make God the center of your relationship and involve your kids in the ministry;

2. Show your kids how sweet you are and say I love you as often as possible;

3. Agree on your prayers,dreams and visions for your family and treat your kids as teamplayers - not merely audience;

4. If you want your kids to be interested in music, reading, continuous learning, traveling, house chores or any other hobby/task, show them that you're interested on those too;

5. There is no perfect relationship; thus, it is a must to focus on what you love about each other and help each other become a better person;

Happy 34th Wedding Anniversary, Papa and Mama! We love you!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Quest at 3 months

I'm now 3 months old and God continues to bless me abundantly! Let's have a recap:

I began to say "ah-goo", "ah-woo" and I also love to smile.

On 5th April, we went to Nanay's office and her officemates adored me! Their clerk, Aizan, even tried to sing Twinkle, Twinkle, little star for me but I started to cry.

On 7th April, I attended church with Tatay for the first time. The room is comfortably cool so I was asleep during the entire service.

At 2 months and 9 days, on the evening of 11 April, I slept for 5 hours straight. And my Nanay had a great sleep!

I can already roll to one side at 2 months and a half.

Had my first visit at the park in a carrier then the second time, in a stroller, and I loved the feel of the wind on my face and the smell of fresh air. I cried though because I was not comfortable when I can't move freely.

Had my first bouncy seat, which I use during playtime, sing-a-long time and reading time.

I visited Tita Ruth's office and charmed the customers and even her boss. See, Ms. Zaiton is carrying me!

At 2 months and 23 days, I can already lie on my tummy on my own.

Tatay did these for me too!

Until next month! :)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Thank you, Lolo and Lola!

Please click on the play button for your reading pleasure.

Dear Lolo Jun and Lola Loida,

You left the comforts of your home just to help us out. 

You were so elated when we met at the hospital for the first time. Right then and there, I knew I was loved.

You took great care of me - washed and ironed my clothes, bathed me and cleaned me up whenever I pooped. You fed me, cleaned my bottles and rocked me to sleep, among other things.

You went to church with us even though we know that you miss CBC very badly.

We went out also and you even accompanied me and Nanay in applying for my birth certificate and passport at the Philippine Embassy. 

Each time you carry me in your arms, talk to me and give me kisses, I realize more that I am adored and well-loved. 

We also went to Billionth Barrel Monument, which is just near our house.

We went to the airport in March to pick up Tatay and I remember that you were as excited as I to see Tatay again!

We also had some trips at the park and around town.

You also accompanied us when we had to collect my passport.

We even did a side trip to Bukit Shahbandar where Nanay and Tatay used to hike.

On 4 May, we went to the airport after dropping by Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque for some photoshoot. And on our way there, I remember staring at your faces. I was trying to memorize them so everytime I start to miss you, I will just close my eyes and remember your smile and your love-filled stares at me.

I know we will see each other again very soon but while we're apart, you can rest assured that Tatay, Nanay & Tita Ruth will take good care of me. Thank you for your love, kindness and prayers. 

No need to say goodbye...

We love you, Lolo and Lola! We'll miss you very much!