It’s the month of March and it signals the end of schooling in all Philippine schools.
My son, Reinel, is one of the rejoicing students especially that he successfully completed Junior High School in Riyadh.
Now that he is facing to a higher level of challenges in Senior High School, I could not avoid reminiscing our learning journey as a family since he was in Kindergarten till Grade 10 level.
I must admit, it was not filled with pure wins. There were lots of frustrations. However, the missteps done transformed me and my husband to be appreciative of the most common things ignored by many parents.
1. Appreciate every effort your child exerts to complete the task.
“As long as you give your best… that matters most.” This is the most common reminder we usually say to Reinel before he takes up any test or does any project at school.
As his parents, we believe that test results are reflection of the amount of knowledge gained by the student. However, numbers will not define what our child will be in the future.
Parents must realize that there are other determinants for the child to become a successful individual.
Recognizing the child’s effort in accomplishing a certain task is very essential. A simple affirmation from parents gives a remarkable effect to boost the child’s confidence whether the target outcome is achieved or not. It also gives the child the strength to easily overcome failures along the way.
2. Appreciate the small steps done by your child in achieving goals.
Learning numbers is the most challenging subject for Reinel. Every time we receive his card, we look first for his Math grade.
I couldn’t remember how many times we asked him “Why did you fail?”, whenever he gives his test papers. He would always give us the same answer, “Nag-aral po naman ako.”
I got tired of acting like an attorney who kept interrogating my child for his poor Math result.
Then suddenly I realized…. instead of asking questions, it’s better to change the scene.
I chose to become a script writer than to be a lawyer.
I changed the flow of our dialogue.
Reinel: “Mommy, here’s my card.”
Me: “Well, Ok naman anak ang grades mo. Kaya lang yung Math ipasa mo sana kahit 75.”
Reinel: “Sige po.”
Me: “Bili tayo ng Dunkin Donuts dahil maganda ang grades mo liban sa Math.”
Reinel: “ Mommy, here’s my card.”
Me: “ Aba, 75 na! Good job anak. Sabi ko na nga ba kaya mo eh. So next time pag igihan mo pa. Yung wala ng ‘palakol’ para magandang tignan ang card mo.”
Reinel: “Ok po.”
Me: “At dahil pasado na ang Math mo, bibili kita ng favorite mong mushroom burger sa Burger King.”
Then another level…
Reinel: “Mommy, here’s my card.”
Me: “OMG, You did it! Wala ng palakol sa card mo! I told you kaya mo! At dahil nakaya mo, you can maintain it. Hindi na ako nakakaramdam ng hilo dahil balanse na ang tinggin ko sa card mo…pantay na silang lahat.”
This was the humor of our conversations a few years ago.
It was not smooth right away. There were inconsistencies as well.
By focusing more on his effort and recognizing every small accomplishment, he has become motivated to improve his study habit. This kind of approach encourages him also to develop the virtue of patience and gratitude.
3. Appreciate your child’s uniqueness.
Comparing your child’s ability to anybody else’s is a big NO, NO.
It used to be a major issue between me and my husband. It took some time before my spouse realized that comparison gives more harm than good effect to their relationship.
Despite his good intention of motivating our child to improve his studies, that strategy did not work at all.
Every child is unique.
So instead, my husband exposed our son to some activities that would help him discover his other talents and capabilities. We became lenient in providing the materials that he needed to improve his skills.
Eventually, we saw our child’s other strengths.
We no longer focus on his Math grade. Rather, we strongly encourage him to learn more about money savings, investing and entrepreneurship as far as numbers are concerned.
4. Appreciate the failures.
Reinel committed mistakes not just once but several times.
And he will continue to make one.
Many times, we ranted every time he fails.
We used to think, it was our right as parents. We thought that it was the best way for him to understand our message.
Every time we response inappropriately, we fail too being his parents.
It is not easy to be listeners without becoming emotional during moments of inadequacy.
Being consistent remains a challenge.
But only through listening, we are able to identify the exact picture of the situation and factors that cause his mistakes. With proper communication, we are able to exchange comfortably our views and convey each others’ messages.
Developing a different perspective on failures has improved our listening skill. We take advantage of them to teach our child how to handle difficult situations he encounters at school.
5. Appreciate the time spent to guide your child throughout his learning journey.
Having quality time with your children is a privilege. Not all parents have the same opportunity to be actively involved with their children’s school affair. This is the sad truth that many Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) parents who are away from their family are undergoing.
Since school is a big contributory factor in molding the child’s character, it is important for parents to monitor how the child manages himself in the midst of unpleasant situation. Parents should help their child filter the information and experiences he embraces there.
At school, the child also learns to know his sense of individuality. Take advantage to appreciate his likes, dislikes, style, goals and simple things that make your child real happy.
Our child’s preferences may not always be agreeable to us. We understand that he defines happiness differently. The best thing we can do is to show examples that will influence him to have good choices in life and to support whatever path he chooses.
Time will come that our child will finish schooling.
From that point, he will soon design his own life the way he wants it to be.
Eventually, our parental guidance will be less solicited.
So let’s enjoy the moments of their learning….in good and bad times.
Our success as parents is not limited to the grades our child gets from school.
The real success should depend on the child’s strong virtuous character to surpass life’s trials with joy and the ability of the parents to give their utmost time, support, acceptance and forgiveness especially during time of adversities.
Congratulations to the first batch of Senior High School in the Philippines.