Showing posts with label Teachable Moment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Teachable Moment. Show all posts

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Teachable Moment: Free Will

This morning, I posted this Mother's Day greeting on my Instagram account. I sincerely and truly love my life as a mom despite all the challenges that come with it.

A photo posted by SJ Valdez (@allaroundpinaymama) on

It is and never will it be easy to raise kids. The financial, psychological, spiritual, social, intellectual, and all the aspects that encompass motherhood can be insanely difficult but nonetheless doable. The situation that I have right now has never been taught by mom through words but I've seen and felt them through her actions. I've known what to expect but experience is still the best teacher. 

For me, being a mom is still the greatest and most perfect decision that I've made in my life.

Papa always say, "Mahirap talagang magpalaki ng tao." He always says this whenever our children do something in discord with the norms that we set as their parents. Like us, our children are not perfect. We also accept that children in this generation are way beyond different in their preferences. 

Despite teaching them good values, they may go astray then realize afterwards that they have done something inappropriate. For us, learning from mistakes and standing up right after stumbling down matters but learning from other people's mistakes is much better than the former. 

But committing mistakes is inevitable. That's why we have to teach our kids morals for them to be good people and they are going to do the same when they have families and kids of their own.

Sometimes our kids disobey. The perfect example that I'm going to share with you is the situation that has happened a while ago.

Papa asked Kuya to throw the garbage, one of the few of his household duties at home. Then he refused with an attitude! Papa became agitated and told him to go to his room. (One of our rules as parents is we never talk or reprimand our kids while we are angry.)

After a few minutes of cooling down, I called Kuya and told him that Papa and I wanted to talk to him. This was our conversation.

Papa: "Anak, why do you always refuse to throw the garbage. I don't ask you to do so much for the family. As Mama and I have told you before, you have rights as a child in the family but with every right comes responsibility."

I: "Anak, we already taught you all the things that we thought you needed to know as an individual. You are already big enough to discern between right and wrong. It's up to you to decide but we expect you to do the right things because it's for your own good and it serves as a practice for you so that you'd know what to teach your kids when you have your own family. When Papa and I were kids, we were obedient to our parents not because of fear but because of love. Sana, Anak, ganoon ka rin sa amin. But we want it to be natural. Hindi pilit."

Papa: "Sabi nila, kung ano ang puno, siyang bunga. Ang santol ay hindi mamumunga ng bayabas. Tama, 'di ba? Pero ang prutas ay hindi tao kaya hindi ako naniniwala sa kasabihang 'yan. MAY FREE WILL BA ANG SANTOL? Wala, hindi ba? ANG TAO AY BINIGYAN NG DIYOS NG FREE WILL PARA PAG-ISIPAN KUNG ANG KANYANG GINAGAWA AY TAMA O MALI. It's so unfair for others to say na kaya masama ang anak ng isang tao ay dahil masama ang kanyang mga magulang. Someday if someone will tell me that you are bad because of me and your Mama, I'll tell that person that it's so unfair for him or her to say that. Hindi kami masamang tao ng Mama mo. Hindi ka namin tinuturuang maging masamang anak."

I: "It's up to you, Anak, how you use your free will. But we hope and believe that you will use it to do good things. We love you, Anak. You are a good kid. Please don't forget that. "

Then Kuya began to cry. He was apologetic. We closed the conversation with this statement:

"We love you, Anak. We want what's best for you. We want you to be a good person and that goodness is something that you can pass on to others and to your future wife and kids." 

And it was sealed with a warm embrace.

I know that this conversation will recur, once, twice, or even more than ten times. At the end of the day, it's part of parenthood. It's part of my zestful life as a mom.

Happy Mother's Day to all moms out there who share the same challenges and triumphs like I have. As I always say, let's savor every moment. Each day is worth living because God has given us the best vocation in the world.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Teachable Moment: Humility

I can't move on until now. I'm still affected of my experience last Tuesday.

To keep myself updated about Ate Esperanza's condition, I call National Kidney and Transplant Institute on a daily basis. 
I mentioned on my comment on A Mom's Call for Financial Aid to Extend the Life of Her Ailing Daughter that on Wednesday at 8:00 AM, Sir Ethan of NKTI informed me that the patient was still under their care and they were waiting for the doctor's order. He was not aware if Ate Esperanza would be transferred to East Avenue Medical Center or not. The patient would like to refuse their medical assistance. She chose to have her dialysis on Friday and stay at home thereafter.

Yesterday afternoon, I tried calling the Emergency Room twice but nobody was answering my call. I called again at 11:00 PM to check if the patient was still admitted.

I was sick worried about the family. They didn't have money to cover the hospital expenses. 

I waited patiently on the line. I felt relieved when a lady picked up the phone. Here was our conversation.

I: "Hello, good evening po! I am SJ Valdez. I would like to ask if a patient named Ma. Esperanza Galindez is still under your care."

Lady: "Ay, sandali lang po at tatanungin ko."

I heard that she asked her companions.

Lady: "Wala na siya rito, discharged na."

I: "Ah ganun po ba? Would you know, Miss, if she was transferred to another hospital? Did she go home? I'm sorry, Miss, I know that you can't disclose the patient's details or diagnosis on the phone. I would like to know kasi wala po talaga silang pera. I am not a relative of the patient. My mom and I were just there to meet them last Tuesday when she was sent there. Pasensya na po for calling up very late."

Lady: "Hindi ko kasi alam dahil kate-take over ko lang. Basta nakalagay dito sa computer, discharged na siya."

I: "I was able to talk to Sir Ethan, Miss. Naaawa kasi ako sa patient dahil wala talaga silang kapera-pera..."
Before I finished talking, she cut the conversation.

Lady: "Doktor ako, doktor ako, sige..."

Then she hang up. I was shocked. I was so polite to her. Maybe she was pissed off because I didn't call her DOCTOR or DOKTORA. I felt sad and a little disappointed. Would it make her less of a person if she wasn't called by her title? I treated her with respect. She should have told me that she was a doctor when she answered my call so that I could address her according to her preference. How would I know that she was a doctor? I was not there in the first place.

I can't imagine how she treats other people especially if they are indigent or uneducated. I feel sorry for her. Why is it that some people give so much regard on titles? I called her Miss. I talked to her the way I should talk to anyone regardless of age or status in life. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to ask her name.

All the NKTI nurses, social workers, and doctors that I met last Tuesday were all humble, kind, and compassionate. I hope that lady doctor would not destroy the good reputation of the institution. 

When Ross woke up this morning, I thought of sharing my experience to him. I invited him to sit down and listen to my story. He said that he was also shocked and disappointed. 

I: "Anak, hindi ba, Papa and I told you that you should talk to other people with respect regardless of who they are? Rich or poor, educated or uneducated, young or old alike, you should not be arrogant. Prophet Muhammad said, 'The best of people is the one who humbles himself; the more his rank increases.' Calling a janitor 'Sir' or a waitress, 'Ma'am' is the proper way to address the person. Will it make you less of a person if you do that?"

Ross: "No, Mama. I hear you and Papa call the taxi drivers and janitors 'Sir'.

I: "There's nothing wrong if you call a doctor or even the president of the Philippines 'Sir' or 'Ma'am' because still it's a form of courtesy. Don't be like the doctor that I spoke with last night, huh? If you become rich or famous someday, be humble. Live the same lifestyle that you used to. Don't be concerned with titles. All of us are equal in God's eyes despite the fact that the society or other people sometimes consider that titles and achievements measure the value of a person. It's improper. Let's face it, Anak. This is reality. But don't be like them. You have to know how to mingle with people from all walks of life. Don't belittle other people. It's not acceptable!"

Ross: "Yes, Mama. I'll remember that."

I believe that someday, my son will remember all the things that I say.


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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Teachable Moment: Honesty is the Best Policy

Last August 2013, my husband composed an e-mail to CEM (Center for Education Measurement) stating that he was following up the approval of his submitted test items that he made about Grade 3 Science for next year's Achievement Test. His e-mail was immediately acknowledged and he was informed that the test items were approved.

I: "Papa, it's finally done! Congratulations! Did you delete the soft copy?"

Hector: "Yes, Ma! It's done!"

Kuya Ross: "Mama, what is Papa doing? What soft copy did he delete? What is it all about?"

I: "Anak,  Papa was invited by CEM to write test items about Grade 3 Science to be taken by students in the Philippines. According to the contract, once those test items were submitted to CEM, Papa should delete both his soft and hard copies and he did it!"

Kuya Ross: "How would they know if Papa really deleted them? They were not looking?"

I: " Anak, we have to be honest. Being honest means you should be true to your words and actions. You have to do the right thing even if nobody or regardless who is looking. The test that Papa made will be taken by you too next year. Papa could have saved a copy for you so that you'd know the answers but he didn't because that was cheating! Cheating is wrong, right? What he did was he kept his promise to CEM and followed the contract."

Kuya Ross: "Oh, I see."

I: " When you see money in your classroom, will you keep it?"

Kuya Ross: "No, Mama. I will give it to my teacher so that she can ask or look for the owner of the money."

I: "Very good! It's the same as what Papa did. It's an act of honesty. When we are honest, Kuya, people will trust us. God will be happy too because we are doing the right thing."

Kuya Ross: "Yes, Mama. I'm so proud of Papa."

I: "We are proud of you too, Kuya. You have to keep it in mind so that when you are already a dad, you'd know how to teach your kids."

Kuya Ross: "Yes, Mama. Thanks!"

The smile on his face showed that he was happy with what his Papa did.   

Experience is really the best teacher at the right place and time. 



Tuesday, October 22, 2013

GUEST POST: "Parents Need to Let Their Children Fail" by Mr. Hector Valdez

I've been teaching for 14 years now and as I look back, I realized that a teacher's subject designation is simply a decorative post that was assigned to him/her due to his/her academic specialization. Teachers in general are simply people with excess awareness of their humanity that they simply want to share it with others. A teacher is an individual that has the capacity to make people dream, cooperate, aspire, succeed, and most of all fail. You might be wondering why I gave so much emphasis on failing?

Failure is a powerful tool that enables a teacher to create a "TEACHABLE MOMENT". A fragment of time where a person is stripped of his defenses and biases and is simply "intellectually and emotionally naked". Most parents will definitely disagree with me but I am also a parent.  When a person fails he is simply put on state of confusion where his self image that was built on his early successes are simply shattered. Most parents tend to abhor failure because they want their kids to develop their full potential and unparalleled self-confidence. Traits that are perceived to be necessary to gain success later on in life.
My son is quite competitive and if I might add quite gifted intellectually which tends to make him over confident to the point that he neglects strengthening his fundamental skills in school. As he grows up, he continued to develop his own identity based on how people see him parallel to the things he can do best. Success in his endeavors gave him self fulfillment but most of his learnings and realizations were from failures. It enabled him to know himself more and it gave me the window to challenge him more to be better than who he is now. Personally, watching my son fail is very painful but it is necessary. Because it made him more resourceful and it allowed him to see his limits and is simply forced to overcome them. Allowing him to look for more options and in cases where options are very limited, made him think out of the box.  But there is a catch, in those moments of confusion we as parents should be the very people that would make him realize his life lessons and be the guide to them.

Next time your kid comes home defeated, smile for there will be a day that he will come out a better person - stronger in all aspects. 

Even former English, Latin, and writing teacher Jessica Lahey agrees. I would like to share with you her article entitled "Why Parents Need to Let Their Children Fail."

You may CLICK THIS to read the article.

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Monday, September 30, 2013

We Can Learn from Other People's Mistakes

I noticed that since Janine Tugonon, Miss Universe 2012 1st Runner-Up, broadcasted her break-up with his boyfriend Jaypee Santos on national TV, names used as  adjectives became a trend here in the Philippines. "Na-Janine Tugonon ako!" would mean that your partner was so proud to announce about your break up because he/she fell out of love and found another lover.

"Na-Jed Salang ako!" (Jed Salang was the estranged husband of Philippine Comedy Concert Queen, Ai-Ai delas Alas, who allegedly found by the latter his real intentions of marrying her) would mean that your partner inflicted physical harm on you and left you because he/she couldn't get something from you. 

When you flaunt your shopping spree, expensive possessions like signatured bags, clothes, shoes, etc., only to find out that you purchased all of them using other people's hard earned money, you are being called "Napolic" (from the name Janet and Jeanne Napoles, the controversially involved personalities in Philippine Pork Barrel Scam).

It is normal for us to talk about these personalities and have our own sentiments or comments. While doing so, (let's admit that they made the country stop) I think it's time for us to reflect on what these persons teach us--- simple lessons in life that we often miss.

1 We have to think first before we act. In all the things that we do, there are CONSEQUENCES. Everything that is happening to us is connected to the GOLDEN RULE by Confucius, "One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself."

2 We are responsible in all our actions. God gave us FREE WILL but we have to choose in doing what's right in the eyes of God and men. For others, it is hard to do what's morally right, but it's worth it! I believe that we would lose everything that we acquired including the trust of our loved-ones when we're getting something through wrong means. It is also best to talk less to commit less mistakes. Words and actions come hand in hand.

3 We have to accept our faults and do our best to change for the better. Nobody's perfect! If we are eager to improve our ways, it starts from within! If we are true with our intentions, others would notice. We don't have to explain.

We are humans and sometimes we like to spend time meddling with other people's businesses. Somehow there are moments in our lives that we tend to become like them. Face the fact that we have weaknesses too. We also commit mistakes. Why don't we try delving into our own lives first? Let us see their issues in all angles, in such a way that we could learn something.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Teachable Moment: More Tasks Mean More Blessings

Kuya Ross was complaining about the Penmanship drills that his Papa prepared for him. He was frowning and whining while writing lazily.

"Kuya, do you remember when Mama used to complain why I had to do so many household chores while chasing your baby brother the whole day? Did you like it when Mama was behaving that way?"

"No, Mama."

"I also don't like it when you do that. I feel so sad."

"Me too, Mama."

"You know what, when I was grumpy, I ended up not finishing anything because I wasted so much time complaining. I didn't even consider your feelings when I whine. I changed my way of thinking because I realized that I should be thankful because God made me a stay-at-home mom. I could take care of you, Papa, and Bunso. I work from sun up to sun down, do tasks that I think I couldn't do all at the same time. I also have a business to take care of despite the fact that I have so much work to do as a mom. There are so many things to do yet so little time! Doing more tasks means we are productive. Through these tasks we learn something new everyday. We have to be happy and thankful that we have a chance to work harder. That means we are blessed and we have a purpose."

"Mama, what makes you happy and thankful that you have so much work?"
"When I see that everybody's happy with what I do, it makes me happy too. Imagine, I am not paid for what I do here at home. I don't dress up like office girls do and get paid with money when I take care of you. But I still do it Kuya. Hindi lahat natutumbasan ng pera, anak. Masaya ako at naaalagaan ko kayo kasi mahal ko kayo. When we love what we do, others would feel it. It gives us more drive to do so much more. Kaya ikaw, Kuya, you have to be thankful that your teacher gives you so many assignments. That means she loves you and she wants you to learn. Show her that you love her  by doing your best. When you do your best, something good will happen. Trust me."

He kept quiet, then continued doing his drills. I kissed him on his forehead and did my motherly duties. I knew I left something for him to reflect on. I prepared a glass of cold orange juice and baked macaroni as a reward for his hard work.
I took this photo after our brief heart to heart talk.See how he did his Penmanship drills dutifully! 
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