“Mom, I did not bag any award”

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Mach and April are months of recognition and graduation in the Philippines. You see white and black grad robes, flying caps, certificates, and cheerful faces of students, teachers, and parents (they can finally rest from baon and school projects!) It is also the time when students taste the fruit of their labor. Medals, ribbons, and special awards, you can only imagine how ecstatic and proud parents can be when they go up on the stage beside their children and share the success. My daughter has been an achiever since pre-school. Every year, we are present on Recognition Day. But this year was different. She went home from school one day to deliver the news that she did not bag any award. What are we going to do?

I was sleeping when she woke me up and announced that we are not going on Recognition Day. She is included in the top section and I am aware that she is active in class. Her test scores are high, too. I was hoping for a medal or ribbon. When she stated that there would be no medal-wearing-kid-equals-happy-mama scene this year, I felt a bit sad. I. EXPECTED.  But I realized I was never disappointed at all.

I knew my daughter was affected and there should be no room for scolding or yelling.  She did not cry though and there was no hint of her being gloomy. Maybe because we do not pressure her to be on top. We still believe that academics is not everything. But somehow, I felt that my daughter’s heart was a bit broken. While changing her clothes, I replied that it is okay. She can do better next school year and I will spend more time to teach and study with her.My bubbly girl agreed and she shared stories about her friends who were awarded. My husband heard the news and did not get mad although, he exclaimed “sayang” because he was confident that his daughter could make it. Nonetheless, there was no bitterness or dramatic moments.

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What follows are the things I learned from this experience. Children, indeed, are great teachers, too.

1. Stay calm and listen to your kids first. Do not overreact. Good thing I managed not to talk and let my daughter tell her story before I even said anything.

2. Assure your kids it’s okay and she can absolutely do better next time. Do not waver your support. If there’s one person who can boost your children’s self-confidence, it’s none other than you.

3. As a parent, self-assessment is also essential. Ask yourself if you were able to provide the support your child needed. What happened over the last 10 months? Did you prioritize teaching time? Were there distractions that kept your daughter from learning at home? I am guilty of this. I was so busy last year dealing with online group drama and when I started blogging again. Priorities, priorities, priorities. I promise to be more focused on my daughter’s studies this year.

Bringing home an award is truly an honor but never ever pressure your kids to excel, nor compare them to others. Your little ones have their own skills and talents and they will make you proud in their own ways. Not bagging any award does not make us love them less, right? After all what’s important is the knowledge they have gained and the love and  support we continue to give whether they’re best in class or not.

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