Sunday, November 29, 2009

Four Greatest Gift You Could Give Your Children

It was Black Friday yesterday.  Those of you guys who live in the U.S. of A, I hope that you got really good bargains and are happy with them.
We live in the tropical country in the Philippines, there's no black Friday for us.  We have sale everyday, though.  Some of our stores advertise year-long sale!  My daughter and I went shopping yesterday.  She bought a pair of white jeans, she calls it cigarette pants. She's lucky to have nice shapely legs and slim calves.  I told my daughter that the pair of pants is my birthday gift for her.  She raised one eyebrow to that.  She'd like an iPod for a birthday present.
These kids, they don't know how blessed they are.  In my time, if my mom gave me a pair of pants - cigarette pants or hot pants I would be jumping up and down with delight.  My Nanay  knew better,  she did not buy me those kind of pants, I am bow legged.
Kids now take for granted the things that are so valuable to us when we were young.  They take for granted having  cell phones, computer, internet, TV, etc. I would roll in pleasure if I had them at their age.
Children will never have enough material things;   they  always want  something more, they want the greatest and the latest.
I miss the days when my youngest daughter was happy and contented  to practice her creativity with photo editing.  She inserted her picture in the Microsoft wallpaper below when she was eight years old. 

For her coming birthday, I  would like to give something that is more lasting. I kept thinking what would that be. As usual when you ask the universe,  answer come naturally.  Recently I attended a parenting seminar given by my youngest daughter's school.
I confess, I am usually bored with these kind of seminars.  I sometimes go and ......cheat, like I attend the morning seminar, check in for the attendance then I don't go back for the afternoon session.  But I was bothered by my daughter's latest grades.  I thought I will be able to talk to her teacher.   We are not happy with her grades.  Yes, She moved from no. 12 to number 11 in her class ranking, but we are not satisfied with her grades.  Dave, the first time father has a high expectations of our daughters, his instant daughters (he adopted them after we got married).
Dave is a Mensa member, and even without studying his lessons in school, he breezed through high school, college and even studied Law after he graduated in engineering. 
I am not the Mensa type, I had to study 'hard' in order to have high grades in school.  The only remarkable thing about me is I love studying, so it was not hard work to study, unless the subject is Math, for it needs more time for conditioning.   I realize now I was  a nerd.  Where other students loved traipsing around in our small barrio, going to the river for a swim or to town plaza to watch basketball games,  I was perched on one of  our guava  trees, or on top of the bodega roof (the stockroom for sugar cane fertilizer),  eating guavas and studying, eating guavas and daydreaming while lying on the roof.  These were my pastime -  eating guavas with a book or notebook in hand, I studied or reviewed my lessons in school, or read my Tatay's Reader's Digest, Newsweek and Time magazines or my Nanay's Liwayway, our local magazine in Tagalog,  The benefits were:
1) I was  always way ahead of our school lessons
2) I always beat the birds in eating ripe guavas
4) Between the birds and myself, no guavas fell and rotted in the ground.
3) My teeth are so strong from eating guavas
4) I was not vitamin C deficient at all.
Enough of guavas and birds.
Back to the  seminar which  I attended.  Mr. Ernest Tan, of Ateneo De Manila University, the author of Your Greatest Gift to Your Greatest Love, was the speaker.  He looked nerdy, he was funny, and never was a dull moment in his seminar.   I did not cheat by running out of the seminar during lunch break. Below is the gist of his morning seminar:
Four greatest gifts you could give your child:
      1) Self worth
a) This is the foundation of success in work and relationship.
b)  Success has nothing to do with grades.  The important thing is confidence.
c)  Teach self-discipline.
d)  Teach intrapersonal skills,  this can not be tested.
e) Grades are relative.
 These are all better said than done.  If I see  grade of  like 77 to 79 I get pissed off. 
2)   Healthy sense of sexuality
Teasing is another form of violence.  We did not delve on this.  He postponed this topic 'til next seminar.   

3) Teach your children effective coping skills. 
a) Give them roots and wings.
b) It is the foundation of strength amidst diversities.
c) Don’t be so over protective.
d) Love your children, good grades or no.
4)   Build your child’s character 
 a)  It is the foundation of basic goodness and integrity. 
 b)  Discipline by consequence, e.g.  give her allowance for one week and if she finished that in one day, don’t give her more money.
 c) Give tough love.  You're tough but remain loving.

Do you think these are good gifts?  I think they are.  Starting today and for the rest of her school life, I would try hard not to scream at my daughter for not doing her English and Math exercises.  I will not think of it as a personal affront.  I would feel sad because it is  the opportunity to study that she missed. 
But yes, as usual, no TV, no computer until she’s done with her household chores,  and Math and English exercises.


  1. Hey, I didn't know you lived in the Philippines! Where in the Philippines? MM? Isn't the traffic oh-so completely terrible this holiday season? We went to the mall yesterday,and it took us three hours to get there!

    I believe that learning should be stress-free and pressure-free and a lot of fun! That's how my son learns at school! He goes to an international school. Usually traditional schools put too much pressure on the kids! It's not good!

    I used to hang out eating guavas, too! Come to think of it, where the heck have all the guavas gone these days??? They used to be so yummy and all over the place!

  2. C, Fantastic, you're also in the Philippines! Are you a Filipina? We're not in MM. We're in 'Gapo. We go to MM now and then, and the hubby usually gets pissed off with the traffic, much more this holiday season! The cops benefit so much too, giving us all kinds of traffic violation tickets and the hubby ends up paying too much. tsk, tsk.

    Miss guavas too, I usually see them during food fairs, esp. the Bangkok variety.

  3. Hi MaLou! No new posts yet? :)

    No, I'm not a Filipino, but have many Filipino friends! :) :) including you!!!!! :)

    The weather is beginning to get really chilly, isn't it??!!! Have you noticed??? I have!!! It's lovely and chilly!!! :)

  4. Lovely post and I think that those are great gifts to give our children. Mine are grown, but as you know, parenting is an ongoing thing.

  5. @ C, thanks for including me as one of your friends. I could see that you have many admirers. Aside from being a good writer in prose and poetry, your Latina looks get them smitten too.
    I heard it's really cooler there in MM, like a Baguio temperature, wow! Not much cooler here in 'Gapo.

  6. @ Marguerite: Thanks so much. Yes, parenting is an ongoing thing, and I won't exchane that experience for anything :)

  7. I am eagerly anticipating some new posts from you, MaLou! :)

    Thank you for always being supportive of me and my writings! :)

    I appreciate it much.

    I want to wish you all the magic of this season, and enough of it to last you well into the new year, and beyond!

    With much love,

  8. Oh! I just read your comment for me...hahahahahaha! Yes, everybody presumes that I am Brazilian, but I am not Brazilian, my mother is from Xiamen (China) and my father is from Maryland (USA)... and here I am and people think I am from Brazil! hahahahaha! I am Chinese and Caucasian. :)

  9. Wow C, I would have never thought you have Chinese blood, I look more Chinese than you :)

    I wish you and your loved ones all the best this Christmas season and beyond too.


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