Thursday, June 24, 2004

Parenting:Life and choices

Before being a teacher, I am a parent first. This is what life is to me, my raison d'etre. Like anybody else, I had no practice being a parent. And so, it's kind of a hit or miss. However, it should not be. I cannot afford having too many misses.

If life was only about black and white.. moral and immoral... good or bad, it would have been a lot simpler. yet, it is not so. There are too many things in between. Let me illustrate.

Being parents, me and my wife have made too many close calls. These were crucial as what was in line was the fate of four kids who are dependent on us for sustenance, shelter, education and everything normal children need. Life is about decisions and we have to teach the children to learn how to make the right ones. Take note, I said teach them to learn how, not teach them the right ones. It may be easier to say don't do this or that but the lesson might not be learned. Giving them options and leading them on to the right path might.

When my third child, Kim, was in grade one, she had an assignment to bring her CL handout. During this time, they had several handouts which looked alike. Anyway, she forgot to bring hers and feared she might be given a zero as the teacher threatened the day before. Knowing what the assignment was, my wife asked Kim during dinner what happened during the subject. "Kim, you forgot your handout. I suppose you got a zero in class today." "No, mom," was her reply. "Really, what did you do?" asked my wife. "When the teacher asked us to read the hand-out, I took the one for Language and pretended to read. She didn't notice." My first reaction was to scold her as that was being dishonest. However, as I pondered what i have to say at that time, I said to myself, "not bad. Kim is a survivor." My wife and I were thinking, what Grade one kid would have thought of that? So, as I told her it was dishonest and not to repeat it again, she didn't receive any tongue lashing that time.


Dr. Emer said...

I'm gonna ask you a lot of how-to's and what-to-do's when it's my turn, Tito Rolly. :)

Nothing prepares you for life. Everything just happens.

cathcath said...

magaling na bata. hidi siya nagdaya. ang may kulang ay ang teacher. Dapat chineck niya kung talagang ang binabasa ng mga bata ay yong dapat basahin. kaya lang hindi mo rin siya masisi, sino ang mag-aakalang magagawa yan ng isang grade one. yong iba siguro iiyak na.mabubuhay nga ang anak mo sa mga lugar na hindi kailangan ang kaalaman ay ang abc kung hindi ang madaliang pag-iisip kung ano ang nararapat.

bayibhyap said...

I fully agree with you, rolly. Teaching your child how is much better than imposing your values on them. They would have a fundamental set of ethics and other values by learning from how we, as parents, make decisions. They see us as role models and it's important that we factor them into all our decisions.

Bringing up children gives you the most surprises. They educate us all as parents.

Sassy Lawyer said...

I agree with Cathy. If the teacher had really been paying attention...

Smart kid. he he he

Funny... I just posted something about parenting and homeworks too. Sayang, I can't send you trackbacks, Titot Rolly.

rolly said...

Sure Doc Emer. However, just like any parent, I don't have a foolproof system. One thing I can tell you, though, is that to eliminate the suspicion of having favorites (you don't want that when you have 4 kids) anything that they fight over is confiscated. No questions asked. We can start from there.

My thoughts exactly, Cath. I'm glad it seems from the responses here that we made the right choice.

Bayi, I wish I could say I am a good role model, but I'm not. Minsan madaling uminit ang ulo ko lalo na pag-nagda-drive. I smoke pero sa labas ng bahay, etc... So I'm a "don't do what I do, do what I say" kind of person in some ways, which is not good.

Sayang nga Sassy. We parents should be comparing notes, e.

Thank y'all for visiting.

BatJay said...

yeah life isn't black and white. one of the best things that you can probably teach your kids is how to deal with the gray issues. mahirap siguro ano?

joffin said...

hello tito rolly,

i admire you for the way you handled that incident with your child. in prep for my job this september i am reading this book called "choice theory in the classroom" by william glasser. kakaibang approach to, as opposed to the traditional method of control theory. medyo may pagka-carebear ang approach but i am willing to try it with my students.

sakali mang maging parents kami ni mister di ko alam kung papanong pagpapalaki ang gagawin ko sa magiging anak namin, lalo na't andito kami sa amerika.
tulad ni dr. emer tatanungin kita at si atty. sassy pagdating ng panahon na yon.

Matapoor said...

"Life is about decisions and we have to teach the children to learn how to make the right ones. Take note, I said teach them to learn how, not teach them the right ones."

Thanks for writing that. I will take note of that and try to remember that whenever I become too anal by "ordering" my son what should and should not be done.

rolly said...

Hi Batjay - Sinabi mo pa! Ang hirap talaga kasi wala namang guide book talaga na magagamit dito. YOu only have the works of psychologists at the most whose works may still be seen as passe in the future.

Yes joffin, teaching is a continuous learning process. I'm glad you're still honing your craft. That means in na in ka pa rin.

Sure thing. Pwede mo kong tanungin about anything kaya lang hindi assurance na tama. Wait till all my kids have grown up and have a family of their own. Pag successful sila, then I was a success and I can give you solid advices. Fair enough? :-)

Matapoor, sometimes I am struck with a whiff of wisdom. i'm just glad I wrote that. bihirang-bihira kung dumating yun e. :-)

rolly said...

iris, my email says you have responded to this post but i couldn't find it anywhere. Anyway, thanks for the very nice things you said.

Anonymous said...

Tito Rolly,
You are lucky to have a child who really knows what to do in such situations as such an early age and I believe she is a smart kid. This makes parenting much easier. The problem is when you have a child who cannot cope or seem to have problems handling relatively simple situations. Parenting here really is not an easy task. I agree that it is better to teach them to learn how to get the right things than directly telling them what is right and what is wrong. But what if the child is not responding positively?
- Santi

rolly said...

Hi Santi, yes, that is a problem when the child is not reacting positively. I think the best thing in that situation is to be patient. Give him/her leading questions until he/she gets it right. This is the time the child needs us most. Patience is the key.

joyce said...

sir, nakaka umay man sa pandining (i can hear dr rapatan's voice nagging us), we help our children construct their knowledge, not dictate. you're absolutely correct about guiding them on how to deal with situations, but not direclty telling them what to do. the situation that was presented to kim gave her "prior knowledge" about the CL teacher, how she handles her lessons, and thereby giving the little girl a mental picture of who her CL teacher really is...ergo, her reaction. see how smart a kid turns out to be with this kind of treatment? well, it goes without saying that it runs in the genes, too, di ba sir? :)