"My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person: he believed in me."  -Jim Valvano

Our older son arrived home yesterday disappointed. You see, Leon and his older sister Rica qualified to participate in the school-wide science quiz contests after hurdling the elimination round in their respective classes. They made adequate preparations over a long weekend that was full of family activities, including an afternoon at the park, a night watching Narnia 3, and the usual outside frolics and longer computer time. The weekend was also extra special because of the bicycle gift Rica received for her birthday from her Titos (uncles) and everyone was just excited to try it out.

After getting my attention away from the laptop, Mama Sez steered me towards Leon who was in front of the shoe rack with tears in his eyes. I immediately picked him up and while leading him to the bedroom, asked him what’s the matter.

After a bit of coaxing, he eventually related that he was upset because a classmate got the gold, while he didn’t even reach the clincher round. He got the third place.

“I know more than he does, and at a higher level“, said he, unhappy about the less than expected results and trying to find an explanation for the discrepancy.

Realizing that he was making comparisons, we tried to deflect his focus to his confidence that he is on a different level as far as science is concern.

“It’s okay to be sad and to cry. Contests are like that, there are winners and losers. But what’s important is you know that you are good at science and you can be the best at it. Quiz contests are not the only measure of one’s proficiency.”

“Moreover, Mama and I believe that you, indeed, have a different level of interest, knowledge and understanding of science. That’s why you can be the inventor or anything that you (eventually) want to be.”

We reminded him about their training in Abba’s Orchard Montessori School- that is, more of cooperating than competing with classmates.

“You compete with yourself, so that you get better at want you are good at and at what you wannabe.”

“Comparing yourself to someone else is not going to be healthy if that’s all you’re focusing on because you’ll always find some who are better than you, so you’ll get frustrated, and others who are worse, then you’ll get conceited.”

Leon’s paradigm has shifted to the merit system of exams, grades and contests in his new school, which is more representative of the traditional school system in the country. And he’s actually really good at it, having aced exams, getting high grades and winning contests. But somehow, he has to balance this with the better paradigm of cooperation and interdependence that he was taught at home and in Abba’s Orchard for four years.

While declaring that he’s okay now, we reemphasized that we believe in him and we know that he is talented, and that we love him no matter what.

“Mama, isn’t it that when you capture hot air, like in a balloon, it will go up?” That was when we were assured that he’s really over it.

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  1. osCommerce Templates February 10, 2011 at 5:46 PM  

    I agree with you~!

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About Us (circa 2009)

Our journey led us to this place. A little more than 10 years ago we began our journey as husband and wife. Three years later, we found ourselves with two bundles of joy- a daughter and then a son. They're the children we've dreamed of having.

About five years since the birth of our son, an unexpected gift came- a younger brother to our school-age kids. And soon enough, a baby girl arrived to round the family membership.

Brave was a term used by a friend to describe us. Challenging... and loving it -- yeah, this journey is not for the faint of heart.