Thursday, October 16, 2014

Trees by Joyce Kilmer

Joselyn has been trying to memorize the following poem for her English speech class.  She has gotten it memorized pretty well and mentioned that teacher wanted their group to accompany the poem recital with some body actions.  She kept repeating it several times over dinner and I couldn't help but smile since it's one of those poems that I myself remember when I was younger (I think in my high school years) and one that seems to have a lovely musical tone when recited.  Here is a copy of the poem along with a picture of Joselyn next to a bougainvillea tree in the Chinese garden in Luneta, taken last February.

by Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see
A poem as lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast; 

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray; 

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair; 

Upon whose bosom snow has lain; 
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Field Trip Anxieties

Last week the kids came home excitedly announcing that there will be a field trip and showed me the memo from their school giving the details with an attached consent sheet that the parents/guardians were to sign if we allowed our kids to join.

During a family "field trip" to the Science Centrum in 2013.
My only qualm about not being able to join my kids during their field trip is
not being able to take pictures of the event.  But this year I'll be allowing them
to take my Samsung point-and-shoot for them to take pictures on their own.

School Memo for
Joselyn's field trip
School memo for
Benjo's field trip
In the past years my two children, who are 2 grades apart, have had their field trips together.  This year their grade levels have separate field trips, on different dates (1 week apart) and with different itineraries.

 Joselyn’s grade level is scheduled to visit places in Metro Manila: (1) The Repertory Philippines: Pinocchio (Greenbelt, Makati) and (2) Science Centrum in Marikina.

Benjo’s grade level though is scheduled to visit 3 places outside Metro Manila: (1) San Guillermo Church (Pampanga), (2) Zoobic Safari and (3) Ocean Adventure (both in Subic, Olongapo City, Zambales province).

This would be the first time that Benjo would be travelling on his own (without us, his parents) to the provinces.  He was very excited.  But I was a little hesitant and even said to him when he said that I had to sign the consent form: “Bakit, sigurado ka ba na papayagan kita?”  (“Are you so sure that I will allow you to go?”  I said I’ll think about it although I knew that I didn’t want him to miss this opportunity.  I wasn’t the only parent though that felt a little anxious at the thought of their kids travelling so far.  My two friends/ co-parents texted me that same day and asked if I was going to let Benjo join and was thinking of maybe joining them on their outing in a separate car.

Other parents have likewise made known their anxiety about letting their kids join the field trip and a few have already decided to not allow their children to join.  This anxiety I understand is in part due to the news in the past of field trips that ended in tragedy.  The recent one where some college students drowned when the water level in the river they were crossing suddenly rose.

That night when I was contemplating on my decision to let Benjo join the trip, I was watching a documentary I believe it was on CNN on a 13 year-old girl whose passion to go to Mars has almost been realized with her going through all of the necessary trainings.  (Click here for more info on 13 year-old Alyssa Carson) Her father was very supportive, allowing the girl to follow her dreams and enrolling her in all the needed trainings for the past 9 years.  Wow, a field trip to Mars!  I told myself, this Dad would allow his child to go to Mars for how long (I’ve read that a mission could take up to 3 years) and here we were worrying whether or not to allow our child to go to Pampanga and Zambales which is 2-3 hours away (by bus that is, and not by rocket ship like Alyssa) for one whole day.

This put things into more perspective.  Sure we as parents always want to protect our children and try to avoid situations that may cause them any harm.  But we have to deal with our own fears and try to weigh the advantage of letting the child go and explore the world outside these set of invisible barriers that we place around them.  It is only natural to be afraid and wonder “what if”, but the children will only learn when they go out of their comfort zone or even outside their parent’s comfort zone.

I remember when I was their age, I was never allowed to go to any of my school’s camping trips.  My own mother had fears of snakes and spiders getting into our cabins or tents, or any other harmful creatures big or small.  So I grew up without ever experiencing this type of adventure and only camped out with my friends when I was an adult.

So putting all this in mind but still with some anxiety, I signed the consent forms and promised the kids that I will make the payment before the given deadlines.  They’re excited about the field trip, a whole day with their classmates, getting to ride on a bus, seeing new places, experiencing new adventures and getting away from their parents :)  We parents can only do so much in protecting our kids and learning when it is time to let them go to seek adventures on their own.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Huwag Naman "Sige sa Mantsa"

There’s a washing detergent commercial which has the endorser/actress saying to her kids “sige lang anak” (“it’s okay son/daughter”) while pouring grease and throwing dirt on a white polo shirt.  “Sige sa mantsa” is the slogan for this commercial, which has been effective in relaying the message that we adults should let the kids do as they want without caring about getting their clothes dirty, because there is a detergent that can get all that dirt out.

You got to be kidding, right?  Firstly, who believes that this endorser/actress washes her family’s clothes.  Of course, she has a maid to do her laundry, so “sige lang anak!” because she’s not the one whose hands will be sore after trying to scrub out all that muck.  I say this because I’m the one who does the kids’ laundry, specifically hand wash their school uniforms.  It is not an easy task and I hope I’ve trained my kids to be careful when they eat and when they play to not get any “mantsa” on their clothes because it’s mommy who will be doing the washing “at kawawa si mommy ‘pag madumi ang damit nila”.

One of the many "mantsas" I've had to scrub off of
Joseph's polo shirt
A frustration I’ve had is when Joseph (and soon Joselyn too) moved from using pencils to ballpens.  The marks of the pens on his white uniform are so difficult to wash out.  There was a time when he had so many marks on his shoulder and back and it happened repeatedly that I suspected that his classmate was intentionally using him as a paper.  I threatened that I’ll tell his classmate’s mother to wash my son’s polo shirt, in my anger at seeing black and red marks.

“Sorry mom”, my son or daughter would sometimes say after coming home from school with a mark on their uniform from either the food they ate or any of the other school activities they did.  And they’d try to explain why it couldn’t be avoided.  “Okay lang.” I’d tell them (if I was in a good mood) and remind them to be careful next time.  On other, not-so-good mood situations, I would just shake my head in submission.  At least they’re conscious of the stains and do not treat their clothes as basahans or rags as I’ve seen other kids do.