Top of the class!

Last month was Danae’s school’s parent-teacher conference and I was pretty excited to find out how well my daughter did. As I was waiting outside for my turn, I saw on the bulletin board the names of the top 3 students… the 3 kids who topped the kinder classes’ 1st achievement test. DANAE’S NAME WAS NOT THERE. I was assessing myself, how I felt about it. I was trying to be all okay with it, but the truth is, there was a pang of disappointment.

But before you judge me, hear me out!

I felt a little disappointed that Danae didn’t rank, but I was not disappointed in Danae at all. I went from “aww sayang (too bad)” and “hmm, i wonder why?” to “well i’m sure she did great in her exams” and to “uh oh, i wonder what other issues the teacher will discuss with me!” Haha, when a woman is left alone with her thoughts, she goes from one extreme to the other! Well at least, that’s what happens to me sometimes. It was actually just my ego, my pride talking, because being on top of the class would prove that Danae is super smart. But actually, I don’t need to prove anything because she is! One conversation with her and you’ll already know. And there was no doubt that Danae knew her lessons. It was just a matter of correctly following the test instructions, and a matter of who scored more in the test. And what was really more important was Danae’s growth in terms of character.

I was happy to hear Teacher Grace tell me that Danae’s test scores were great. She was actually surprised that Danae didn’t rank. And instead of being disappointed, I had a good laugh because the reason for the 5-point pull on her grade in Writing was just the coloring part. She didn’t finish coloring the whole picture haha! And her mistakes in some tests were only due to carelessness, which is so true even when we do exercises at home. Yes, she did not rank, but she did exceptionally well nonetheless. Imagine being able to cope with her classmates and nearly perfecting all her tests even with her absences due to her health! And not only that, according to teacher, she is one of the students who needs the least supervision. How can I be disappointed? I AM SO PROUD OF HER!

Having no doubt that Danae is doing well academically, I asked two more important questions. One was if they did or if they will adjust Danae’s curriculum according to her capabilities. Teacher Grace told me that they are considering adjusting her curriculum in Reading already, since she’s somewhat ahead in that area. Then I also asked the teacher what she thought we should work on more with Danae. I was impressed by what she told me. Maybe she also believes that Danae is smart and has no problems with academics, but I think it’s more than that. She told me that we need to teach Danae to, in my words, respect others more — respect their space, respect their own decisions. Danae has a tendency to be bossy, forcing people to do what she wants, and gets upset when it doesn’t go her way (hahahaha, sounds so familiar). I am thankful that Teacher Grace knows what is important for our children — CHARACTER, JUST AS MUCH AS OR EVEN MORE THAN SKILL. We are on the same page regarding this matter, and we can work together to help Danae grow and mature.

They have had their 2nd achievement test already and I don’t feel pressured anymore (because I do unconsciously put pressure on myself and sometimes Danae when it comes to her tests). I know that she did well, even considering 2 weeks worth of absences due to her week-long pneumonia-like symptoms and our week-long vacay. Whether she ranks or not, doesn’t matter that much anymore. Heck, it doesn’t even matter to Danae! So we really don’t bring up the subject of being an honor student. We just always tell her that she’s doing well, and she’s happy with that. But we do tell her about her attitude and character issues, so that she knows we are serious about disciplining her and teaching her to ultimately obey God. My kid is happy, secure, and confident. She’s naturally smart, active, assertive, and has a great personality. But she’s a kid. So, with necessary boundaries and much encouragement, we’re just letting her enjoy being one. She will eventually learn to up her standards and be excellent in everything she does, top of the class or not. 🙂

We Love You, Hern Family!

Pastor Robert Leading P&W with King on the bass. (Baguio)

We went to Maileen Hern’s memorial service last night and once again I had no words to say to Ptr Robert. When he thanked us for coming, all I could say was “Of course.” All I knew, going there, was I wanted to support him and his family. We wanted to be there because we love him and his family. We’re not close, actually, but I admire and respect him so much that I felt compelled to be at the wake and the memorial service. King, of course, has known him for many years and worked with him.

I take away many things from the passing of Ms Mai. Number one is her faith. Her faith was amazing, even amidst great physical pain and amidst the pain of leaving her family. When she knew it was almost time for her to be with the Lord, she spoke to her daughters and told them not to be angry with God, but to always be grateful to Him no matter what. Ptr Robert’s faith to fight for Ms Mai’s life and then to let go when God spoke to him, was also remarkable. Even Betthia knew that God prepared her for her mom’s death through a dream. I cannot imagine what they have gone through and are going through, but one thing is evident. The Hern family loves the Lord and trusts in His ways. I hope to have the same strength and faith when I am faced with such adversity.

Among all those that spoke about Ms Mai, there was one that touched me and made me cry the most. She actually did not even speak. It was on video, and Ptr Robert was the one who read her letter to her mom. When I saw Shaunese cover her eyes while her letter was being read, I just felt so sad for her. I could not imagine what she must be feeling at her age, 5 years old I think, having lost her mother. I could not imagine my daughters going through the same thing. That thought just overwhelmed me. And yet her letter was one of pure love for her dear mommy, saying “I love you. Don’t forget us okay?”

I am just so grateful for Victory, my church, my spiritual family. Like what Ptr Steve said last night, we truly are one big family. Ptr Robert said he is able to go through this by the grace of God and because of his spiritual family, who are continually holding them up in prayer, supporting them, encouraging them and just being there for them. I experienced the same love and support when my father died 3 years ago, and so did my mom who isn’t even part of our church (yet).

We always speak of legacy, what we leave behind on this earth. I love what Ptr Steve said about Ms Mai, that her thumbprint is in every building or facility that Victory has ever built. She was an architect and she helped each church with the building of their facilities, including the ENLI building in the Fort. Some foreigners mentioned that the ENLI building still looks new, and Ptr Steve said that that speaks of the kind of work Ms Mai did — excellent. She did not only leave her mark on the buildings, but on the lives of many people as well — her family, her friends, her small groups, her co-workers, and now me.

Last night, even though we were crying, we were also laughing, remembering Ms Mai and as Ptr Robert was speaking. Oh yes, even in this sad time, Ptr Robert could smile, laugh and make others laugh. It’s pretty amazing. It is because of the assurance that Ms Mai is in heaven already, pain-free, resting and enjoying God. They did not fear death because death is not the end. All the more that I am grateful for Jesus. He saved me, gave me a new life, and I can also look forward to being with Him in heaven when I die.

Hern family, we love you! Thank you for your awesome faith. God bless you! 🙂

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