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. 🙂


Here’s something I was pondering upon in Cagayan de Oro last month.

What is success? I am surrounded by family members who, by the world’s standards, are pretty successful, I would say. My mom is retired but she was a valuable “employee” in Jardine Davies, Inc and Hawaiian Philippine Company (previously affiliated companies) for collectively at least 30 years. My brother has been one of the brilliant IT guys working with Chikka for at least 6 years. My brother’s wife is an advertising genius who gets offers from big companies left and right. In Cagayan de Oro, my aunt is a successful pediatrician. I’m 33, so she is at least 30 years in the business. She gave us our shots when we were kids, and now she’s giving shots to her grandchildren (Danae & Noelle). My uncle is now a successful resource speaker, after years of being a successful “employee” in Magnolia (imagine all the ice cream we had all those summers in Cagayan!). My cousins, as I have mentioned in my previous blog, are co-owners of Crocs Cagayan de Oro. They have been in business for more than 5 years (they gave Danae’s first, well her 2nd, 3rd and so on haha, Crocs) and it’s still going strong.  They’ve even managed to open another store called Bliss, which is also doing quite well. My dad’s brother is a surgeon in the US, my aunt a retired nurse, and my cousins a doctor and a business consultant. So does one have to have a career in order to be successful? Or to work many years in your company or field?

Everyone I mentioned above has the financial freedom to pretty much do whatever they want, or at least save up for it more easily than many — buy a car, buy land, buy the latest gadgets, buy branded clothes, shoes & bags, travel abroad. Not only that, the money they have comes from their hard work. Some may have been handed down to them by their parents, but they also work hard for what they have. I’ve been wondering, imagining what it must be like to be like them. Not that I want everything that they have, because each one is different from the other, and so am I. But wouldn’t it be nice to have financial freedom? To be financially able and ready for almost anything? I would love to be able to travel with King and the kids without having to stress about how much it’s going to cost. I would love to be able to renovate our home to suit our needs without having to think about how we’re going to come up with the money. I would love to be able to hold small dinner parties for people without thinking of the budget. I would love to be able to change my wardrobe completely so I don’t have to worry about not having anything to wear (okay, this one’s completely selfish haha). I would love to be able to bless King, my kids, my mom, my in-laws, our relatives, our friends or maybe even complete strangers without thinking twice about how it’s going to affect our finances. Could the amount of money you have or are able to spend be the measure of success?

If career and money are the measures of success, then let me tell you, I AM A COMPLETE AND UTTER FAILURE! But then, how come I don’t feel like a failure? Because I am not. Because I am 100% certain that I am doing what I am called to do. Just as I am certain my family is called to do what they are doing right now. A good example I can give you is my cousin Baba. She’s actually a doctor. She graduated from UP College of Medicine a few years ago. So why on earth is she running a business instead of practicing medicine with her mom? Well, she honored her parents’ wishes and tried it just in case it was really meant for her, but after many years of studying and then working in the medical field as a researcher, she discovered that being a doctor is not her calling. She has no passion for it. She found one of her passions in business instead.

Surrounded by family whose accomplishments are pretty great, you could imagine what kind of pressure I must be experiencing seeing that I am not like any of them, and especially that we are leading in the baby-making department. So do I feel bad that I don’t have a career I can call my own? NO. Do I feel bad that I have to depend on King for money? Not really. Do I feel bad that I don’t have the funds I wish I had? Well, sure, there are times I do, but I get over it and remain hopeful. Why? Because I truly believe I am where God wants me to be — at home with the kids. I get to be a full-time “housewife,” to be a full-time mommy/teacher/nanny/playmate, to be a minister to God’s people, and to use my creativity in each role that I play. It’s tough, tiring, frustrating, time-consuming, energy-draining, and yet it gives me the most joy, the most fulfillment, the most excitement, the most peace. It is my passion. And what’s amazing is, even though I do feel pressure sometimes when it comes to finances, nobody in my family  actually pressures me to be someone I’m not. Nobody tells me I need to be thinking of getting a job so I could have a career and some extra money. Nobody tells me that my husband earns too little, so I should be helping him financially. Why? Well, aside from not wanting to interfere in our affairs, I believe that they too see that this is what I am really called to do and they see that I am actually good at being a stay-at-home mom. Even my dad, when he was still alive, never questioned my decision to stay home. Besides, I think he knew that I was never the type who could juggle too many things in my life haha. He always told me I had a one-track mind. Thank God He showed me what my priorities ought to be.

So what is the true meaning of success? For me, success comes in doing what you love and what you are passionate about. Success comes when you are doing what God designed you to do, where and when He wants you to do it. It’s not about the money, whether you make any or not. It’s not about a job title, or the years you’ve put in being in that position or company. It’s about fulfilling your purpose, and right now, I know I’m fulfilling mine. God may reveal to me new things, new purposes for my life in the future, but for now, this is it. And I am happy. I am at peace. 🙂

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