This is a guest post by Coysie Tan-Gana, from the Philippines.
In her book, “Mitten Strings for God,” Katrina Kenison wrote that she has a friend who says that a child’s real job is to educate the parent. I couldn’t imagine how bountiful learning could be for moms who are blessed with many children. On the other hand, whether we have a child or two or three and more, what really matters, is the dailiness of life that they face as they make their way into the complexities of the world – how they confront situations with pure courage and wit – must be nourished and constantly reinforced.
As a mom of three children with seven years of age gap between each birth, from my eldest to my middle to my youngest, I learn from them at different levels or standpoints, a learning that is both dynamic and enjoyable.
To me, every lesson is a cultivation of learning with them from unique and various ways that at every end of the day, although there is a bit of exhaustion – I feel peace, fullness of knowledge, equipped emotions and certainly, gifted.
Our little conversations, simple activities to serious discussions on issues are not only eye openers or thoughts to ponder but unique learnings that I carry on each day as I go out and face my own challenges.
Recently, I gave a leadership workshop to a mixed group of student leaders. These student leaders represent the grade school, high school and college students of their school. At first, I thought it could be difficult to handle such workshop with different age groups because of varied interests, communications skills and levels of learning. As it turned out, we had so much fun and sharing – – potentials enriched! Some of the activities I shared with them, my children taught me – – naturally – “from the dailiness of our lives”.
When my son Vinnie was 11 years old, I encouraged him to write, I still do. At one moment he showed to me something he wrote. I was so amazed that, I could not start a word how to commend such a beautifully written expression, so I uttered, “Vinnie, you are a writer!” He smiled to me and said: “No, Mama. I am a thinker.” Today at 16, he is starting to cultivate skills in sports, and have become more outspoken having joined their school’s debate team. He sings and acts too. However, we discuss politics and social issues with no holds barred. Although we argue sometimes, he listens attentively, and so do I.
My middle child Shirin is the “performer”. Although, some people would first notice her frail body, she has her way of pushing the boundaries to master her skills in singing and dancing. So that at 39, I know the latest songs and dance steps, because it is a part of our bed time routine, before going to sleep – either we dance, sing or read. For her performance in schools, she practice like tomorrow is the event, but it is yet to be in a month’s time. Her grace and courage are day to day attitude that I wish I’d have, too!
Via, is the “boss”, being the youngest. At three, she has started exploring her independence, and I am giving it to her. In return, I feel a grasp of fortitude – her thirst for learning overflows that even through a little girl, I am reminded that I cannot settle on “ feeling good” but to strive more without let up! Rachel Carson in her classic, “The Sense of Wonder,” advised: “ if a child is to keep her inborn sense of wonder, she needs the companionship of at least one adult to share it, re discovering with her the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.”
And so, for me, the dailinies of life with our children is not mainly routine if we look beyond – – there is so much more to it, than at the end of the rainbow!
The spontaneity of growing with them and learning through them are gifts of the hearts and for the hearts shared by every parent and their children. Certainly, our children are educators too – they teach us the basics and walk us towards the transparent, remind us about the virtues through their naïve and honest hearts – and right at the core of our parenthood, cultivate in us an indomitable spirit of courage and hope.
Coysie Tan-Gana is a mother of three: a 16 year old son, an 8.5 year girl and a 3 year old pre schooler, also a girl. With their age differences, you can really tell that her “mothering” style varies, although each day is a cultivation of learning with them. Coysie is also a women’s and children’s rights advocate, who took her bar exams in the Philippines last October. During deliberate free times, she reads blogs, and surfs the Net to keep herself updated and fired up.