Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Where did the fun go?

Okay I've been saying this to myself for years, so since I'm on the brink of it I may as well write about it.

Once upon a time I asked myself, "when did life stop being fun?" And after some thinking I concluded, "when I had to go to school."

Think about it. When you're a kid all you ever do is play. Play with your cousins, play with your toys, watch TV, then play, play , play. Then grade school comes around. And all of a sudden you have to wake up early every day, hie off to school, do assignments, and eventually try to make the grade.

(Little did I realize that life becomes a little less fun for the parents too. Big school signals the start of a never-ending ritual of waking up early, saving up for incidentals, and don't forget paying the tuition.)

Despite all that I flourished in a traditional school. I was the kind of kid that didn't have to study yet got good grades. If I were ambitious - meaning that if my parents had pushed me, since I was too young to understand - I could have become one of those nerdy kids with all the honors. Thank God that didn't happen!

But notwithstanding my above-average performance, I resented school. In a way I felt like it was a prison.The rules. The nuns. The box that I had to follow. Remember having to stand 2 blocks (tiles) away from the next student at flag ceremony? Or having to walk in single file on the right side of the corridor? Makes my skin crawl to think that Miguel will have to live that way for the next 8 years. I grew up in that mold and in spite of my being an artist and an ad writer I am still totally anal.

To be honest I would really prefer a non-traditional school where students are encouraged to think creatively. There are a few good ones, just a bit more expensive than Ateneo. But it would be a new concept for my family. (You know, the one where everyone went to Ateneo.)

More than anything I would need family support to send my son to a different school. Can you imagine the constant questioning, "what school is that again?" and me having to explain why I chose that school. I'd have to have an airtight reason for sending him there. ADD? There's a possibility, but...nah.

And there's also this thing about your child's learning style. That you should put him in the kind of set-up in which he will thrive. Well guess who turned out obssessive-compulsive like his mom?

I know, I know. I'm always denying my obssessive-compulsiveness.

But honestly. I'm so thrilled that Miguel's going to Ateneo. When I got the letter informing me that he had passed the entrance exam, I realized that this was the first time that he achieved something totally on his own. Well, not really the first. Remember that he was promoted to yellow belt in taekwondo last year.

For the entrance exam, he went into the Guidance Department with 20 other kids and came out 40 minutes later. I had no idea what went on inside. I asked him how the test was, and he replied, "it was easier than the mock exam." Well whatever happened in there I guess he had an easy time because he passed.

So now we're bound for Ateneo. Big school. But wait...let me pay the tuition on Monday first. Thanks to my bro Gueli can enroll this year.

So will life stop being fun for Gueli? I really hope not. He really wants to go to Ateneo. Ever since we brainwashed him at age 2 by telling him that there are a lot of corners in La Salle. (As in, "stand in the corner!")

The thing he will miss is having girls for classmates. Oh no! Who will he kiss now? Who will he ask to marry him next? Man, he's got to get over that habit soon.

Exciting, isn't it?


O said...

Blue-blooded mother, blue-blooded son. Lovely. The AGS is one of the best places in my life. I've been there a few weeks ago, and despite having a major overhaul from its design in my day, it's still, if not lovelier than ever.

I'm not sure if you know this, but when Rizal was on his death path, he saw a glimpse of the Ateneo he had primary schooling. He was quoted for saying something like, "Ah, ang Ateneo. Diyan ko isinabuhay ang mga napakasayang mga araw ko."

My brother's graduating seventh grade this March. Checking his curriculum, it's very very different from my day. I hope the kids today hack it and still have as much, if not more fun than we did back then.

mama_aly said...

Glad you've decided against postponing another year.

sandygirl said...

Hey, welcome back O! I guess this means that you're turning over a new leaf ;)

Your comment reminds me so much of the "Sa Ugoy ng Duyan" lyrics. Don't we all long for our childhood years.

Thanks for the words of encouragement, guys. It lessens my anxiety :)

sandygirl said...

And happy birthday to mama aly! :)

o.p. said...

Hoy -- I was one of those nerdy kids with honors... But you're right -- it becomes a prison and stifles creativity. The rules should make it feel safe -- so that the experience of learning can be fun and fulfilling. But when the adults have control issues (usually the case) they forget what the point of it all is, and the kids suffer.

My kid is in Grade 2 now and it's 50-50 for him. He loves school and looks forward to it daily. But sometimes the work is a real pain, especially if it's boring, and also when he's tired from taekwondo (orange belt pa lang. started in november).

sandygirl said...

Omigosh oona! Didn't even know you were checking out my blog. Great to hear from you!

Hehe, I'm such a denial queen but I will admit that I am a certified nerd. In spite of my life as a painter and being in the advertising biz, I am who I am. All I ever succeeded in doing was look better while I'm at it ;)

You look great btw