Thoughts and Memories | Armando V. Zafe:

Children of Talent

One beautiful sunny morning in the year 1966, a Jesuit priest, Fr. Jeff, visited Catanduanes National High School to conduct a test for students interested to enter the priesthood. Seven students passed the exams but as far as I remember only one became serious enough to stay one year in the formation stage, a long process/training to become a Jesuit priest. One year after, Martin Valeza, my classmate in high school returned from the Jesuit compound in Novaliches and joined our class in the fourth year.

Martin chose to become a priest, to be different from the profession of his parents but luck did not shine on him.

Mr. Namar, my alter-ego (one of the seven successful examinees), diverted his way from becoming a businessman, the profession of his parents, to enter also the priesthood but like Martin Valeza, he, too, did not make it because of poor health, the reason for his parent’s intervention to stop him.

“The way things are is not necessarily the way they are going to be; people given the will, can choose lives much different from those of their parents”.

Chris Matthews

In today’s parenting, children have more freedom to choose the direction of their lives or the course and extracurricular activities they wanted to study or get involved with. Weekdays are spent by children on regular education like in elementary grades, high school education and college course for those in college.

Weekends are for specialized lessons in which they like to be trained: piano, speech, writing, painting, karate, music, calligraphy, basketball, bodybuilding, football, etc. Exposing children to different talent-building activities promotes wellness, confidence, and a well-rounded personality. Attending summer school, classes or training for kids of “can-afford” parents are preferable than children doing nothing at home with cell phone on their hands, during summer vacation or semestral break. Uncontrolled use of cell phone by children, or even by adults or senior citizens, is not good for their health. I may sound repetitive or annoying about the use of cell phone but to some of them are already close to addiction.

The three, out of the four children of my alter-ego Namar, attended a Kumon School which specializes in the teaching of English, Math, and Reading while in Elementary grades. When they entered high school and college, they were scholars. Later, they computed the tuition fees and miscellaneous expenses spent in Kumon School, comparing it to the total amount of tuition fees supposed to be paid in high school and college, if they were not scholars, they discovered more than half is the savings. Not to mention the recognition and position accorded to them because of knowledge and confidence acquired from taking extra lessons from Kumon. They became student leaders: one interviews students applying to Math club, another one was assigned as master of ceremonies and speaker on school programs like in a drug-related seminars and out-of-school meeting. The tuition fees to become proficient in English, Math and Reading paid great dividends that will last their lifetime. The children of Namar study music also at the Yamaha School of Music and the youngest went to St. Scholastica to learn how to play the cello.

Spending money for children to take extra lessons so they can learn skills and talents will prove more beneficial in the long run though some may consider it at the moment to be unnecessary expenses.

Take the case of those who take lessons in music to acquire skill on how to play the piano or other musical instruments. During months of music lessons, the father driving the car sometimes can’t stop thinking of the result of this idea of bringing your daughter to Yamaha music school with such costly matriculation. Will this effort make my daughter an artist? And the expenses during her turn as scholar in the school band? Children’s talents are not easy to be equated in terms of money, for it comprises the development of the child’s personality.

When I became signatory to foreign student visas of foreigners planning to study in the Philippines or medical graduates to take residency in a prestigious hospital in our country, I interviewed them and read their application forms, where I learned their other skills and talents. I found them to be multi-talented; that maybe it made them courageous to live in another country. I gave more attention to athletes especially those men in basketball and ladies in volleyball. Why athletes? Because we have wrong or biased beliefs about them. I found out that they were no different from us, the non-athletes. What more talents can be learned if you put time and passion to acquire it whether in academic, non-academic and vocational courses?

In the Bible, God gave talents to three persons. Please read the Parable of the Talents. For we will learn that God rewards those who put considerable effort in bettering their lives and the lives of those in their community.

Can bringing your children to the second floor of Catsu’s Ondra Hall where the Who’s Who of the university’s students and benefactors are immortalized in pictures and bronze memorial like the recent one of former Cong Jose M. Alberto, the primary author of the law converting VNATS to Catanduanes State Colleges, be considered as education/training?

How about bringing your children to the foot of Dr. Jose P. Rizal monument at the Luneta Park or viewing the sitting image of President Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Menorial in Washington D.C, and telling them who these persons are? Will it not be the greatest training or lesson you can give your children? A lesson on aspiration and dream?

Children usually model themselves on people whom they love and adored as hero idolized for a great deed. Needless to say, telling your children what you want them to be someday will make dream to be like their heroes in the future.

“All men dream; but not equally. Those who dream at night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did.”                       T. E. Lawrence

Parents, please support your children in what they want to be.


Please start your children in the right direction, make them fall in love with reading fine books, visit Booklatan at ARDCI Mart at Moonwalk Road, Calatagan near Liz Fashion Boutique.

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