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Have you thanked your parents?

/ 05:10 AM February 10, 2019

I just can’t help myself but thank them for all their sacrifices.

I remember when my mom used to take me to school

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during my kindergarten year. I could vividly recall her face

while she stayed on the bench under the mango tree near our room, waiting for me until our dismissal.

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I always took a glance at her, thinking she might leave me, but she never did. I did experience that separation anxiety often explained by clinical psychologists today, but I overcame it.

My mother often had conversations with my teacher asking about my behavior inside the classroom, and I think I did pretty well because my mother always smiled after that talk (I suddenly miss my first year of schooling and also my teacher, Miss Marieta, who always prepared fun games for us).

As I grew older, I started going to school on my own. With the drive to learn more which my parents instilled in me, I managed to graduate with honors from elementary school. Thanks to my parents.

I learned from problems. High school days were not that easy for me, but I considered them my most wonderful years in school. I was a public high school student.

During those years, I began to realize how poor our family was. My story was just like the story of many other typical Filipinos. I was becoming more mature as I reflected on the challenges brought about by my family’s financial incapacity.

My father and mother had no regular work. In school, I began learning financial management. My whole day allowance (baon) was P5: P3 in the morning and P2 in the afternoon. My mother  always advised me to buy kakanin (native cakes) because these kept me feeling full longer. I ate my lunch at home, because the school was just walking distance from our house.

From 2005 to 2008, I experienced the hardships and poor life stories I used to hear from old people. But maybe it was just right for me to go through these; it was also a form of “learning at its best.”

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I also had nice friends. I remember when my friends saw my old ragged slippers. One time, I heard them saying, “Ano kaya kung ibili natin siya ng bagong tsinelas? Mag-ambagan na lang tayo  (What if we buy him a new pair of slippers? Let’s chip in).” I was flattered. I got great friends.

One time, our physics teacher gave us an assignment. He asked us to draw the trace of electrical wiring or connection in our house.

My seatmate raised his hand and asked our teacher, “Sir, paano po kung lampara ang gamit nila John Lerry sa bahay (Sir, what if John Lerry only uses oil lamp at home)?”

Some of my classmates laughed; I just smiled, but my teacher asked me to make my illustration imagining our house with electrical connections.

Yes, we were poor. I studied at night with the help of the little light coming from a lamp, but my determination didn’t waver. I didn’t lose the spirit.

Having no money became an ordinary situation for me. It always reminded me that I just needed to study more. I did burn the midnight oil during those years. I had to. My parents worked hard and I saw how they struggled, and that only fueled me to be more diligent.

During our graduation, I dedicated my valedictory address to my parents. Thanks to them.

I went to college carrying all the hope and aspirations of my family. I imagined that I would be the superhero in my family once I finished college, though the journey wouldn’t be that easy. My sister worked as a nanny after graduating from high school. She did it to support my schooling. I was overwhelmed.

My daily allowance gave my parents headache. I employed the art of budgeting so I could at least lessen my parents’ burden. I prepared my packed lunch and walked from our campus to the jeepney terminal so I could save at least P10 every day. I also made handicrafts like wedding invites, which were ordered by my college professor. That helped a lot.

There were times when my mother had to accept laundry so I could have money for school. It always broke my heart when I’d hear her complain about her aching back. I couldn’t spend even a single peso for any unworthy things. My conscience would kill me if I spent the money they gave me just for comfort.

I carried all these worries and pains in my heart and mind while I tried to reach for my dream of becoming a teacher. I wanted to pay back my parents. I wanted them to live life with no worries. So I studied hard, multiplying patience and determination with hope and faith.

I managed to graduate from college, pass the licensure

examination and start teaching. I owe my parents all these. Thanks to them.

I am now in my sixth year of teaching, and I am still in love with my profession. I can now be a means to remind students to give more effort to learning. My work is to encourage growth and change in them.

I often see and encounter students who treat schooling like a good-for-nothing part of life. They skip classes and miss class discussions. I want them to realize that their parents are holding out hopes for them — that their parents are dying to see them march and receive their diploma.

They should learn to manifest acts of gratitude for their parents’ sacrifices. In fact, according to studies, when children learn to say “thank you” for every act of kindness they receive, they eventually develop a more positive attitude. I want them to realize this.

Every moment is an opportunity to thank our parents. We better take the opportunity every day to show and let them feel how thankful we are. We should not miss the chance before it’s too late.

A simple “thank you” message will warm their hearts. It’s a gesture they deserve, and a treasure they will keep in their simple hearts forever.

* * *

John Lerry Ibuan, 26, is a teacher at the Urbiztondo Integrated School in Pangasinan.

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