My kids are Filipino yet they can barely speak and understand Filipino. They cannot follow a conversation if it is in pure Filipino, can barely speak Filipino and Filipino is their hardest subject in school. Admittedly, they are products of parents who regard Filipino as a secondary language as opposed to the more universal English language. (See my blog post on Teaching Filipino to our English Speaking Filipino Kids)
On hindsight though, I realized how speaking your native tongue helps in building your character as a Filipino. If you speak Filipino, your jokes would bear the Filipino wit. If you speak Filipino, your demeanor would be humble and self-effacing ending with "po and opo" at the end of sentences. If you speak Filipino, you would speak to elders in a different, more respectful tone. If you speak Filipino, nanay, tatay, kuya, ate and the rest of the family will remain important till eternity.
I also realized how closely intertwined affinity and love for one's own country is rooted on its language. What is the most basic and primary gift a country can offer its people? Language. When the baby opens its eyes and hears a mother's singsong voice, "anak si nanay ito." You are establishing who he is in this world, a Filipino.
If you speak Filipino, your sense of pride for the Philippines is greater because you are one nation, speaking one language. If you speak Filipino, your heart goes out to the country and its people when it is hurt, ridiculed or threatened. If you speak Filipino, you will have that heart of service to make the country grow proud and strong.
I have made mistakes in the past and it is painstakingly hard to correct it. My children are more American than Filipino. Not that I hate America, I like America. But it would be good to anchor their identity on truly what they are, a Filipino.
Sa araw ng mga Bayani ating isulong sa ating mga anak ang pagmamahal sa ating sariling bansa at ito ay nagsisimula sa pagtangkilik ng ating sariling wika. Wika ko, mahal ko.
Mabuhay ang bansang Filipino!
*Bright Tomorrow is a new tutorial center ran by a good friend together with her fellow co-parents. They can be reached at 623-4934. They are located at Unit 201 Samia Tower, 81 Xavier Residences, Xavier Street, Greenhills, San Juan.
My daughter spent the entire week in camp a few months back in Tanay, Rizal and though it has been months after she is still gushing with stories of how those days were the most fun days of her entire 11 years on Earth.
Actually, I was apprehensive at first to let her join camp, with the primary reason of the seeming gargantuan goals set up for the camp. The camp is an empowerment coaching program using Neuro-Linguistic techniques. It aims to fire up mindset, language and behavior of individuals immersed in it. My husband argues that you can't change an individual in 5 days, and he is right. But I was willing to give it a try because I want to help our daughter reach her maximum potential. As I mentioned in my previous post, "Change from Within," I believe all our kids have that innate talent in them and all it takes is an initial spark to fan it. So eyes closed, I wrote a check for the 5-day camp.
Our initial goal for our daughter is something school related. Well, she didn't really achieve that but what she took out from the camp was so much more than that. [Read More...]