By: Mia Faicol
The day started early for the Lifeskills Team as we left Paranaque at around 6am. After a long ride (with some coffee), we arrived in St. Anthony Nova School in Caloocan. There were about 120 students present both 3rd and 4th year. Principal Mercedita Moldez introduced the team to the students.
We started with having an icebreaker. Judy Jamolangue would give them two options and they would have to go to the left or to the right depending on their choice. Some of the easy questions were: Pepsi or Coke? Kapamilya or Kapuso? Ginebra or San Miguel? (The basketball team, not the alcoholic drinks 🙂 ).
And then we got down to the deeper questions — do you prefer someone who is physically attractive or someone smart? Who would you rather spend time with — your parents or your friends?
The overwhelming response is that most of the students would prefer to spend time with their family.
We then showed them the video from Life Coach, Candace Schmidt Gonzalez. She asked them, “How do you see yourselves 5 and 10 years from now? You want to be a doctor? Great. But what kind of a doctor do you want to be?” She didn’t focus on the career choices that the students would make, but instead made them think about what kind of a person do they want to be in the future? What will they have brought in 2024? She stressed that, “You have a responsibility for something called PURPOSE.”
After giving them time to write down who they want to be, it was the turn of the members of the Lifeskills team to speak to the students. We talked about various things such as having goals and remembering these goals so that they don’t get sidetracked. One of the members of the team, Jane Aquilino, said that if they were at a point in their lives where they did not really have any goals or dreams, they should not write something down just for the sake of it, but instead should get to a place of finding out what dreams and goals they should have. We also emphasized on the importance of communicating with parents – which really hit home for the students. The Lifeskills team, out of the wisdom their experiences had brought them, both great and painful ones, talked about how it was with their parents back then when they were at these’ students age and how they overcame those challenges.
Principal Moldez went up to the front and told the children her story. Of how she got close to her mother just shortly before her mother passed away. She told them to make good use of their time with their parents, and get to know them. The students were teary eyed after the principal shared her story. Even for me whose mother is a teacher (and knowing a lot of teachers), I was pleasantly surprised because this kind of thing does not happen every day.
After we gave the students a quick break, we settled back and got into groups. We gave the students the opportunity to ask us questions, and talk about the things that struck them during the whole session.
In the group I was in (there were about 15 students) we talked about the goals they had set. One of the boys said they wanted to be an architect. “Well, what kind of architect?” I asked him. I reminded them that once they go off to college, and they get a job – what happens then? Is that all that they want? To get a job, get paid well, have a family- and then what? I used Typhoon Yolanda as an example. “Seeing everything that happened, wouldn’t it be great if you became the architect that helped to design houses that can actually withstand those types of storms?”
When we started to talk about parents, some of the kids could not hold back their tears. Some had trouble communicating with their parents (some just don’t know how to approach them), while there was one girl who said she felt blessed because she had a good relationship with her parents. I asked her to share to the group what was her ‘secret’. She said that she and her parents would pray together and eat together. I pointed out to the rest of the group that this would be a good start if they wanted to build their relationship with their parents.
Overall, the whole experience was wonderful. This was my first time (and definitely would not be my last) to help in facilitating, instead of being one of the participants. It felt wonderful to be able to give back, and share things that have helped me when I was growing up. And I didn’t just give, I was also able to receive and get things for myself. I had already reached my 10 years from now when I was in high school, now it’s time to set new goals for myself. 🙂
We are indeed imperfect people, leading imperfect lives but that shouldn’t stop us from helping out!
We met Mia Faicol during one of our Lifeskills Seminars. She was high school then, one of those young and eager ones who sat down and listened to our Life Coaches. She presently works as the HR Analyst of CGI Philippines. She is thrilled that she can now give back by being part of the Lifeskills Facilitators.