My Future History Professor

My ten-year-old and I have two favorite mommy-and-me topics: first, he enjoys hearing about how he was when he was much younger, and second, how things will be when he grows up. Somewhere between that is “the now” of my soon-to-be fifth grader and mommy trying to keep him from growing up too fast.

I am just grateful that he never passed the “I want to drive a dump truck/garbage truck” stage which my youngest brother, Nikki, swore to in his early years. (And we were all relieved that he eventually did become a licensed Physical Therapist now working in one of the bigger hospitals in Manila!)

These days, my little boy is fascinated with Social Studies and the American Revolution in general. At the end of his fourth grade, he got the Social Studies Expert award with matching cheers of approval from the rest of his class. We, as the proud parents, beamed with pride, but he glowed with the recognition of his expertise and that was the most precious of all.

You can imagine how heartening it is to hear him say he wants to be a History Professor when he grows up.  He wants to study History and teach History.

I’m trying very hard not to let my dreams and aspirations get in the way of him forming his own. I want him to set his own goals in life– and I want to just be on the sidelines cheering him on. I want to see him get himself to a university of his choosing and pursuing his dreams to fruition. I don’t want to be the parent living her dreams through her child. That would be most unfair because we bring our children up to be their own person and not to be who or what we couldn’t be. If we couldn’t live our dreams, we should make new ones for ourselves instead of burdening our children with the pressure of succeeding where we failed.

We always want what’s best for our children, of course.  Well, most of the time.  I don’t want to be that parent who pins their future hopes and dreams on their children’s success.  I want to stick around for as long as I can and maybe watch him become a family man eventually.  But I see myself growing old around him, but not being a burden on him.

It would be great to hear him say “I want to be a lawyer like you, Mommy,” but for now, the fact that he is thinking of college and doing something fruitful afterwards is good enough. Maybe in time he will think of the legal profession.  That would be nice, but it wouldn’t be the death of my hopes and dreams if he chooses to be a rock star instead.  (Well, he doesn’t have the rock star voice although he has the swag.  Plus, there’s the prerequisite that a rock star career be preceded by a college degree.)

I was never goaded by my parents to pursue a legal education.  The one and only goal was to go through and finish college.  That I landed in the University of the Philippines was an added plus but would not have been the be-all and end-all of my post-high school life.  The choice to go to law school was totally mine, and a dream I had set my heart on as early as I was choosing my college course or the university I was going to attend.  At that point in my life, I was going to college with the end in view of eventually going to law school.

I have come across many young people who had thought about law school much later, or not even with such a long thought out aspiration as I did — and that doesn’t surprise me, and that doesn’t make it any less a valid dream or goal to aim for.  We go through life learning about what we can do and what we want.  These things change as our personality changes through our life experiences.  Sometimes we grow in ways we never thought we would, and we find ourselves suddenly thinking of things we never thought we would consider, like being a lawyer.

I’d like to think that my own life experiences will have some bearing on my little guy’s own life choices, but when it comes to the career or direction he will want to take when he is older, I’d rather leave the decision to him.  I won’t try to influence that one way or the other, except perhaps to convince him staying closer to mommy instead of moving to the other side of the country would be just as good.  (I’m trying to bribe him to actually stay here until he is ready to stand up on his own two feet AFTER college.. wishful thinking, I know.)

I would be on cloud nine if one day he tells me he wants to be a lawyer, too.  But that’s many years away, and I can wait.  For now, I’d be happy to encourage the dream to be a History Professor. After all, History is a good pre-law degree.  =)

Related posts can be found in the blog section LAWYER WANNABE which can be found in the navigation bar.

Growing up

Like most people, I associate the term “growing up” with being a child or being childlike and moving into adulthood. But if you take a step back and look at the bigger picture, we are constantly going through that process even in full adulthood.  There are always new truths that reveal themselves to us that bring us to a more mature plane.  And as the years go by, we tend to forget the pains of going through the transformation from childhood to adulthood which is easier for some, and not quite as easy for others.

This previous weekend, I spent a good amount of time with a niece who I first met 14 years ago as a very quiet and shy girl.  She has blossomed into a comely young lady and is getting ready to enter college.  I can’t help but marvel at her transformation through the years.  She is suddenly all grown up and almost a full adult — and at the threshhold of a very important transition into a new world.

It’s a very exciting and scary time — having come from a very sheltered upbringing and being in an all-girl’s school and now entering a coed university.  Just like I did many years ago.  You worry about how you will do.. will you enjoy your new world… how will you fare.. how do you stop being so self-conscious in the company of the opposite sex.. So many questions and the clock is ticking to the first day of school.

I told her she’ll be fine.  My college years were a very enjoyable period for me — not without the drama and the growing pains that life is generally peppered with — but you take both the good and the bad.  And as it is with most things, it takes making it to the end of the journey for us to see we didn’t do so bad after all — or that all the sacrifices, conservative / strict parents included, will serve a purpose in our adult life later on.

For some, making new friends or surviving in a room full of strangers is second nature.  I would normally stay quiet, observe, and speak when spoken to, or strike a conversation with the person next to me.  But I was never wont to take center stage.  (I usually did that much later. HA!)  I remember it was difficult for me to get comfortable with my male classmates but when you see them day in and day out, they become your buddies.  In fact by my second year in college, I was the only girl in a group of around 6 boys who all loved to drink the afternoon away, but who would be gentlemanly enough to order me my soda for each round of beer they had brought to the table.

Because they all drove, even if they were in another part of the campus, they would come back for me at lunch time so we could have authentic Chinese food at the original “Estero” in Binondo.  That or we would descend upon a favorite Chinese restaurant near Roxas Boulevard.

The business side of going to the university was also very different from high school.  It was the same that it wasn’t.  Everything seemed to be a foot or two deeper, and in many ways more complicated and profound, hence, a little harder.  But that was the whole thing about being in college — to learn more and to actually acquire the knowledge needed to hone your abilities and skill sets.

Talking to my niece made me go back to how terrifying that phase was at times.  It wasn’t always


Daily Prompt: 15 Credits and all the buzz of school

Daily Prompt:  Another school semester will soon begin. If you’re in school, are you looking forward to starting classes? If you’re out of school, what do you miss about it — or are you glad those days are over?

I have been out of school for almost twenty years now.  My classmates from law school are all over the place — one is a Mayor, one (or maybe even two) are lawmakers, several are very successful lawyers.  The same goes for my college friends.  And in high school, we just celebrated our Pearl jubilee this year.

I have always been happy in a classroom, even during that brief period during my freshman year when I was besieged by a momentary lapse of confidence during my first semester at the state university.  (I looked around and wondered what made me deserve to be in the same space as these “scholars”, forgetting I had earned my place beside them.)

I spent some of the best years of my younger life in college where I found some of my closest and dearest friends who still are dear in the present time.  But those friendships have been enriched by the years that have passed, and those tried and tested friends have continued to be a part of my life.  I learned more about life during those years in Rizal Hall and those life experiences carried me through what would be a very challenging couple of years after I left college.  More than just making me part of the real world — being immersed in a very liberal and diverse academic community — my way of thinking and viewing school and life as a whole changed dramatically.

I sat in classes where the author of the required book reading was the professor.  History was no longer just a narrative of events but an analysis of the emergence of a counter-consciousness that leads a class to resort to upheaval to effect change.  I couldn’t completely shake off the sheltered life that saw me being brought to and from the university by a driver , but I learned to challenge the limits imposed upon me by my parents.

Law school proved to be even more challenging because I suddenly found myself having to work to help support my education.  By then I was commuting, trying to juggle work and school, yet somehow I made it.

When “work and school” became “work” alone, I started to actually miss the routine of lugging my books and reading and sitting in a classroom.  It didn’t quite hit me as hard, though, until I moved here to New York in 2000.  It wasn’t so much all the fun times with the friends and the people that came and went into my life during those years.  I find myself missing the challenge of reading and getting into the very core of a concept or subject matter, reading about it, fleshing it out and feeling enriched by that knowledge.

(Audible sigh)

As a mother of an incoming fourth-grader who was born and raised here, I feel a real need for me to educate myself about American History and have started listening and viewing an “online lecture series” sponsored by Yale.  I have thought about physically attending a class and perhaps enrolling for audit courses, but finding a way to carve out real time for it is out of the question.  I guess I have to stick to e-learning for now.

Yes, I do miss school.  I miss being in a classroom.  And my brain cells are all raring to get at it if given the chance to get back to work on text books and tomes again.