Life 101: On Surrendering Expectations

My kids’ second quarter exams have just been concluded last week. I actually took a break from blogging in order to allocate more time for studying with them. (Well, among other things…)

Yes, everyday last week, and the weekend before that, my kids studied like never before. I, too, drilled and grilled them like never before. I printed out mock exams for Patchy, and formulated ruthless Math exercises. I even went to as far as timing her, based on the premise courtesy of the Math-wiz technohub: “If you stay too long on a Math problem, chances are, you don’t know how to solve it.”

Oh yeah, I also decided to monetize test results. Each perfect score will be rewarded with a shiny ten-peso coin. Chinese tests will be a bit more expensive; they get a twenty-peso bill for a perfect test. Aha! Now I know why they studied like crazy!

Anyway, this week the exam results were given out. Naturally, we were confident. My coins were ready, and the kids’ eyes were going “kaching, kaching!”

I was surprised with Patchy’s Math test, but not in a pleasant way. She almost failed it! Looking closer at her paper, I noticed how careless she was, doing division on a problem that called for multiplication. It was sheer disappointment. I’m sure she was terribly disappointed too. Not only is she not getting a coin, but this was also the first time she got a score so low. (Modesty aside, I have a smart girl!)

As for the other subjects, no perfect scores either. She perfected the more expensive Chinese tests though. (Did I say she’s a smart girl?)

A few posts back is an entry on coping with stress. One of the tips were: surrender expectations.

So this is what it means to surrender expectations. Not without reason, my expectations from my children are high. They are smart kids. But this came as a gentle reminder that they are just kids. If we adults commit monumental boo-boos, we should allow our kids to make these little mistakes. I am reminded to take it easy on them, and on myself. This way, we save ourselves from unnecessary stress and disappointment.

Surrender expectations. A small phrase packed with so much. I will definitely mull over it today. It’s a good way of psyching myself up, as VGood’s results aren’t out yet. 😛


UPDATE: VGood’s test results came out yesterday. She did well, had perfect scores for Chinese, Reading, and Math… clap, clap, clap! Kaching, kaching!

But… she flunked the Filipino test. Despite the prepping and the psyching up, I still was not prepared. I still was not not able to scrap the long motherly sermon. I couldn’t help being disappointed. But then, at the end of it all, seeing that all VGood could do was shrug innocently, I take a deep breath and accept reality. They’re just kids. We will just have to study harder next time. And, for sure, I will teach VGood more Filipino words. *sigh*

22 thoughts on “Life 101: On Surrendering Expectations

  1. Hi Chats!! I can understand how you feel. Nowadays kids are trained to be so overly competitive. Not only with their classmates but also with themselves. Sometimes they forget that they’re children. We all have high hopes for our kids, who doesn’t? Maybe it would be better to encourage them rather than push them to be better or even the best. Sounds the same but there is a marked difference between encouraging and pushing.

    As parents it’s really difficult to accept that sometimes our kids fail to live up to “our” expectations. It’s what you do after they fail that really matters. Imbis na pagalitan natin, dapat intindihin na lang natin na sometimes it just happens.

    Have a great day, Chats 🙂

    Hi Cookie! Tumpak! thanks for sharing your insights on encouraging vs. pushing. I am guilty of pushing sometimes.

  2. hi chats! i like that part when you said they’re just kids. i know some parents who really get mad at their kids when they don’t do well in schools. for me, if i was the kid, i would be more discouraged by that rather than be encouraged. so, bow ako sa iyo na even if you got disappointed with Patchy’s test results, you remembered that she’s just a kid. 🙂

    Hi ann. Oh I did get mad… tao lang po. But then I remembered they’re just kids, and that’s when acceptance sinks in.
    I sometimes cannot understand why schools today are so bent on making things too difficult for our kids… when i was a kid, i don’t remember having studied so hard. All we did was play and play, haha.

  3. Surrender Expectations – wow! such powerful words. thanks for this. and I have to agree, sometimes we expect too much from our kids but we forget that they are kids.
    I try my best to instill good study habits and I do grill my kids too but at times I try my very best to pause and say: “hey, they’re kids”. I don’t want to push them to the point where they’ll end up hating learning altogether.
    Great post!!!

    Hi GreyMom! Oo nga eh, I don’t want learning to be miserable for them. I want them to love studying… I guess there is a thin line between pushing and encouraging, as Kongkong said above. Let’s strive to be encouraging.

  4. hi Chats! agree with everything you said here, exactly my thought too. we sometimes wanted our kids to excel and do as we expect them. but then, they’re just kids and it’s but OK to commit mistakes too. we don’t want to be control freaks naman, right?

    i’ve so many things to share, but it’s too long to be a comment so I’ll just make it into a post. let me borrow this post’s inspiration.

    Hi feng! Sige, i will look forward to your post then! 🙂

  5. My kids and I have moments like this. They study hard then they become careless especially in Math. It is disappointing but it is necessary for them to experience mistakes too.

    Hi mixednuts! And don’t we just hate those moments??? hehe, but I guess Life thought we need those moments, those necessary mistakes. 🙂

  6. Hi there.. Just a regular visitor of yours.. Love reading about you and your beautiful family.. I guess I needed this article this a.m. I just finished saying a prayer for my 9th grader as he has a math mid-term today. I do have high expectations and when they don’t do so well I am the one who’s let-down. They are just kids and all we can do is encourage more and just be supportive..

    Hi Judy! Thanks for visiting my blog 🙂
    I am still perplexed with my daughter’s booboo in her math exam. But I guess it really happens… I hope your son’s math test went well!

  7. I agree.

    We need to be able to surrender our expectations so as to not allow them to imprison us away from being happy.

    Hi Mita/buchela! Thanks for visiting my blog.
    I like your insight: expectations imprison us from happiness. Love that one. thanks for sharing it. 🙂

  8. Hi, I’m curious as to how you as a mother handled the unmet expectations. I’m sure this situation will come up in the future for me and I’d love your insight.

    hi pinayhekmi!
    You mean after I shouted and lost my cool? hehe
    I guess it still is surrendering expectations… It’s difficult, and bound to happen again and again. I just hope each time, I’d be better at accepting their faults and weaknesses. Goodness, they’re just kids nga naman.
    On the practical side, my husband and I came up with concrete steps. Between him and me, he’s the level-headed and cool one, so I delegated Math to him. He and Patch have been studying together. That’s how we are: when it’s something I know I can’t handle, I let him take over. I’m glad i’ve got a supportive and involved partner in raising our kids.

  9. I guess that was also very easy for her so she got a bit careless 🙂 well I’m sure if you’re disappointed with it, she’s probably more disappointed with herself. Naku,wawa naman, knowing that she worked so well. I guess you all need a perk up after the results are up irregardless of the scores.

    Hi toni! I think she felt too confident, hence the careless mistake. Sigh.. Such is life.
    I’m glad tomorrow is the start of sembreak! Yes, we all need a break.

  10. monetise hahaha nice way of putting it.

    Like you I keep telling myself sometimes to stop pushing. But I still find myself doing it but not for marked exams. Si Kelvin kasi delayed nga ang speech so minsan nakakalimutan ko na yung ibang aspects ng early learning like counting. I discovered last week na wa sya paki sa counting so kung ano ano nire-recite. Makulit. Pag pinag-focus ko, sige matino alam kung ilan nga yung pinabibilang ko.

    Hayyy Chateau… I have soooo much to learn. I really really pray for patience. At ayaw ko din namang i-scar ang anak ko, mamaya maging takot sa numbers dahil ang lupit ko na pala.

    Oppss haba na nang comment ko sorry.

    Hi auee!
    Vera had delayed speech too. But look at her now, sobrang daldal! I hope Kelvin will soon be daldal too, hehe.
    Ay naku, same here: i need trucks of patience!

  11. Filipino? Julian doesn’t like that too. And Sibika. Sheesh, the way he reads the Filipino words, its as if he can’t speak them!

    Don’t put too much pressure on Patchy. It is not really her, I think the educational system has a problem: trying to teach too much stuff in a fast-paced way so retention of facts learned and real understanding are not satisfactory. This isn’t real learning, its just rote learning, memorization.

    Hi Julie! Yun na nga eh, this really is not learning at all. I am really comsidering home schooling, at least for Vera… Kung kakayanin ng powers ko!

  12. Chats, I agree with you. With the tons of subjects and lessons that kids are expected to grapple with these days, sometimes, I feel that their generation will go down in history as the generation with the earliest cases of heart ailments. Employees are not expected to work at home but kids are expected to do homeworks after gruelling school days tapos may exams pa! And they have more subjects today than we did.

    Hi Connie! Oo nga, I don’t even remember studying half as hard as my kids do! Basta all I did was play and play, and read a bit. School was fun back then, no?

  13. Hi Chats. I can relate. I took time to review my son on his recent exams. Imagine, he is just in pre-school but he has exam pointers already. The award system is good. In Yohan’s case, I promised to buy him a new toy if he does well in his exams.

    He got a perfect score in Math and 1 mistake in Reading (e.g. identifying letters, saying sounds of the letters, etc.). At first I thought how could he make a mistake in reading, he knows the alphabet by heart before he even went to school. Then I realized I was making a fuss (inside my head) about one mistake… silly me … he is after all just in pre-school. Then I just (like what you said) surrendered my expectations and I felt great. At the end of the day, I got him another Transformer toy. 🙂

  14. I like your title “Surrendering Expectations”. I’ll keep that in mind.

    We are our kid’s biggest critics. Lets try to be constructive. There are more tests/exams that will come and I’m sure it’ll be better then (as per your expectation)

  15. I have different expectations of each child, depending on their past performance and perceived potentials. But I didn’t, don’t push. My daughter tells me I might be the reason she didn’t try very hard in classroom work. I didn’t only not nag or scold but would fall all over myself compensating for their failures with gifts.

    What can you say about this mock-chiding from her: “Mommy, you bought my fave icecream when I texted you about being depondent over failing Math. I thought I’d fail another subject and see what you’d bring me.”

  16. We too get drained during exam period of our kids. After you, ako naman ang magmamarathon review with my daughter. That’s also a concern sometimes with my daughter. After so much reviewing, she still gets careless with her Math solutions so my pep talk includes reading and taking note very well of instructions and focus on the questions.

    Hope you had a grand vacation this sem break.

  17. Hi Chats, at last, naka bloghop nako uli. I missed your blog my dear. Naku lahat ng sinabi mo dito and those of our fellow bloggers are very much true. Kakaawa mga kids natin when we push them to be no.1 or have high grades. Like Gabbie, one time she’s really stressed out na she wanted to play, I told her no playing if there’s an exam, she showed me her Makabayan book, and said, “Mama, read this-karapatan ng bata ang maglaro…”Hay, natahimik ako talaga…

  18. After being in a corporate world for years now, I realize one doesn’t need to be super smart to be “successful” and happy. One needs higher EQ and not IQ. So, teach your kids how to deal with stress, failure, etc. and how to nurture relationships. Once they master these things, they’ll be ready for the real world in no time at all. 🙂

    Hi abaniko! True, true. I always tell my kids this: many many years from now when you’re all grown and working and having families of your own, it won’t matter anymore what honors you had in school.

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