This topic may actually sound weird, but not for parents like us. After Arizza won the prestigious Zonta International Young Women for Public Affairs (YWPA) Award, we have had numerous inquiries through email, FB chat, text and personal inquiries from young people, parents, schools and organizations regarding tips on how they can win such award.
To answer them all, I would try to give some pointers on how Arizza got Zonta’s attention and in effect won a whopping US $4,000 from the Zonta Foundation. First and foremost, your children must have the right heart, attitude and high sense of sacrifice to do community and volunteer work activities.
Although Arizza is a good writer, it was not her writing per se that got Zonta’s attention because there are probably other applicants from here, from Zonta’s Region 17 (Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines) or even the world who write better than her, especially those who spoke English as their native tongue.
But it was Arizza’s actions and convictions that won her the international title. In short, she impressed the 1,200 Zonta clubs across 64 countries which reviewed the thousands of teenagers nominated for the world annual YWPA search with WHAT SHE DID THAN WHAT SHE WROTE ABOUT.
In sum, here are things me and my wife Ann did to instil the self-giving and socially aware attitude in Arizza:
1.) Entering pre-school in Manila and being laugh at for not knowing Tagalog having come from the Chavacano-speaking city of Zamboanga, we worked hard to assure Arizza to that she is as good as anyone else in spite her unique background.
2.) We instilled in her pride of her Christian and Muslim/Chavacano and Tausug roots because that would make her unique and stand above the rest. Conformity and mediocrity are never in her vocabulary.
3.) Having come from the province, we told her to work triple hard than her classmates in Manila to overcome language and cultural barriers. Early on she understood television and video games are not very important gadgets and exposure to them is limited to weekends.
4.) As a result, she became a bookworm early on. Still, we encouraged her to be well-rounded and her early ambition was to be a dancer like her idol Britney Spears and she did sing and dance well in her early years.
5.) We also encouraged her to be a good speaker by encouraging and training her as she joined oratorical contests at the School of the Holy Spirit where she graduated valedictorian and won the leadership and other awards. She also headed the all-girls school’s student government. Likewise, she was one of the school’s bets in the annual Metrobank national math competitions.
6.) Her confidence in public speaking came from speaking before schools where we brought books to in Zamboanga City starting from 2001 when Arizza was 7 years old. She continues to do that for the Kris Library.
7.) To give her a high sense of community awareness, we allow her to befriend and play with children living in the slum communities in our Quezon City residence. Her early birthdays were dedicated to these kids, along with the traditional New Year gift-giving programs to hundreds of poor kids in Don Antonio Heights, Diliman, Quezon City.
8.) Both Arizza and our second child Ashia got the same kind of discipline and training. There is no favouritism and we encourage them both to explore and pursue their individual talents. Seeing Ashia having being less academically inclined than Arizza, we encouraged and supported her love for golf.
9.) As a result, the two has no sibling rivalries as Arizza wins her academic medals, go to India to represent the Philippines in a world youth leadership award etc; Ashia makes her own wave as one of the country’s top junior golfers where she once made it among the Top 5 junior world golfers as well as made news on television and newspapers for making a record-breaking four holes in one, the first happening at the Callaway Junior World Golf Tournament in the US when she was only six years old (she was already bringing the Philippine flag and making the country proud at such a young age)!
10.) We also encouraged both try to explore and excel in both of their fields of expertise. While Arizza is supposedly into academics, we encouraged her to go into sports; she used to be the team captain of the girls’ soccer team at the Philippine Science High School. We did not want her to be a “nerd” simply because she was good in academics. She continues to play soccer at the University of the Philippines.
11.) We also try to give time and good example to our kids. No matter how busy we are, we try to make it home to dinner to have a bonding time with them and know about their day and happenings in school. We watch movies and the news together and discuss with them issues they watch on Tv or read in books or newspapers.
12.) Lastly, we deal with their mood swings and growing up problems by telling them this mantra: “The best way to be happy is to make someone or other people happy.”
There, I hope this will suffice as an answer to the queries I’ve been receiving lately. I hope these humble attempt to help you with your kids have been of help to you. They may not all win awards, but growing up as good and successful students and professionals – patriotic Filipinos – could be the best award of all.
Likewise, should you want your to give your kids venue and opportunity to exercise and practice their sense of service and community work, feel free to have them join our Kris Library army of volunteers by contacting Arizz or me at firstname.lastname@example.org or zamboyo66@yahoo or joining our FB page at http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000630404508#!/groups/185794691475292/
Good luck and good day to you all!