When I was a little kid, I was painfully shy. Well, I still am, but I could at least manage it better now. I could even go crazy with my closest friends – in a geeky way of course, because I don’t drink, smoke or party. When I was little, however, my mom signed me up for things that I felt I was not quite built for. For example, I was a majorette in fourth grade but I had two left feet. The teacher who was head of the Drum and Melodica Corps in my elementary school was frequently frustrated with me. I did not really want to be there in the first place, I wanted to protest, but held my tongue as usual.
below: (me, at age 7 with my brother Richard, at age 4)
One of the most unforgettable experiences I had when I was small happened when I was six years old and was part of a group of children who were to dress up as angels during Easter Sunday as part of the “Salubong” tradition. The Salubong is basically a reenactment of the Resurrection with Mother Mary, angels and the rest meeting the Risen Christ as a new day rises.
There was a lot of fundraising going on for the church. The boy and girl with the most money raised will be the ones to play the most major angel roles during the early dawn of Easter Sunday. They will be held by ropes by the waists and will sort of fly around.
My family could barely find people who were willing to give donations. So, of course, I ended up as one of the singing angels on the sidelines. It was actually fine with me because I did not really want to end up raised high above with a possibly uncomfortable rope around my waist. I understand now, however, how parents and children really value the very concept of winning and not really the prize. Knowing that a lot of people support you is also a good thing. The kids, though uncomfortable, were the centers of attention. They reveled in the experience, at least if they were the sort who liked to be noticed.
(Joreb and me, early 2010)
I flashbacked to this experience recently because I have been signing up my toddler Joreb in all sorts of contests. The Smart Parenting Model Search was attractive to us because it would mean either getting on the cover of the March 2013 issue of the magazine as grand prize winner, or at least being featured in at least one of the pages as one of the top six kids. Conscious of what such an event could do to a shy kid, I tried to gauge Joreb’s reactions when he saw the other kids. Was he comfy about it? Was he scared? Thankfully, Joreb is not as shy as I was. He turned out to be a lot more confident, a trait he got from my mom and his dad.
Upon the recommendation of one of his godmothers, I also entered Joreb in the Mead Johnson Book of Best Starts competition. Kids are battling for Facebook votes this time. The top ten kids will each get iPad 3s. The next 10 kids will get 2000 pesos worth of gift certificates. Joreb already has a 7″ tablet. So, our entry is not motivated by the prize. We just want to know if we can win. We also want to know just how many people will be supporting him. Quite a few had already enthusiastically voted and to them – win or lose – I am forever grateful. Some kids already have 600 plus votes because they used Mead Johnson products in three of their pictures. Joreb only has 200 plus votes because his Sustagen photo was worth 200 points. It is a long shot, we know, but the whole campaigning thing is fun. It is also a road full of discoveries.