Gifted: Extraordinary Trying To Be Ordinary

It is one thing to be great and yet it is another thing to be happy and fulfilled. Which of these two are you after? ๐Ÿ™‚

Hubby and I watched the movie โ€œGiftedโ€ starring Captain Americaโ€™s Chris Evans. I was captivated by the movieโ€™s portrayal that not all individuals who have the potential to be โ€œgreatโ€ are subjected to societyโ€™s dictates that they be the next Albert Einstein or Bill Gates. It depicted how parents overlooked the fact that greatness is not equated to a life well-lived but only if the child be given the chance to live life by his/her own choosing โ€“ a great life or a life lived otherwise, simple and normal devoid of titles.

The story was set in a small town in Tampa, Florida and revolved around the life of 7-year old Mary Adler (McKenna Grace) whoโ€™s been living with her Uncle Frank (Chris Evans). Maryโ€™s remarkable talent in Math was discovered by her 1st grade teacher and raised this concern with the schoolโ€™s principal who then proposed to Frank that Mary be sent to a school for the gifted. However, this setup changed when a battle on custody between her uncle and grandmother took place. Maryโ€™s grandmother intended on giving Mary full access on all resources to maximize her potential while her Uncle Frank, on the other hand, wanted to fulfill the request of his late sister (Maryโ€™s mom) that Mary should experience a normal childhood. The story ended with the courtโ€™s decision that Frank be granted custody over Mary and Mary taking regular classes in a public grade school in the morning and taking high level college courses in the afternoon.

Special Education gave way in addressing these problems regarding special children or children with special needs. I was very curious regarding this branch of education back in 2008 when I worked as a communication assistant for the deaf and mute which then prompted me to pursue a graduate study in this field. My eldest sister graduated with a degree in Special Education also and Iโ€™ve heard her recount stories and experiences in dealing with special children.

Out of my curiosity to understand them better and the dire need to alleviate the challenges they go through, it led me to finding out that there are actually more of these children who are trying to live โ€˜normalโ€™ lives out there. It is not only a constant challenge to these children but to their parents as well who try all the best they could to give them a normal life.

Nowadays, the idea of Special Education is not so new anymore in our society. For those who havenโ€™t been truly exposed in what Special Education is all about, the general objective of it is good in all aspects. However, as practitioners of this branch of education, there are some challenges that Special Education still has to address in which researchers are currently exploring. This ranges from teacher competencies to the after-school support programs because education for these children doesnโ€™t end in the four corners of the academe.

The demands are greater โ€“ demands for better understanding on a holistic sense i.e. emotional, social, biological, intellectual, behavioral, etc. Indeed, their education is referred to as “special” because they are not regular students who fit more or less in a standardized curriculum. With these children, however, the Individualized Educational Plan addresses their needs best, academically speaking. But there are other needs that should be met as well i.e. emotional, social, and behavioral development in which a Special Education school with special students alone may not be able to cater.

As with the case of Mary, she is intellectually gifted. But if we will focus on just unleashing her full potential just like what her grandmother wants, she truly may miss a lot most especially her childhood. It was portrayed in the movie that Maryโ€™s mom committed suicide which, I assume, has something to do with her low emotional quotient though considered as a Math prodigy. This low EQ, I believe, has been sidetracked as the school for the gifted she attended focused more on improving the technical side of her intellectual giftedness not taking into consideration the other essential factors needed in order for her to function fully and normally as a human being.

This movie is an eye opener most especially to parents either of a special child or a normal one. Though we all have dreams for our children to have the best in life and give them the best opportunities around, what matters still is not the achievement nor success (worldly definition) they could have in this life but to live it according not to our standards as parents nor of this worldโ€™s but that of Godโ€™s. God knows His plans for our children. We just need to trust in Him that He will give us, parents, the right instructions to raise them well according to His plans.

And what does God say about gifts? My previous article will answer that. *wink* Or better yet, watch the entire movie. In the meantime, enjoy the trailer of the movie below. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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A Father’s Day Special: Courageous

This movie review is a Father’s Day tribute to honor the roles of the father in the family and in society. If you are wondering why I don’t have a Mother’s Day tribute here in my blog for this year, hubby and I went home to my province and celebrated it with my 69-year old Mom and 91-year old grandma – two great matriarchs in my family.

Time has it that I can’t visit my hometown again and celebrate Father’s Day this June 19 with my 76-year old Dad. I thought about honoring my Dad here instead. Since he is not updated with theย technology-drivenย world, he’d probably joke around saying what I wrote about him over social media will alreadyย “expire”ย  before it reaches him. Yup, funny, my Dad is. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Even funnier when you see this photo of us around year 2011. ๐Ÿ˜€

Before I proceed with the movie review, I’d like to share some snippets on who my Dad is. My brother wrote an essay about him 11 years ago which was selected as one of the articles read at the graduation rites of my brother’s class (Sanlingan 2005)ย  in the Philippine Military Academy. When the announcer started reading Kuya’s essay during the ceremony, there came the gushing and shedding of tears – our tears. It did bring us all to tears because my brother was right, our Dad is “The Unsung Hero” and yet loved and respected by all.

Taken inside the cockpit of the Cessna aircraft during Kuya’s Naval Aviation Group Graduation year 2010.

Our Dad is a man of few words and yet he cracks the silliest of jokes. He is seldom the disciplinarian and yet when discipline comes from him, we all remembered this need to hide as his discipline would mean leaving a mark for the rest of your life. He seldom gets angry but when he does, it is the kind of anger that you would not want to see.

I am grateful though to my Dad for this thing called “discipline.” ย If it wasn’t for this, our lives might be in a total mess right now, without direction. Now that I am a believer, I have learned that discipline in a family is very important not to show who’s the boss in the household but for parents to guide their children in the right way and in the right things only because they love them and only wanted the best for them. Just like how God disciplines and rebukes us, a Father to His sons and daughters, so we could live fruitful and better lives.

My Mom is never the stage mom type and when I was in grade school, I was always invited to participate in dance numbers, presentations, oral declamations, etc. So you’ve probably guessed who was with me most of the time in those instances – my Dad. ๐Ÿ˜€

It is a #FlashbackFriday today so please allow me to backtrack a little bit further to when I was in grade school just to share some photos of moi and the extra curricular activities I have mentioned:

Sitting in with the Grade 1 class as I am still a year younger.

Preparing for an ati-atihan folk dance number when I was 6 years old. That’s me second to the right.

Before there was Walking Dead, there was zombie dance. lol Seriously, this is a Hawaiian dance number.

Before Walking Dead, there was zombie dance. lol Seriously, this is a Hawaiian dance number.

Grade 3, Star Scout Camping. There’s another star scouter wanting to have her photo taken with me before our dance number – except that she became a photo bomber. Tsk, too late. ๐Ÿ˜€

Loving my childhood because of Girl Scout Camping. This was during our hiking and swimming at Obou Falls.

Loving my childhood because of Girl Scout Camping. This was during our hiking and swimming at Obou Falls with childhood friends and classmates. That’s me in the middle wearing a white shirt.

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Playing the role of a bridesmaid.

Competed with other schools in the folk dance category during the Literary & Musical Contest.

Competed with other schools in the folk dance category during the Literary & Musical Contest.

School play during my last year in grade school and played the role Thisbe in the Greek story "Pyramus and Thisbe."

School play during my last year in grade school and played the role of Thisbe in one of the stories in Greek mythology, “Pyramus and Thisbe.”

I’d just like to give credit to my Dad for being our all-time photographer – these photos and memories wouldn’t have been made possible. Nope, I am not a Daddy’s girl and I do not consider myself as one. I never experienced being so absolutely clingy to my Dad but at some point I did feel a deeper connection with him more than my Mom when I was in high school. But when I got into college, I felt that both my parents did so well in raising us all and they never had any favoritism on any of us five siblings.

I believe one thing that I am forever grateful to God is the fact that I grew up with both my parents present through every milestone that we went through. Though we all had to leave home when we all went to college, we always look forward to the days wherein we will all come home together and both our parents are there to welcome us.

As for my Dad, I admired him for being a civil engineer by weekdays and farmer by weekends (tending farms is difficult) ย just to make sure we have enough for all our expenses as a family while Mom was a grade school teacher on weekdays and stayed at home cleaning, gardening, cooking and doing take-home work on weekends. But this kind of setup didn’t mean Dad had no time for us at home. It was, on the other hand, quite the opposite. Despite juggling through a lot of responsibilities at work and at home, my Dad made sure all our needs (not just material things)ย  were well provided for including emotional support, bonding time, etc.

Dad, the civil engineer, fresh from oath taking during his late 20s.

Dad, the civil engineer, fresh from oath taking during his late 20s.

Dad, the farmer, and me, the farm girl. I mean, the photographer. ;-)

Dad, the farmer, and me, the farm girl. I mean, the photographer. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’d like to share at this point a little trivia on me – I was Daddy’s little maid. We all are actually but I believe it is more of a “youngest”ย  thing. *wink* ย Yes, every time he is cutting grass in the garden with the lawn mower and he was all sweaty, here goes him calling out to his “errand girl”:

“Nen (my nickname which is short for Nene)! Please get me a glass of cold water and towelette and wipe my back dry from sweat.”ย 

Then after a hard day’s work at the farm, here comes Daddy calling me out to give him a back massage while he is resting. When I was little, back massages for my Dad means I am to do my “cat walk”ย  on his back while he’s lying face down. Well, that was before I was skinny and little. When I grew older, it became the regular back massage.

It was only when I was in college and the only child in the family still studying that my parents were able to gather enough funds for our house to have it completely constructed – the product of all their hard work, patience and persistence. But it is more than just constructing a house that they have built for they have actually built something greater in us over the years.

Reminiscing our younger moments spent with our parents, we saw and we were taught how to value hard work over riches and accumulation of possessions, quality time with loved ones than splurging and being with a lot of people on grand occasions, and being content with whatever we have. They didn’t particularly instruct us with bible verses on how to live our lives but now that I am slowly learning the bible day by day, I realized that my parents brought us up according to the Scripture – live life simply with fear in the Lord.

To end this part, I’d like to share this text message that my Dad texted me about a current challenge that I am going through. This was in the vernacular (Bicol), so I’d just translate it for you:

“As long as you trust in yourself, you trust in God and if it is meant for you, it will and it will come.”

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Of course, Mom also has something similar regarding another event which I informed her yesterday:

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Never mind the exclamation point because my Mom wasn’t angry nor excited, she just wanted to emphasize the last statement.ย That is how my Mom texts – stressed words in capital letters accompanied by exclamation points at the end a.k.a. generation gap. lol I’m just kidding. It’s a good thing my Mom doesn’t read this. But if she does, errrr, love you Mom! ๐Ÿ˜€

Another thing, praise God for Skype – long distance relationships now have been made easier to deal with. My Dad, through me, might sound like such a perfect man to anyone reading this. But honestly, like any Dad in this world, he is not perfect either. Well, let’s just say he’s just close to being perfect. I chose to see him that way despite his imperfections. He is our hero, anyway.

“Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” – Exodus 20:12

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Year 2012 portrait of Mom and Dad. ๐Ÿ™‚

Now on to the movie review. This is by far one of the best movies I have watched with the main focus on fathers. If I have to commend the Kendricks brothers for producing such great Christian films, that is for the reason that majority of the scenes portrayed all depict real-life situations. Although we can say that some were tweaked to fit the entire theme of the movie, I wouldn’t give it much of a consideration actually. Moreover, if all the scenes were to happen in real life, some may take quite some time to take place and not according to how the movie scenes have been sequenced and yet what is important is the lesson behind it according to the Christian faith.

Not all relationships and marriages are the same. It always is a case to case basis and yet watching it now made me know what to expect and what to do if time comes I’m walking on similar shoes with that of the movie characters. I highly encourage all the young men out there, fathers, and soon-to-be fathers to watch this film and I am praying they, too, will step up to the place that God has called them to be – to be Godly leaders or future leaders of their homes. My husband and I watched it together and what he blurted to me after watching was this,

“Honey, can you look up on the internet for more movies like that?”ย 

Ah yes, that’s an affirmation, a positive response. I was just glad that was the kind of response that the movie elicited from him. I wasn’t expecting anything at all regarding my husband’s reaction though I did my research what the movie was all about prior to watching. I just thought we’ll view it like any regular “chill time”ย  movie that we come across and watch during rest days.

Praise God for sending the Spirit and the guidance (preparing the hearts, minds and souls) how to take the movie in. I only recommend movies if I rated it with 5 starsย (very good)ย  meaning it made such a life-changing impact on me i.e. how I view things, my perspective and reactions on certain things, my lifestyle, attitude and character, etc. No second thoughts, no hesitations, I am definitely recommending this.

Hubby and I watched it a couple of weeks ago and we both agreed this is such a perfect movie to watch on Father’s Day. Thus, I’ll cut this short for now and let you watch it but first, don’t forget to shower your Dad with much love and appreciation on his special day as a father. ๐Ÿ™‚

The Ginete family at Dad’s ancestral house circa 1993 and my favorite sheepish, no-teeth smile which I never seem to outgrow. ๐Ÿ˜€

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TO ALL THE FATHERS and most especially to my ONE, GREAT FATHER from up above, FATHER GOD! โค

RESOLUTION

“…I now believe that God desires for EVERY father to courageously step up and do whatever it takes to be involved in the lives of his children. But more than just being there providing for them, he is to walk with them through their young lives and be a visual representation of the character of God, their father in heaven.

A father should love his children, and seek to win their hearts. He should protect them, discipline them, and teach them about God. He should model how to walk with integrity and treat others with respect, and should call out his children to become responsible men and women, who live their lives for what matters in eternity.

Some men will hear this, and mock it. Or ignore it. But I tell you that as a father, you are accountable to God for the position of influence He has given you. You can’t fall asleep at the wheel, only to wake up one day and realize that your job or your hobbies have no eternal value, but the souls of your children do.

Some men will hear this and agree with it, but have no resolve to live it out. Instead, they will live for themselves, and waste the opportunity to leave a godly legacy for the next generation.

But there are some men, who regardless of the mistakes we’ve made in the past, regardless of what our fathers did NOT do for us, will give the strength of our arms and the rest of our days to loving God with all that we are and to teach our children to do the same.

And whenever possible to love and mentor others who have no father in their lives, but who desperately need help and direction. And we are inviting any man whose heart is willing and courageous, to join us in this resolution.

In my home, the decision has already been made. You don’t have to ask who will guide my family, because by God’s grace, I will. You don’t have to ask who will teach my son to follow Christ, because I will.

Who will accept the responsibility of providing and protecting my family? I will. Who will ask God to break the chain of destructive patterns in my family’s history? I will. Who will pray for, and bless my children to boldly pursue whatever God calls them to do? I am their father. I will.

I accept this responsibility and it is my privilege to embrace it. I want the favor of God and His blessing on my home. Any good man does. So where are you men of courage? Where are you, fathers who fear the Lord? It’s time to rise up and answer the call that God has given to you and to say I will. I will. I will!”

–ย Adam Mitchell, COURAGEOUS