”Listen to what I am not saying”

Post date: Aug 20, 2018 8:57:21 AM

Frederick L. de Guzman

Teacher II, City of Balanga National High School

As a public school teacher, I am mandated to conduct home visitation to learners who are academically and behaviorally “distressed” and on the brink of failing after several attempts of invitation to parents or guardians to discuss the matter in school.

Distressed because most of the youth today are bombarded with so many stressors. Allow me to emphasize some of these and navigate on how our youth or learners behave the way they are today.

Our society as a whole is enslaved with the aftermath of technological advances. The intention is good but the way the intended audience uses it makes it critical. Using cell phone, watching television and surfing the internet are just some of the culprits why the youth become distressed. Generally, it aims to entertain, inform and persuade us in our everyday affairs and functions. But they are so engrossed in using it from the time they wake up till the time they sleep late at night. Unconsciously, they are now slave of technology. The repercussions continue in school performance. They become very “impersonal” individual. They never had any experience of expressing themselves. There were even times when people communicate through text while inside their home. The emotions are suppressed, left and even forgotten. The themes that they catch while watching also makes them ill. They falsely get the subliminal meaning as “good” in their own understanding. The “truth” sets them free.

Another felon is the culture molded by present civilization. Parents often complain of the behavior of the youth today. But up to what extent should they “compare” their time? Or is it fair to equate? The answer lies on how narrow or broad the mind of the older generation is. It is a well-known fact that adolescent stage is the period where a person explores a lot of things out of curiosity. They find it so hard to understand the “concern” their parents or guardians are showing them. As a result, they become rebellious in the eyes of their parents or guardians.

Most of the time, they stay in school and their experience in the family is channeled in this institution where they are ought to learn the life skills. But another culprit comes in. The influence of their peers add to their troublesome mind and persona. Metaphorically, it seems that they ride in the same vehicle that they themselves only know how to propel it driving away against what their parents or guardians lead them.

Considering the effects of media, demand in the present civilization and peer pressure, I think our learners are making their own way to escape to survive, at some point, beyond our knowledge. But looking at their totality as a person, we teachers, as “significant others” in their lives, pose a lot of challenges. Their distressed level would go unprecedentedly without our support and correct understanding. They are visible in our society but lest we dig deeper in what they are not saying, we are at lost. They struggle a lot. There are cases that whenever I do home visitation, the only thing that I would do is to listen to the parents or guardians. Their child would stay there, seated and stooped in the whole duration while listening to the litany. It then came into my mind, “What does this child want to say to his/her parent or guardian? Or was there any instance that the latter asked the former how he/she feels?”

Sometimes, the hardest thing to accept is to hear the unspoken words. We have two ears, but what happens when we put it together? We will form a heart-like shape. What’s the point? Listening with a heart is a struggle. But when we get used to it, even a tiny silence would be easily grasped by our ears. Only if I will be allowed, the next time I will do home visitation? I would ask the parent or guardian to listen to their child. They have a lot to say. Their silence means a lot.

Parents, guardians, take time to listen to what your child is not saying. Remember that our task is not to dictate or demand them to follow us. Earning respect need not be passive. Otherwise, we are not teaching them to be proactive. Let us not lose the values ingrained to our hearts. It is only there waiting to be freed.

Sometimes, it takes courage to accept reality. We can never bring back our time. Let us not lose the opportunity to produce learners who are strong and courageous in times of distress. Let us help them to grow and learn from their mistakes. Let us teach them to reflect. Just like what Henri Nouwen said, “A life not reflected upon is a life not worth living.” It is for all of us. Listen to what others is not saying. Reflect. And be enlightened of what our experiences teaches us.