Another Chapter in my Life Journey: Speaking and Social Business Consulting

“Life always has different chapters. You just can’t be in the same chapter forever. You’ll get stuck.” ~ @WilzKanadi

This quote jumped out at me as I was checking my Twitter timeline. I did not exactly think of my life in terms of chapters but when I look back, I can indeed see the “chapters” and how they have led me to where I am now and what I will be doing down the road.

Life has no limitations

(photo courtesy of “Inspire Positive Soul Sensations” on Facebook)

Chapter 1 – The Driven Life of a Type A Person

In this article, it says “Type A personalities experience a constant sense of urgency: Type A people seem to be in a constant struggle against the clock.  Often, they quickly become impatient with delays and unproductive time, schedule commitments too tightly, and try to do more than one thing at a time, such as reading while eating or watching television.

That pretty much summed me up during my growing up and early corporate years. I lead a very academic- and career-oriented life. Graduating at the top of my class in high school and college were the fruits of that labor. I was just as driven when I joined SGV (over 15 years) where I was exposed to financial audits, research, lectures and training, computer audits and IT consultancy.

In between projects abroad and local work, I also took a 2-year hiatus and went to Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania where I earned my MBA degree under a scholarship from SGV.

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It’s Never Too Late to be a Better Me with the SoMoms

It’s never too late to reinvent or better one’s self.

I’m a golden girl who has been out of corporate life since the mid 90s. It was not a very difficult decision. I almost lost my 4th child while working on a very critical joint venture. The incident made me rethink my previously busy and stressful life and made me exchange it for a homemaker’s hat.

In 2006, I discovered the joys of blogging and began my yoga practice. In 2009, the opportunity to become a citizen advocate opened up to me when I became part of Blog Watch, a citizen watchdog made up of bloggers who pursued social, economic, civic and political issues in order to be catalysts for change. As social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, among others, mushroomed, I found myself engaging netizens more and more on these platforms. With my kids all grown up and half of them out of school and working already, I had more time to pursue activities that were not just personal passions (I should have done these ages ago!) but advocacies that I hope would shape the future for my kids,their kids and everyone else’s kids.

It was a good feeling to see myself transform from 1) this career-driven, corporate woman whose wardrobe consisted of mostly office suits to 2) homemaker who spent a good decade just raising kids and being active in school and once more to 3) an active citizen in the arena of social change through blogging and social media.

What I did not realize was that I was to go through another transformation. One that is still a work-in-progress up to now.

The opportunity first presented itself when Noemi and I joined a group called the #SoMoms (short for Social Media Moms).

Read about how I joined the #SoMoms here.

Soon after I became part of SoMoms, I attended a life coaching talk by Coach Pia Nazareno-Acevedo of OneCORE with the mommies.

Coach Pia

You’d think that at my age, I would have all the experience and know-how I need for the rest of my life. But no. Coach Pia opened my eyes to even more possibilities and opportunities to make the rest of that life more meaningful, not just for me but for my family too. Another chance to be a “Better Me”.

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Educating and Parenting the Net and Next Generation

Yesterday, I attended the annual parent orientation at Xavier School. Unlike past years, there was something different about this year, I realized. I would be attending activities in this school for only one boy (my other boy already graduated high school and is facing a new life as a college freshie).

Ever since Fr. Johnny Go, S.J. took over the helm as School Director, I have seen vast improvements in terms of facilities, quality of faculty, curriculum, use of technology in academe and so many other aspects.  In a previous post, I described how the school turned virtual during Typhoon Ondoy when school was suspended for 10 days. While many schools lost school days, Xavier students continued to study and do assigned homework via the net.

At the orientation, I eagerly awaited Fr. Johnny’s presentation to the parents. His part is always something I look forward to. After all, when the School Director blogs, uses multimedia in his presentations, has a Facebook account and maintains his own YouTube channel, you can be sure his talk would be a very interesting one. I was not disappointed.

Fr. Johnny talked about how important it is for schools (and parents) to learn how to educate and parent this generation of tech-savvy kids.

He described the TV Generation I belong to (the age when baby boomers first encountered a television set and whose free time was spent in front of the boob tube watching episodes of popular shows). He also described the next younger set called Generation X (that age group between mid 30s to mid 40s that were schooled in classrooms where passive learning was the norm: teacher lectures and student “vomits back” what he absorbed during exams).

He next described the 2 generations that students belong to now: The Net Generation (kids from 13 yrs old and up) and the Next Generation (those below 12 years old). These two generations have absolutely no fear for technology; in fact they embrace it wholeheartedly. But with such wide access to information at the tips of their fingertips, schools face a new challenge in teaching them, something that Xavier is moving briskly into. Unlike the generations of parents where  a student WAITS for content before ASSIMILATING it, learning for 21st century kids must entail what Fr. Johnny calls the 5 “-ate’s”:

* LOCATE content (e.g., how to use search engines to find information)

* INTERROGATE the results (learning not to just accept search results as truth but to interrogate which is true, half-true, or false)

* CREATE and COMMUNICATE content

* COLLABORATE with others

At the same time, kids must learn 3 things that go along with ease of technology access and information:

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Kids: Teach Them Well Then Learn to Let Go

Our 4 kids are now either in their teens or in their early 20s. Our oldest boy is spending 6 weeks in Beijing with his schoolmates and teachers. Our oldest girl is on her last year in college and will soon be part of the workforce, either in the Philippines or abroad.

As I ponder on the years that have passed and the prospect of experiencing the “Empty Nest Syndrome” in a decade or even sooner, mixed emotions well up in me. I am happy that they are finding their own place in society and learning to reach deep down in themselves in order to cope with different situations. Another part of me is sad that the babies who were totally dependent on me in their early years are all now growing wings and learning to fly away.

About 4 years ago, this son of ours who is now in Beijing, left on a similar overseas program to Xiamen. First time abroad, first time in China. And he was only in the seventh grade. I remember feeling all anxious about how he would cope being away from us for 6 weeks. He had traveled in the past to the province to be with my in-laws, sometimes spending entire summers there. But he was always with family. That first trip abroad meant no family support. On his return, I saw changes, albeit slight, in our son’s persona. Yes, he had to cope with homesickness, and with weekly laundry chores, and with cultural adjustments. But in the end, he exuded more confidence in himself. When this Beijing program came along this year, he volunteered for it even without any word from us. It was totally his own decision. And he’s now there having a blast.

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Hi Mom! I’m in the Other Room! LOL!

I came across this article at ABS-CBN News Online’s site:

Shock! Teenagers and parents are talking: report

Reuters

LONDON – The family meal may be threatened with extinction but “High-Tech” parents are now communicating much better with their teenagers and giving them more freedom, says child psychologist Richard Woolfson.

Long gone are the days when parents were much more dictatorial and children were to be seen, not heard.

“The consultation, negotiation and mutual respect that goes on between parents and teenagers in families today would probably shock the mums and dads of 50 years ago,” Woolfson said in a study of how family communication has evolved.

Sitting round the table together for a meal was once the bedrock of family life. It is now becoming a thing of the past but Woolfson stressed that was not the end of the world.

“Now we have today’s high-tech family where family communication takes place by email, internet, webcam and mobile phone as well as face-to-face of course,” he said.

That has another beneficial side-effect, Woolfson said in his survey for the T-Mobile phone company.

Parents are now able to contact their kids much more easily and children have become more confident and communicative.

“This means that parents are less worried about their children’s safety because they feel reassured,” Woolfson said.

And the generation gap is not suffering.

“Even grandma and grandpa have entered the world of cyber space to keep close contact with their children and grandchildren, all of which can only be good news for everyone,” Woolfson concluded.

Timely enough that this article came out because I was indeed thinking about this just recently.

The advent of technology has indeed changed somewhat the way my kids and I communicate. Ours is a wi-fi home. Anywhere in the house, one has internet access. And when home, my kids are almost always on the internet — playing games, emailing, YM-ing their friends or doing homework.

When I leave for work, I often sign on to Yahoo Messenger’s SMS service and when I get to work, sign onto my email with chat enabled.

It’s been really convenient and gives me peace of mind since I know I can almost always reach my kids. I can tell the moment M1 and M2 are home as their chat status changes to ONLINE. These are times when I can connect with them by saying hi and asking how their day went. Of course, it is also their chance to tell me things such as “Mom, I need a 1/4 illustration board by tomorrow. Can you buy on the way home?” Sometimes, I have to arbitrate an argument online. Once, i got chat messages that went like this.

C2 (YM-ing me): Mom, Achi …..(went on to describe her argument with sister)

C1 (YM-ing from another computer): Mom, don’t listen to C2…(and goes on to narrate her side)

I am glad for technology since it brings me closer to them, in a sense, as I connect with them the way they are used to communicating. Kids nowadays feel more comfortable with computers than we ever were. No wonder despite there being a landline in the house, they almost never choose to use this, thanks to internet chatting and webcams. But, wary of dangers on the net too, one thing I do is make sure their computers are located in very visible areas. And that means (house rule) — NO LOCKING OF DOORS! There are other house rules related to safety on the internet which I have discussed with them but somehow we have to find a balance now that most people discuss their lives on social networking sites like Facebook, Friendster or MySpace.

Reminds me of one time when I was working in my room, waiting for C1 to come home from school. Knowing that she sometimes surfs the internet even while in the car (using wi-fi hotspots), I decided to check and true enough she was online. So, I sent off a YM to her asking where she was and she promptly replied:

“Hi, Mom! I’m in the other room! LOL!”

How does technology help you connect with your own kids? Do you have any qualms about it? Let me know!

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