Philippine schools normaly provide a couple of weeks vacation so students could enjoy the Christmas Season and celebrate the New Year. Yesterday marked the start of the school holiday break for my four-year-old son and his classmates. They had a simple Christmas Party organized by their teacher and parents.
With what I saw, it also became a gathering and party for the parents. I wonder who really enjoyed, the kids or the parents?
It was a worthwhile activity, a step in enhancing children's social skills. Being in charge of the parlor games, I tried to inculcate the value of sportsmanship. There were different reactions as some of them lost. Most of them cried and others got mad. It was how parents reacted and guided their kids that caught my attention. Other parents reacted by explaining 'games are like that, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.' Some further pampered their youngsters by providing or promising gifts if they stop crying and behaved. I saw one parent getting mad at the child and yelling that the kid is 'weak' or 'dunce' (kahina naman, tanga!). I find it funny during that time but I am not in favor of that treatment. I hope this will be changed and that the kid will grow with normal behavior.
One of the traditional children party games is the Pabitin (Hanged gift items). We hang hassorted gifts, candies and toys in a trellis. The trellis made of bamboo is tied high on a ceiling and lowered slowly to waiting kids. We tried to organize the kids where the group of smaller kids will have priority spots and a few tries to grab a gift. Ideally, the taller kids will have their turn afterwards. Yes, I was able to control the children...they obeyed. But not the guardians and parents. (And some guests?) No matter how I tried to control and stop them, some of the adults grabbed gifts. And the nerve of some, even grabbed the trellis so it cannot be raised again! These are my sportsmanship example for my kids. I ignored them and we just continued partying -enjoying the foods and games.
For lunch, We had Filipino spaghetti (the sweet version), barbeque, fresh lumpia (burrito-like dish, with vegetable filling and sweet peanut based sauce), ricecakes. laing (taro in coconut milk) and other dishes courtesy of the parents.
A group of boys danced as an intermission number. Backed up by a fast beat Christmas song, parents are of course present coaching their kids to dance! These are the stage parents who moved, grooved and danced along with the children.
Instead of just children, I opted to give the parents the opportunity to play the game of treasure hunt. The parents ran as fast as they could, trying to beat one another in finding the stars of treasure. I gave candy necklace as rewards, which of course will be given to their kids anyway.
I made sure that every child went home with a gift, through a raffle draw that everybody will win anyway. I just asked the children to draw the number and read them aloud on the microphone. Expecting a gift in return as their motivation, most of them behaved as they waited for their respective turn. Another parent prepared a gift for each student which made the children even happier!
The party was capped by an unlimited ice cream treat. Of course, I cannot help but notice the queue of parents to be served by the sorbetero (ice cream vendor).
I believe, the party was successful based on how the kids and.. parents or guardians smiled and laughed. It was a collective effort of a group of parents as well. It was also fun preparing for it.. we did it as a group, from shopping of materials to execution. Other parents were in charge of food preration, the decorations, physical arrangements and the sound system.
Some parents and even the teacher expressed their appreciation of our group's efforts. And I was thankful for their cooperation as well.
Indeed, this little Filipino children's Christmas Party turned out to be the party of their parents and guardians as well.
Now, based on these photos, who really enjoyed the party.. Our Children or we the Parents?