Values Before Skills


“Can I do it, Tatay?” He asked just right after I turned off the engine of the car.

“Of course you can! You are good and you already know what to do.” I responded with reassurance that he can pull it through.

We are done with our second year doing homeschool. Elijah will now be an incoming Grade 2. We praise God for the strength and patience given us throughout the yearlong journey. I can confidently say that Elijah is ready to level up….. but this will be his first examination wherein the examiner won’t be Tatay or Mommy. It is sort of releasing Elijah into in the “real world” after months of training.

I admit that I am more nervous than Elijah. My wife, all smiles, just shakes her head as she sense my anxiety. I cannot help but laugh at myself as well.

As Elijah calmly entered the exam room, I was standing for a while behind the glass panels that separates us from the examinees. Before the start of the exam, Elijah and I kept on glancing at each other exchanging thumbs up sign. I also saw him do his own prayer even before the collective prayer of the class.


The exam lasted for around 4 hours. I can see from the outside that some kids are already restless though there were breaks in between. Then there was my Elijah… just seated while taking the exam, quietly chatting with his seatmate while waiting for others to answer and trying to control his smiles every time he is done answering a question. Each time we have the chance to talk during breaks, he assured me that he can do it! That’s my boy! A sudden change in his confidence!

While the exam was ongoing, I decided to enroll him for Grade 2. His report card for grade 1 was handed to us by then. Even when we personally graded him for his works, I am a little bit tensed since this time we will see the average with the input of his family advisor.

Before we get to open the report card of Elijah, we saw the family advisor at the place. We were told that we were too conservative in grading him. We were even reminded not to be too strict on the kid and manage the expectations. Well, I admit that I am a bit “madamot” in grading Elijah and sometimes I tend to set the standards high. May not be totally a good thing but my reason is to teach Elijah to always be content with the outcome of his works after doing his very best. I always tell him that he is doing his assignment for the Lord and as long as it will make God smile, the rest are secondary.

When we decided to do homeschooling, we set our ultimate goal: Values precedes academic excellence. Such as when there are times that our patience was tested, we call to mind: values first. We are aware that there are trade offs. His skills may take time to develop but we want to ensure that his values will constantly grow at a steady pace. His report card is a reflection of that. Cannot be more proud than what Elijah achieved. Not the medals. Not the awards. Not the certificates. Whether or not Elijah will have something to display on our shelves representing his achievements, we will always be proud of him because his accomplishments have eternal value.

And so after 4 hours, Elijah came out of the exam room. All smiles. “Let’s buy toy Tatay for my reward, I did good!”

If he only knew that the toy is nothing in comparison to the reward he will reap as long as he grow in the knowledge and love for the Lord… but we know. In the meantime, we will share with his joy in the simple returns of his hard work.

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