Low grades are usually upsetting for parents, but for Facebook user Jheezel Panga, her son's below-average scores were something to be proud of.
On September 7, 2019, Jheezel and her six-year-old son, Alh Frances, went to Tunasan Elementary School to view Alh's first-quarter report card.
She was caught off-guard when she saw that most of his grades were in the line of seven.
Not wanting to make a scene, Jheezel waited until they got home before she reprimanded Alh.
But on September 20, 2019, Jheezel proudly uploaded her son's report card on Facebook.
Her post went viral because of her caption that read, "Nasabon ko talaga siya to the extent na maiiyak siya.
"I felt so bad kaso kailangan ko ipaintindi sa kanya na mahalaga din ang pag-aaral, although bata pa naman siya.
"But you know what? Although makulit din siya at pasaway minsan, lately, na-realize ko na meron akong intelligently different na anak.
"Paano ko nasabi? Siya kasi yung tipo ng anak na laging may ganitong senaryo...
"'Mama, birthday ng classmate ko bukas. Pabaunan mo ko kanin tapos dalawang itlog, bibigyan ko siya para surprise.'
"'Mama, alam mo yung classmate ko, kawawa kasi wala siyang baon. Eh diba may baon akong biscuit tapos may PHP20 pa ko. Binigyan ko siya 5 para makabili siya soup.'
"'Mama, yung classmate ko laging masakit yung kamay kaya sinulat ko siya sa notebook niya.'
"'Mama, paglaki ko, bibilhan kita ng kotse para di ka na mahihirapan sa amin ni Aki pag aalis tayo na tatlo lang tayo. Kita ko kasi hirap na hirap ka pag tatawid tayo.'"
Jheezel opens up about her relationship with Alh during a phone interview with PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) on September 24, 2019.
She reveals that she was indeed disappointed by her son's below-average grades.
Like other moms in the same situation, Jheezel feels as if she has failed in guiding and educating her child.
"Kaya ko siya napagalitan noon kasi napu-frustrate ako," she explains.
"Parang nag-fail siya, nag-fail rin ako. Kaya na-pressure talaga ako. Nadismaya ako kasi araw-araw naman kami gumagawa ng assignment, araw-araw ko siya tinuturuan 'tapos ganoon."
She says that Alh was proactive in Kinder, but now that he is in Grade 1, he seems to be overwhelmed by the pressure and requirements in school.
She relates, "Noong kinder, naa-awardan pa siya. Kasi iyong mga small na bagay na nagagawa, ino-honor iyon kasi kinder palang naman.
"So lahat sila may award. Best in ganito, ganyan.
"Siguro na-culture shock siya. Unlike noong sa kinder, talagang play, more on pakikipag-kapwa lang. Na-shock siya."
She also tells PEP.ph that his teacher has been advising her to help Alh with his school work.
"Sinasabi niya, 'Mommy pakitutukan din po si Alh sa reading saka sa math niya.'"
Wanting only what's best for her son, Jheezel sets aside her frustration and continuously helps him with everything he needs.
She also maintains good communication with him, and this has encouraged Alh to openly admit to his mom that he's having a hard time in his academics.
"Nahihirapan daw siya. Saka iyong mga classmate niya siguro, mabilis matuto ba," says Jheezel.
"Kunwari may oral recitation, iyong random ba, pag siya ang tinanong, hindi siya nakakasagot."
Jheezel also assists Alh with his assignments every day.
The time they spend solving math problems together not only eases the pressure on Alh, but also strengthens their bond as mother and son.
She relates, "Ayun, bonding kami no'n... Araw-araw mga one to two hours a day.
"'Tapos iyong weekend, pahinga niya iyon."
She adds that her son's innate sweetness has kept things light and fun for both of them, as well as his classmates whom he loves surprising with small gestures of kindness.
"Lagi siyang may kuwento after school. Actually kasi malambing naman talaga siya.
"Ngayon pa lang, may sinabi siya sa akin ngayon.
"Sabi niya, 'Mama, bukas twenty pesos ulit ang ibaon mo sa akin kasi birthday ng classmate ko, iliibre ko ng pizza.'
"Sabi ko, parang gusto ko na magtayo ng charitable institution!" Jheezel gushes.
Besides being "malambing," Alh is also prayerful, especially when he's upset.
Jheezel narrated this story on her Facebook post:
"Pero meron pang pangyayari na nagpaiyak sakin. Yun yung nagkwento siya sakin about sa pagdadasal niya gabi-gabi. 'Mama, alam mo ba naiiyak ako habang nagdadasal ako.' 'Sabi ko Papa Jesus, wini-wish ko po sana tumalino na ko para hindi na nagagalit sakin si mama. Ang bobo ko kasi e. Marunong naman na ko magbasa konti pero mababa pa rin grade ko.'"
Jheezel was taken aback. She wasn't aware of the harm she may have been causing her son.
She saw it as a wake-up call to be gentler on her kid.
"That broke my heart. Naiyak ako mga inay," she said in her post.
"Omg! Di ko napapansin nagiging hard na pala ko masyado sa kanya.
"Nagsorry ako sa kanya kahapon. Humingi ako ng pasensya kung lagi ko siyang napapagalitan.
"Gusto ko lang naman siyang lumaki ng tama at may values.
"Sinabi ko pa na okay lang kahit hindi mataas grades niya, basta maging mabuting bata lang siya, masaya na ko."
During her interview with PEP.ph, the stay-at-home mom clarifies that no one tells Alh that he's incapable of getting good grades.
He just seems to be discouraged by his surroundings.
She states, "Wala namang nag-insinuate sa kanya na bobo siya.
"Parang naisip niya, siyempre kapag lumabas na siya ng bahay, lumalawak na iyong environment niya. Ang rami niyang naririnig."
Jheezel is grateful that her son is able to withstand all the pressure, thanks to the good values that their family is continuously teaching him.
One of these is how to be prayerful.
"Kasi lagi ko siyang sinasabihan, 'Kung meron kang gustong hilingin o kahit wala kang gustong hilingin, magdasal ka,'" she says.
She is also teaching Alh the value of contentment.
Jheezel tells PEP.ph about an incident where Alh got envious of his classmate's crayons.
She narrates, "Nakita niya sa kaklase niya, meron siyang sariling lalagyan ng crayon, iyong parang plastic siya.
"Sabi niya, 'Mama, bilhan mo ko nun.'
"Sabi ko, 'Hindi porke't nakita mo sa iba, dapat meron ka rin. Mali iyon.'"
Jheezel also shows Alh how to show his affection for the people around him by always saying "I love you."
"Actually nagagalit ako kapag sinasabi ko sa kaniyang 'I love you,' gusto ko may balik, ganoon. Nagagalit ako kapag hindi siya nag-a-I love you.'"
The young mom also credits her father and stepmother for helping her raise a good-natured boy.
She says they taught Alh to be generous, as they provided him with much love when he stayed with them in Bicol for two years.
Jheezel is also thankful for the support that she's getting from her fiancé, who happens to be the father of Alh's younger stepbrother, Sef Akiro.
She relates, "Naka-contribute rin sa attitude [ni Alh] iyong kinakasama ko ngayon.
"Mabait, mabait, mapagbigay. Kung ano po iyong binigay kay Sef, ganoon rin kay Alh. Kung ikikiss si Sef, ikikiss rin si Alh."
Jheezel admits that she may have been tough on Alh, but it was only because she wanted him to be just like her—an achiever in school.
"Noong way back noong nag-aaral ako, mataas iyong grades ko.
"Kaya talagang nag-eexpect ako [kay Alh], which is mali," she says.
This incident was indeed a wake-up call to her, telling her not to base Alh's goodness or skills entirely on his grades.
She realized that there is definitely more to her son than his achievements.
"Lately lang nag-sink in sa utak ko na hindi pala talaga grades ang basehan.
"Kasi ako, noong grumaduate ako ng elementary, first honorable mention. Pero hindi ako nakatapos...
"Talagang will ni God na magkaroon ako ng anak na ganito.
"Kung baga, yung lesson na gusto sa akin i-impose ni Lord na wag ka masyadong magbabase sa talino ng tao, mag-base ka according sa kung anong nasa loob niya...
"Iyan yung one thing na natutunan ko talaga [kay Alh]—attitude talaga, attitude."
Asked for her advice to other parents, the young mom's response is simple: veer away from the pressure of social media and appreciate what your child can do.
She concludes, "'Di ba minsan, napre-pressure tayo sa social media kapag [may] nag-post ng high grades.
"Parang ang standard kasi ng lipunan, kapag matalino ka, plus one yun, e.
"Hindi siguro talaga sila tamad. Talagang hindi lang same level ng understanding at saka learning.
"Wag nilang ikahiya kahit line of seven kasi pinaghirapan rin ng anak nila yun.
"Lagi mong i-a-appreciate kung ano ang ginawa ng anak mo.
"Lagi mong i-appreciate ang anak mo kasi anak mo iyan, e.
"Walang ibang magiging proud sa anak mo kasi anak mo iyan, e.
"Ikaw ang maglalabas ng potential niya. Hindi lang sa academics, pati rin sa ibang aspeto."