It is amazing what a few days of vacation can do to one’s spirit. It was Holy Week and naturally I went home to my hometown with my boyfriend, Mitch. We spent most of the week attending masses with my family. It was the afternoon of Easter Sunday when my grandfather invited us to join him for supper. I was pretty excited since I knew that meant my grandpa sharing stories with us. I have always loved my grandpa’s stories since I was young until now. Stories mostly about the things he has been through in life. His stories always leave me feeling inspired and motivated and true enough, this invitation left me and Mitch very inspired. My grandpa started his story with a confession. He told us that he once went through a dumb stage which I of course found hard to believe since my grandfather has always been known to possess a brilliant mind in his younger days, and his popularity has continued to amplify even after his years in school. He is now a very successful lawyer and reputable politician. But yes he said when he was about 7 to 10 years old, he attended a barrio school. Back then it was all what my parents could afford for our education, my grandpa said. I could just imagine the kind of education he got from a barrio school. Later when things improved a little with my grandfather’s mother able to work as a teacher in Jimalalud Elementary School, he was transferred there. It was hard being a transfer student my grandpa recalls. So many things he didn’t know and was not taught in the barrio school. It was a challenge for him to just even cope up with his classmates much more excel in class. He remembered this one time in his English class when they were asked to write a friendly letter. It was their first formal theme writing activity. Their teacher, a very strict man nevertheless brilliant explained to them the rules. The teacher checked their work and made corrections in a red ink ballpoint pen. The students then edited their work incorporating their teacher’s corrections. By the end of the day, their work were returned to them.
My grandpa was very excited to see what corrections their teacher made on his letter. So when everyone of his classmates had their work returned, my grandpa smiled. He saw his classmates’ letters with a lot of red corrections. He then hurried home to deliver what he believed to be good news. Reaching their home, he saw his father and immediately told him about their activity. With a grin, he reported to his father that most of his classmates had plenty of corrections while his work had only one word written at the end of his letter which at that time he did not know what it meant. So his dad commented that maybe his grammar was correct as my grandpa handed him his work. His father then read the only word written in red ink as it said, “CONDEMNED”. My grandfather innocently asked his father what it meant and he just told him to ask his mother. When his mother knew what happened, she decided to tutor him everyday. With great determination and hard work to become better, it was not long when my grandfather was able to write great pieces. Later when he was in college he would get the best orator and debater awards in several competitions with brilliant pieces he made.
My grandpa told us that if it weren’t for that particular experience, he would not have strived to become better and he would not have become the person he is now. He ended his story telling us that the moral lesson was simply hard work and determination being essential tools in reaching one’s dreams. Never allow a failure to stop you from trying again. You’ll never know that failure may turn out to be a turning point of what you do best now.