WHEN a parent realizes that his or her children are growing up in the most ideal way possible, that is certainly priceless. As a mother, I couldn't feel more blessed and thankful for the gift of my sons to us their parents at the end of this school year. Although I did not impose on them to have high grades in school and having passing marks is just fine with me, they managed to be included in the list of students with honors.

You see when I was in school from elementary up to college, I was a consistent honor student. I was studious and a little grade-conscious I suppose but I also participated in other extra-curricular activities like dancing and singing. I would like to believe that I was a well-rounded kid back then. Being on the list of top students really brings a lot of advantages. First and the most significant of these is being able to acquire scholarships and free tuition fee offers that are a big financial help to our parents. Honor students are also given certain distinctions and identities in the school and privileges to represent the school in contests and other activities outside the school. This exposure indeed gives a boost to our self-confidence and vision.

However, when I became a mother of two boys, I recognized that I cannot impose or force them to be like me. At the least, I can only guide and inspire them to do what is right in life. When they started schooling, I did not make a big deal if they were not in the honor roll. I believe that what is important is to know their strengths and weaknesses and use these to better themselves. I saw that my sons were not as interested in academics as I and maybe they inherited the "street-smart" personality of their father. As parents, we would always support them in their interests and if it means that this is not being a top-performing student in school, it is perfectly okay with us.

And so when I was notified by the class advisers that there will be a Recognition Program and that my kids were to receive a commendation for completing the school year with honors, I really just couldn't believe it at first. When it finally sank in, I just hugged and kissed my boys. That feeling was both serendipitous and blissful indeed. As they say, the best things in life are free.

But the most important takeaway here is that parents like us should not impose or force our kids to get high grades. What we must strive for is to ensure that they enjoy learning, they enjoy socializing with others, and that they enjoy discovering things on their own. Grades are just numbers, they may be used to gauge performance but definitely not the gauge to what a person can do best in his or her life. With or without recognition, we should reward our kids for their good behavior and encourage positive discipline as their role models and guardians.