How OFWs Prepare For The Start Of Classes Of Their Children

There is a considerable amount of Filipino overseas workers, most of them leaving their children in the country. How do they cope and prepare for the responsibilities of another school year about to start?

Most Filipinos grab the opportunity to work abroad for higher salaries and more job offers that they find difficult to be found in the country.

The very sentiment of these Overseas Filipino Workers being away from their family is an obscure thought; learning to tolerate a life separated from their children.

There were emotional holidays like Christmas, birthdays, graduations, among others, without the OFW-parents’ physical presence. Not being able to be there for a hands-on care for their children must be something that a parent painfully bears.

Thankfully, the technology of online video calls, replaced the snail mail type of communication; hence, this kind of burden seems to be diminished.

Long-Distance Communication Then and Now

In the distant past, the ways of long-distance communications are limited and the OFW, usually the father, can only monitor and update his family conditions irregularly, while mothers are left to tend to the children.

Snail mail normally took two weeks to one month before the OFWs’ handwritten letters reached his family. Balikbayan boxes containing presents and necessities for their children, usually take a few months to be delivered.

Although the electronic mail and instant messaging were introduced to the public during the 90s, which boomed in the early 2000s, not all OFWs were computer literate and didn’t have access to nearby computers.

Long distance telephone call is the primary way of connecting to their loved ones, but the advancements of technology made it easier today, especially when a milestone in their children’s life is taking place, like preparing for school.

Children’s Class Opening and Entire School Year

Although being far from their children is undeniably agonizing, Filipinos are worldly known to be one of the happiest people around the globe. What inspires them?

They are very well renowned for their emotional and mental strength that capable them to endure life’s hardships as long as they’re confident that their family is doing well and safe.

One of the proud moments in their lives, is seeing their children set off for the school year. Gladly, in this smartphone era, a photo or a short video clip is just a few taps away. OFW-parents can gleefully check on their kids in an instant, or perhaps see their kids off to the school service.

OFW-parents do extra preparations before the school year starts. Some of them take a second or sometimes third jobs in their extra time to be able to save more money for school supplies.

Popularly known also as one of the hardest working people globally, OFWs are industrious even if it means risking their health from not getting enough rest, all for the sake of their family.

For instance, if the OFW were given a two-day rest per week, they can take any odd job available for extra income, a wise way to earn for school expenses and miscellaneous like field trips, books, and uniforms.

Working non-stop leaves the OFW-parents no time for themselves; but being able to send their kids to the best educational environment that they can provide makes everything worthwhile.

Another way of preparing for the school year is coordinating with the teachers online. Some parents communicate with the head teachers through social media and coordinate with what their kids need to prepare, and also update them about their progress once the school year has begun.

Through this, the parent can also monitor their kids’ homework or projects and sports activities in school by talking to their children at home via the internet and assisting them.

Another way is preparing their young children by means of orientation through video calls.

Small children are usually anxious about going to school. An overseas parent spend time teaching the child how to think positively by calmly talking to them about encouraging and delightful things about going to school, such as making new friends.

Mind-setting the young child with a positive outlook about what to expect in school and teaching them self-calming strategies, help them to practice appropriate social behavior toward their classmates and teachers.

In the case of having young children, the OFW-parent also coordinate with the guardian of their children daily.

In another case, some overseas parents with teenage children, on a twelve-hour time zone difference, set a daily alarm twice a day, one in the morning and one in the evening.

They talk to them through video calls to make sure they wake up on time and monitor how they prepare at home before leaving for school.

They make sure that books are ready, uniforms and shoes are neat and tidy and breakfast is consumed.  They check up on them, in the evening when their kids are home and ask them about their day and if any homework should be done.

They do what any other OFW parents do; take extra job during weekends to put aside extra money for school expenses.

Being far from home

Being an OFW who caters to the needs of their children, sounds like an almost impossible situation to bear with, but Filipinos never run out of ways to deal with it.

Aside from the emotional angle, they also somehow have to prepare themselves psychologically to get a grip of the situation and always try to focus on the brighter side.

Although, there are many things they have to sacrifice, like a night out with their friends abroad for some relaxation or buying a new gadget, it’s more important for them to put aside these things for the sake of their children in the Philippines.

Each school year that their children complete, is an achievement for them. Though bittersweet, it means that step by step, they are moving up with their children virtually.

Their aspirations of witnessing their kids graduate college someday and becoming successful in their chosen fields is what inspires them and keeps them going in life abroad.

OFWs were dubbed as heroes, especially by their families. We wouldn’t truly learn about their internal sufferings unless we experience what they emotionally undergo being apart from their children.

So, for this incoming school year of 2019, we congratulate the OFW-parents in advance, for yet another challenging year of putting their kids in school, overcoming any obstacles along the way, and being inspirational heroes of their children.

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Overseas Filipino Workers may get their Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) at One-Stop Service Center for OFWs (OSSCO) Palayan at G/F Government Building, Palayan City Business Hub.

Check the directory to inquire the respective government agency at http://palayanbusinesshub.com/ossco/

Kath Borja
Content Writer

Kath Borja is a fanatic of Logic, Science, Arts and Literature. An advocate of peace and feminism. Moon worshipper. Writer, performance artist and master of ceremonies.

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