My Kumon journey started when my mom saw an advertisement along the road, and decided that my cousin and I should give it a try. We then went to Kumon Matina Center, answered some worksheets and I thought, “why not?” The problems seemed so easy and I had fun answering them! After that, I kept telling my mom that I should go to Kumon because it was easy and fun!
The first few months of my Kumon journey were enjoyable. I liked answering my worksheets because they were easy. There came a point when I would even bring my worksheets everywhere and try to finish my homework all at once. I would also compete with my cousin on who would finish first his worksheets first. Given this, Kumon was like a fun game for me when I started.
Kumon has helped me a lot when I was in grade school, especially in math. The subject became easier for me with Kumon’s support, since I did not have to study for math during my examinations anymore, yet I would still manage to get a perfect score. Kumon also helped me in high school since I was able to answer my exams with ease, especially when I had to take my entrance test for science high school. This gave me the advantage to score high in my entrance test.
Learning From My Challenges
I also encountered a lot of challenges in my Kumon journey. One of these was how I needed to manage my time as a student-athlete because I had to train in the morning and in the afternoon, and my parents would always say that I should also prioritize my studies. Allotting time for something new in my hectic schedule was already a challenge itself. I was only able to overcome this by plotting my schedule so that I would have a time table I can strictly follow. I also limited my gadget time and other forms of distraction.
Another challenge I encountered was when I entered high school at the Philippine Science High School – Southern Mindanao Campus. Going to the Center became very difficult because my school was very far from the Center, and this caused me to lag behind my Kumon worksheets. It came to a point when it took me a year and a half to finish one level. However, my mom and I made a deal that motivated me to complete the program!
During my entire stay in Kumon, my parents and my Kumon Instructor were there with me all along. My parents did not only contribute financially, but they also gave me all the time and moral support that they could. Most of all, they taught me pieces of life advice that I carried not only in my Kumon journey but in life as well. These are the three important lessons I learned along the way:
- Know and manage your priorities
Once you are able to rank your priorities, everything will fall into place. You will know what to do first, what to spend your valuable time on, and where to invest your efforts in. Prioritizing your activities can serve as your reference in decision-making. For example, you are in a situation where you have to choose between academics, sports, Kumon, social life, and health. Once you have laid those down, rank them based on what you need to accomplish first. In my case, I would rank my activities this way:
- Social life
To put this into application, let’s say there is an instance where you have an assignment due tomorrow, a training session in the morning, Kumon worksheets to answer, and friends to attend to on your phone. With my priorities listed down, I would do my homework in school and in Kumon first. Since my social time with friends can wait, I usually set it aside. Most of my extra time is dedicated to prioritizing my health and preparing for training the next day. Our priorities may differ from one another, but the right priorities are what makes us stand out from others.
- Set a goal
Once you have a goal, you will start having a sense of direction. My parents always taught me to dream big, and this mindset pushed me to excel as an athlete and a student. My goal is to break the stereotype – that I can excel in both sports and academics. I’m sure that each and everyone has his or her own goals but let me ask you: How can you stand out?
- Approach everything with the right attitude
You need to consider this before doing anything because this kind of attitude dictates the quality and passion you will put into the things you do. My father always taught me that when you need to do something, you have two choices – do it right or not do it at all. I was taught to do things with all my best and with all my heart. I learned that if you only do things for the sake of doing them, you will not go as far as doing them from the heart. Just like in my experience where I trained just to complete a workout, did my assignments just to pass, and did my Kumon worksheets for the sake of answering them.
As time passed, I realized that if you do something half-heartedly, you would only reap half of what you expect. When you do everything with your heart, you will be able to reach places you never thought of reaching.
“People with the drive, passion, determination, and the attitude to face all hardships reap what they sow. Once you carry the attitude you use to face repetitive challenges, your small achievements will then turn into big achievements.”
What I’m Thankful For
My parents and my Kumon Instructor always had my back whenever times get tough. I shared my goals with them, and they helped me achieved them through our collaborative effort. My brother also contributed greatly in pushing me to finish the program because I had to set an example for him, knowing that he wants to be like me. Surrounding yourself with the right people and having self-control will make achieving your goal a lot easier.
The Kumon Program did not only develop my skills and knowledge, but it also shaped my attitude in dealing with challenges and events. If you try taking a step back to see the bigger picture, Kumon does not only equip you with the knowledge and skills but also with values that you will really carry along on a day-to-day basis.
To my fellow Kumon Completers, I hope that you will carry everything you learned in your Kumon journey in the next chapter of your lives. Always look at the bigger picture and never settle for less. Stay committed, determined, and have the right attitude and you will accomplish anything that goes along your way. Dream big so that each of you would stand out in your own little way.
And to all the parents, never be afraid to let your children go out of their comfort zones. Let them soar high and try new things. Be proud when they achieve new things and be there when they fall. Never be afraid to let your kids fly and create their own compass of possibilities.
Jose Manuel Arao | Matina Center
A student tri-athlete, and a director’s list scholar in the Philippine Science High School – Southern Mindanao Campus.