I am Joan Mae Soco-Bantayan. I am 33 and a mother of two. I married when I was 26 and at that time, my thoughts were all bent about how to become rich and “successful” doing things that I thought would solve my woes.
When my first daughter Kasandra came, things changed. I was a bit worried about the climate change and I was also thinking about what school shall I send her to… things that new parents worry about. Later on, there were times when I asked myself, “Is this all? Perhaps this is the only path to follow when raising children… Buy her beautiful clothes, post them on social media, provide her every need… And to make her happy, some of her wants…”
When my second daughter Kyrstynne came (I and my husband were surprised and a bit reluctant of having her), thoughts about my dire need to earn and have more rose to sky heights. And the endless feeling of wants seemed to choke me and I blamed myself for not having more. I remember talking to myself once, “Now I have two children. Everybody on board, it’s time to rise to great economic freedom.” But even as I earned more and more each time, I ended feeling more and more dissatisfied. There were nights when I would look at my two little girls and I would cry. There is that gaping hole of emptiness in me and looking back, it was telling me that there is something that I should do but have not been doing.
As the enlightened Sufi poet Rumi have said, “It is in the wound that the light enters.” This bouts of night time tears, which at first I have dismissed as ordinary post-partum syndrome but later on admitted as my soul seeking out purpose, led me to self-development seminars like Ike Pono and Mission Courage. It also led me to read more books from Deepak Chopra, Paulo Coelho. There were times when my spiritual search was so up in the air, I don’t know anymore how to bring to practicality the spiritual teachings that I have been reading about.
Incidentally, it was the time when Tuburan Institute was being established by my college teacher Maya Vandenbroeck and her friend Kate Estember. As I was seeking teachings for myself, my husband and I were incessantly looking for a school that would resonate our ideals. The criteria included, (1) a school that encourages learning in the heart of nature, (2) a school that fosters cooperation instead of competition, and (3) a school that really seeks to understand the child. When I joined the Tuburan Institute orientation after much prodding from my sister Joefel who’s a pioneering parent of Tuburan, I knew that I am sending my children there.
Our family got enrolled to Tuburan in 2014 and Kasandra was admitted in pre-school. Alongside this happening, I got introduced to Anastasia, written by Vladimir Megre and the works of Rudolf Steiner. Both writers advocate raising of children with utmost reverence. It’s with them that I found the answer to my question about how to live out the spiritual teachings that are up in the air.
Currently, Kasandra is in Class One and Kyrstynne is in her first year as Kindergarten. Over time, since the parents in Tuburan attend continuing education about the growth of our children, I grew closer to my children and I was able to communicate with them better.
When Kasandra was about to enter Class One, Tuburan had one big challenge, the children don’t have a teacher. Deep inside me, I knew that it’s my turn to embrace the call of being a Waldorf teacher. And so I did. I can now say from the bottom of my heart that being a teacher is such a noble work. And that it is really wonderful to become young again by being with the young ones who have just come from the heavens to meet with us.
In this column, my goal is to bring into consciousness the desire to understand the children and help them as they grow and help our inner child in the process too. Learning continues and to fully learn it, we have to live it. Cheers!