I’m joining two online events today – the Breaking Barriers Blog Tour and the Bumasa at Lumaya social media book fest – both hosted by Ms Zarah Gagatiga of School Librarian in Action. I was planning to do separate posts for each but realised that the two books I’m featuring have a connection.
Love is Stronger than Anger
Breaking Barrier: How to Knock Out Adversity and Live Life as a Champion is an inspirational book written by John Couret, the CEO of WriteHook Media and a motivational speaker. It provides advice on how to be a “champion” in life using boxing as metaphor. And to substantiate his advice, he recounts parts of his life.
One account that made me realise a thing about teenhood is the chapter “Love is Stronger than Anger.” Here, John Couret shares to us his relationship with his daughter, Victoria, when she was still a teenager. And for John, who‘s divorced with Victoria’s mother, teen Victoria was a pain. He says, “I was dealing with everything from her sneaking out at night to finding cigarette ashes on the window sill of her bedroom.” And Victoria’s “rebelliousness” climaxed when she became pregnant before her eighteenth birthday. It was difficult for John at first to deal with the situation, but he soon realised that his daughter needs him that time. And that realisation was the start of his renewed relationship with his daughter and granddaughter.
Though I sympathise with John, what intrigued me with this chapter is teen Victoria’s experience. I think, Victoria is just being herself that time. Rebelliousness is a manifestation in teens’ life that they want to explore their individuality and their sense of purpose in life. But this doesn’t mean that teens can do whatever they want, and this is where guidance from family comes in. Parents should have an understanding of what teens are undergoing so they could guide them during this stage in life. And John suggests that communication is the key to strengthen the relationship between parents and children.
I Hate My Mother
This chapter in Breaking Barriers reminds me of one of the first Filipino YA books that I’ve read – Perpi Tiongson’s I Hate My Mother. From the title itself, it is about a teenage girl who “hates” her mother, as shown in this excerpt:
But as the years went by, it only became harder for me to understand anything Mommy would say. Even in my most patient moments, no beam of light would shine on me or on Mommy’s words. Parang I was losing all capacity for understanding.
But then again, more and more, I would come to believe it was my Mom who was losing all her wisdom.
This book is significant to me as a writer and reader of Filipino books for children and teens because it made me realise the there are countless possibilities for books – that books could tackle critical issues of teenhood, that it’s normal to feel hatred. Since then (I was a teenager then), I started imagining writing books that speak of children’s and teens’ real struggles and experiences.
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