BLOG: Caught, not taught

Tin Bartolome

Posted at Jul 23 2016 12:55 AM | Updated as of Jul 23 2016 03:28 AM

“The ties we have with our parents are among the greatest bonds that can ever be made. While we kick and scream for our own individuality, the foundations of our being were nurtured by their love and care. The values, lessons and principles which they imparted upon us will always guide and strengthen us to pursue our own respective paths and hurdle the obstacles along the way.” – Maria Teresa, Lapid Rodriguez

This was how a polymer clay and terra cotta piece “Generation Gap” was explained. Made by young lawyer Michael Geronimo Rodriguez Gomez, it was among the twenty pieces that comprised Playthings and Other Flights of Fancy.

"Generation Gap"

We were invited to the opening of this exhibit and even if Makati is a long way from where we live, we eagerly planned our trip, as if we were going out of town. We’d already seen one of his pieces before, so we were really curious about his other works. Most were political statements but this one really struck me. 

Lawyer/Artist Michael Geronimo R. Gomez

It was the first time I met the artist. Soft-spoken and boyish, “Miqui” as he was called by family, may have been dressed like a lawyer, but without a hint of “yabang” or bravado lawyers are known for. 

Exhibit Poster

We were told that he had been making tiny sculptures of people since he was a child, many of which were heroes. Those on exhibit were political statements, characteristic of progressive minds. The piece I cited earlier was about family, and perhaps a description of the one he belongs to.

Monet Gomez, the artist’s mom

I have known his aunt and uncle for less than a year, but our engagement with them required such openness that it feels like we’ve known them for a lifetime. Our friendship with the artist’s mother (who is such a talented painter) was formed shortly after although we have been collaborating on something we are all passionate about: Positive Education.

I first heard the phrase “caught, not taught” in a seminar-workshop on Positive Education. We’ve all heard “practice what we preach” which, I now realize, should be followed with “because there are chunks of knowledge and skills that are ‘caught, not taught’!” 

For example, children who curse (or say bad words) would, in most cases, have parents who end their sentences with expletives. Smokers would have children who are predisposed to smoking as well. More frightening is the research finding that children exposed to domestic violence (usually physical abuse) would most probably be violent as well.

My husband used to tell our children that it wasn’t okay to watch television during meals, so when he was watching the final stretch of a basketball game, our daughter came up to him and said, “Tatay, is it alright for adults to watch TV while having dinner?” At no time has it been clearer to us that we were not exempt from the rules we make! 

So, what is caught and not taught? Certain life skills and realizations such as what the piece “Generation Gap” conveys.

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.