Sunday, May 24, 2015

On being "kid-friendly"

When you become a parent, you have a better appreciation of people and places that are accommodating to you and your kids.  I personally think that you don't need to directly deal with kids or have kids to be kid friendly.  I recently had an experience with a bank that compelled me to write to its manager.  To those who know me well, you know that I am not a fan of confrontations (even if its done indirectly),  I also try to be nice and pleasant as much as I can, promise!  I actually wasn't sure if I was going to write a letter, but I was still bothered even if a long time has passed since the incident.

Anyway, here it goes:

Dear Madam:

First of all, thank you for taking time to read this letter.
Before anything else, allow me to introduce myself.  I am a mother of three kids, Ben who is five and twin girls Bridget and Beatrice who are 2 years old.  I live near the area so when my husband and I decided to open an account for the kids, we opened accounts for them in your branch.  Also, one of the reasons why we decided to open an account with you is because your associates, particularly XXXX and XXXX, have been very polite and accommodating with me.  Despite being busy, they take time to say hello and would always ask how I was doing.  They would particularly ask about my children, who I would once in a while bring along with me when I do transactions.
Last, XXXX XX XXXX at about XX am, I decided to make a deposit at your branch and bring my twins along particularly to say hello to XXXXX and XXXX.  I was waiting in line while the girls were walking around.  They were browsing through the brochures when the guard approach me, telling me “hindi laruan yan”, in reference to the brochures, suggesting that I stop my girls from touching them.  I did my best to stay calm, and tried to move the girls away from the brochures.  I was actually appreciative when one of the tellers signaled to me that it was my turn.  But then I was not able to go to her because the twins were making their way to the door (because there was nothing to keep them busy while waiting in line).  One of my girls actually stepped out of the bank already so I had to follow her outside.  The same guard in question saw this and said “yung bata” referring to one of my kids and in my annoyance, I said “ ikaw kasi” and he explained again “ kasi nga hindi laruan ang mga yun” referring to the brochures.  This upset me even more so I said “di bale nalang” and left. 

In any other situation, I would have just calmed down and let it go.  This is why even when I was actually very tempted to return to the bank right away and talk to you or the guard, I didn’t do so.  I wasn’t planning on doing anything about it anymore but taking some time to reflect and pray, I still felt uneasy.  This is why I am writing to you.

Let me say that I am trying to see the perspective of the guard.  He was protective of the things that belonged to the bank and he had a point that those brochures are not for playing but let me also be frank and make some points for a mother and client’s perspective.
As a mom, I am very appreciative to anyone who is accommodating and considerate to my children.  An establishment doesn't have to be directly related to kids in order for it to be child friendly. And as a bank, you probably have a lot of customers that have families of their own.  The guard’s actions were not child and mother friendly, and I was personally turned off by it.  It was insensitive and to be honest, I am not sure if he would have treated me the same way had he realized that I was the mother of the kids.  ( I was dressed quite casually that day)  Also, in my opinion, a few brochures being put out of place is not worth stressing a client over.  My children were neither disrespectful nor distracting to other people.  We may not be big clients, and the guard may not be directly hired by your bank, but what he did yesterday is making me think twice about ever visiting your branch again, which makes me very sad and disappointed because the other personnel of your branch are very nice and warm.

In an ideal world, I would have liked you to talk to the guard and contact me so that he could apologize personally.  But I know that is something I can't expect given your busy schedule.  However, what I do know is that as a parent and business owner, I value establishments that are compassionate to my kids and those who are not leave a lasting negative impression.  So I hope you take that into consideration when you observe how each person that represents your bank treats those who step inside it

Thank you for your time and I wish you all the best.

I was pleasantly surprised that the manager contacted me the day I had someone sent the letter.  We were able to talk and it's all good.  I appreciated the effort of tracking me down since I didn't leave any contact details.  I haven't paid them a visit though.  Was I over-reacting? Maybe.  Please don't judge :) It was a hectic day back then.  Still, I felt that I needed to speak up.  It's not really a requirement for the staff of a shop or office to be extra nice to children, but doing so won't hurt right?:)


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Good Days, Challenging Days

When you have a high-energy, spirited, child, even the smallest of milestones mean a lot.  Ben is a handful, and I have been quite vocal with how nervous I am about how he will do in big school.  I have enrolled him in summer classes and his classes in First Robotics have been one of his favorites.  

I'm always curious how Ben performs in his classes so I was happy that his robotics class had simple reports on how the student did per class.  Here is one report that made me a frustrated

As you can see, teacher Raquel was not happy with how Ben did that day.  I can totally relate to her because there are times when Ben has to be constantly reminded to be focused, listen well, and not distract others.  I remember sending a photo of this to Bry right away because I know he can relate, too.  We then tried to talk to Ben about his behavior and how we can help him.  It takes a lot of willpower on my part to be patient and not be discouraged.  I also tried telling myself that not all days are like this.  I tried to put myself on his shoes, maybe he got too excited, and needed to bring out his excess energy before class.  Maybe, like us, kids have their off days, too.

Here's the feedback on Ben a few sessions after.

So Ben has his good days, after all.  Honestly, my initial reaction was a feeling of relief.  I do hope he continues to improve when it comes to doing assigned tasks.  It's a gentle reminder to take the good days with the challenging ones, just as we want to be accepted during both our on and off days.

Ben and I would have this conversation regularly:
Me "Ben, I love you even if you're makulit"
Ben "Mama, I love you even if you get upset"

And on some days, that's all that we need to hear from each other