The inspiring story of Norman King—the first Aeta U.P. Graduate
Despite seemingly insurmountable odds, Norman overcame it all to make his tribe proud, thanks to the support of his loving mom.
“Kailangang mabuhay nang masaya at mapayapa.”
This is just one of the many nuggets of wisdom Norman King’s mom Warlita taught him.
The 29-year-old became the pride of his tribe, when he became the first to graduate from a premier state University, the University of the Philippines in Diliman.
His story first went viral in 2017 when he proudly accepted his diploma from the prestigious university in full traditional aeta garb.
The eldest of seven children, Norman’s childhood in the far-flung areas of Pampanga was not easy. He had to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds, including being mocked relentlessly because of his appearance and financial status.
Norman King Inspires Kids To Value Their Parent’s Wisdom
Through all the heartache and discrimination, his mother was there guiding him, to hold on to his faith and to work hard.
“Dapat magka-isa,” Warlita would always remind Norman and his siblings, to build a loving environment of trust and respect in their modest home.
She modelled diligence and a strength of spirit, through simple ways, like how she would lovingly plant and harvest kamote and gabi from the land they inherited from their ancestors as her children’s baon. But her most important pabaon sa buhay was her unfailing wisdom, how she taught her kids that what truly matters is not one’s outward appearance, but having a pure heart.
Fueled by his mother’s love, Norman continues to pursue his dreams.
Now, despite the many opportunities here and abroad, Norman has chosen to devote his time to inspiring young minds at the University of the Philippines Diliman Extension Program in Pampanga. He plans to enter law school soon in order to advocate for his tribe’s ancestral rights, which has been a long-standing struggle for aeta tribes across the country.
He’s truly an inspiration to many students, to keep working hard despite the difficulties of life.
You can watch Safeguard’s touching film starring Norman below.
How Can Parents Make Sure To Keep Kids Inspired to Pursue Their Dreams
Norman’s story can serve not just as inspiration to students, but to parents as well. We have in our power the tools needed to help kids reach for the stars and it can all start in small ways.
1. Practice What You Preach
As a parent, it’s easy to tell kids to work hard and stay positive. But it’s a different challenge to actually model this behavior when you have your own stresses to deal with.
2. Assure Them That Mistakes are a Part of Life
Don’t pressure kids to be perfect. Failing is a part of learning. Once they learn not to beat themselves up over mistakes, then they can truly embrace learning and growing.
3. Believe in Them
Genuinely trust that they have what it takes. Empower them with praise as well as the ability to take critique well. No matter what they hear from peers or even teachers, knowing their parents are rooting for them will strengthen them to face it all.
4. Set Firm Rules with Love
All children need structure and discipline. It’s okay to set rules about doing homework and sleeping early, but make sure that these limits are phrased in ways kids can easily grasp. They need to know that it’s for their own good. Discipline doesn’t have to feel like punishment.
5. Remind Them That They are Special
The world will try to tear them down, but let them know they are valued no matter what. But this should also be coupled with the knowledge that they should also remain humble. Each child is unique and should be loved and cared for. They need to be compassionate to others because no success in life matters if you don’t strive to stay pure in this world full of hate and negativity.
How do you make sure you are a good role model to your kids each day, moms and dads?