Jodi Sta. Maria shares how dealing with hate made her family more caring

Giselle S. Barrientos

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Jodi Sta. Maria shares how dealing with hate made her family more caring
It’s easier said than done, but Jodi and her family live by the value of alaga

As an actress in the public eye, Jodi Sta. Maria has had to deal with hate in many different  forms. Even counting the years of trolling and bashing online, one of the most distressing kinds  of hate she has dealt with is not in her life as a public figure, but as a mother – when her son experienced bullying. 

“No parent would want their child to be bullied. We felt sad when it happened,” said Jodi, who  shared about a time when her son Thirdy, then a young elementary boy, had to cope with bullying. “Honestly, it angered me too.” 

Adding to Jodi’s frustration, she was overseas at the time due to work and was unable to  instantly come to her son’s aid. “I remember that I was abroad doing a show and I was sent  photos of what happened to my son. I was alarmed and I initially felt helpless because I was so  far away,” she said. 

It’s hard to watch your child go through hurtful experiences alone, and it’s times like this when Jodi and her family needed to remember and hold on to the Filipino value of alaga

Finding composure and care 

“During that time, I felt so mad, helpless, and guilty because I’m the mom. I should be there to  protect him, and yet asan ako? Nasa trabaho ako diba, and wala ako ‘dun sa side niya when it  happened,” said Jodi. “Ang nangyari, as a galit na mother, umuwi ako ng Pilipinas, nakipag-set ako ng meeting sa school kasi ang gusto ko confrontation.” 

She was then told that cases like this needed to first undergo levels of bureaucracy like  paperwork and parent correspondence, which aggravated Jodi inside. “Madaming ganon, so na-frustrate ako. Kakausapin ko na lang yung anak ko about it,” she said. 

Jodi was able to push past her sadness and anger, and used care and ingat instead to find a way to bring clarity to the issue. “Siyempre, kailangan ko muna i-pacify yung sarili ko kasi I don’t  want naman to say things out of rage.” 

Teach by example, #SayItWithIngat 

Jodi learned from that experience how important mindfulness is, and staying calm and composed helps her say her thoughts with ingat. “It taught me to be more mindful of my actions,  because I realized children will most of the time emulate what they see. As parents, although we shouldn’t be too imposing, we should lead through our actions,” she said.

She adds a nugget of wisdom she asks her son to live by. “I always remind my son about the golden rule: ‘Treat others the way you want to be treated.’ Now, if they still behave otherwise, then it’s on the other person na.” 

Being a genuine advocate of fighting hate with care, Jodi has partnered with Paracetamol (Biogesic) in their latest campaign to #SayItWithIngat. Together, they want to spread kindness and care amidst the environments of hate that have infiltrated both offline and online spaces. 

No matter what you’re about to say or do to another person, Jodi shares this practice of  thoughtfulness you can exercise. “I think we should start with a question na: “What if this thing you’ve done to this person was done to you. How [would] you feel?’” 

Alaga always starts from finding empathy, a trait that mothers like Jodi possess for their  children. To touch the future generation, it’s important for parents to create a culture of care that  starts from their family. 

Want to learn how to #SayItWithIngat? Follow Paracetamol (Biogesic) on Facebook or listen to Jodi’s Paano Ba ‘To: The Podcast episode for more tips and stories. – Rappler.com 

If symptoms persist, consult your doctor. 

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