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  • Approved for CNN

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    Posted December 11, 2012 by
    San Juan City, Philippines
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    What was your best moment of 2012?

    More from VeronicaLon

    "Why can't I quit? You did."


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     VeronicaLon chose these two images as her best moments of 2012 for their personal significance.

    The first was taken at a song writing workshop she attended with her son in San Juan City, the Philippines. "I took this photo because I wanted to capture his enthusiasm and spirit when he writes," she says.

    The second is of her posing with the Spirit Award which she was presented with for her contribution to CNN's iReport project.

    "I intentionally took my photo holding the award so my son will always see the smile and happiness that come from following your heart and doing your best in all that you do," she explains.

    "These photos captured my beliefs - that to be able to teach a child, adults should learn first. Parents should be good examples to their children. This is a great achievement for me and I reached for it because of my son. It did not only empower me but my son as well."
    - eoghan, CNN iReport producer

    These photos captured my 2012 highlight.


    When my son turned 10, he began showing interest in writing stories and poems. Everytime we go to the mall, on every occasion, he asks for a new notebook and pen.


    He has written stories about horror, adventure and what young boys dream about. He was a typical bashful young boy and, sadly, was afraid of being judged based on the quality of his literary work.


    At the advent of his awkward age he stopped writing.


    Writing and sharing stories was one of my frustrations. Just like him, I started writing at a young age but stopped when I was in high school. I’ve always had that nagging sting of regret and I seriously do not want him to feel that.


    Trying my best to be a ‘cool’ mom, I repeatedly but delicately prompted him to think about writing again.


    One day I heard him say. “It’s difficult... Why can’t I quit? You did.”




    While reading news articles, I came across the CNN Freedom Project. I joined CNN iReport on June 29, 2011, to help out. I submitted my first video and story. That led to another story and so on.


    In Atlanta, the CNN iReport awards night was held on June 24, 2012. The CNN iReport Spirit Award in this photo arrived on July 5, 2012. I am deeply grateful.


    Guess who I showed it to first – my son!


    “I didn’t quit.” I told him. “Please do what your heart tells you to do, ‘anak’ (my son).”


    Just like that, he went back to writing. His poems ‘Who Am I in School’, ‘Being Racist’ and ‘The people, Cybercrime and the Government’ were chosen among many submissions and posted on his high school’s bulletin board for everyone to see. I am so proud of my son.


    Action definitely speaks louder than words. I am glad I was able to show him that.


    Now, this is what I always remind him.


    “Be yourself. Above all, let who you are, what you are, what you believe, shine through every sentence you write, every piece you finish.” - John Jakes


    For the coming year, I am looking forward to working with a local broadcasting company and an online publication to help empower women and children.


    Thanks to CNN iReport. The training and opportunities given by the community are substantial.


    I am not just going to test the waters but engage in it because that is what I want. That is what my heart is telling me to do.

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