(A Personal Essay)
I am so blessed because God gave me the best parents in the world.
My parents are not perfect persons. They are flawed and sinful – like you and me. They were not even the best couple. They eventually decided to dissolve the marriage that produced me and my two siblings. But believe it or not – they are the best parents a son or a daughter could ever dream of having.
I love and respect them both.
Nobody could do what my parents did for me and my elder brother and younger sister. They have done more than what mothers and fathers ought to do for their children. Their sacrifices to ensure that I and my siblings get past the critical stages of infancy was tremendous to say the least. They were there for us as we advance from childhood to early adulthood. They were never remiss of their obligations. They performed their duties as parents, with love and joy. I would never forget how hard they tried to ensure that we would have what we needed to survive until we reached the age when we could already take care of (and decide for) ourselves.
What my parents did for us went way beyond providing our physiological needs. They loved us unconditionally and provided us security and belongingness. And despite their personal imperfections, they did not forget to empower us through the values which they tried to teach us and to model through their examples.
When we were young, my mom, a devout Catholic, strictly required us to be home by 6 o’clock PM so we could recite the Angelus and pray the Rosary together. Failure to do so would be met by painful whips delivered through a long thin bamboo stick. Both of my parent are loving and caring but we’d better tow the lines they have drawn or else we would face dire consequences.
Those bamboo sticks taught me one thing – discipline. When I experienced how painful it was to be struck by them for the first time, I said never again. So, I followed the instructions of my parents to the letter.
We would have dinner after our prayers then my mother would help us do our homework. She would require us to read our books after those tutorial sessions.
That was how we were introduced to the values of prayer, discipline, and education. My mom was chiefly responsible for laying the foundation of my faith and for developing my study habits. She also kindled my competitive spirit through the candies and biscuits she would give to whoever among us siblings could answer her questions from the stories she read to us during the tutorial sessions we had with her.
My dad contributed also in the development of my study habits – particularly the reading part. Every day, a newsboy would deliver him newspapers – one broadsheet in English and two tabloids, one in English and the other one in Filipino. We read those newspapers together and as we did so, my father would speak to me in English. My dad was very good at English, despite completing only Elementary education. Through those conversations in English that I had with him that I started becoming fascinated with the English language. My interest in literature – stories and poems – was I think the result of my mother’s fondness for comics and magazines written in Filipino which I would also read when I am done with my father’s newspapers. These things, later on, would influence my choice for a college degree – Bachelor of Arts in English, a course in the Philippines that focuses on linguistics and literature.
The importance of education was something that both my parents impressed upon me. It was from them that I first heard that “education is the great equalizer.” I believed them. They saw my seriousness in the pursuit of education and they supported me until I completed my tertiary education. My siblings did not fall in love with education the way I had. They took different paths.
The value of faith – that’s what my mom inculcated in me. On the other hand, the values of hard work and patience are my dad’s most important gifts to me. He taught me through his examples to be self-sufficient and to never assume that somebody will serve to me in a silver platter whatever I want in life.
I also tried to emulate my dad’s good communication skills. When I accompanied my father in his business sorties (he was engaged in a buy-and-sell business then), I marveled at his uncanny ability to make people laugh and to convince them to buy.
Later on I realized that the values I learned from my parents are the very things I need in my pursuit to become the best version of me. Those values are the inheritance I received from my parents. They are priceless.
Stored in the hallowed corners of my memory vault are the best times I spent with my mom and dad. The one thing that I could recall in my most distant past was one night I woke up with my chin resting on my dad’s broad shoulder. I lifted my head and saw my mom walking beside us. She gently touched my cheeks then took me from my dad. They alternately carried me until we reached my aunt’s home.
That piece of memory was so precious. It would constantly remind me of the love and affection of my parents. It made me feel important… that I am connected. It helped me develop self-esteem growing up.
I will forever be grateful to my mom and dad. They are the best gifts I received from God.