Friday, June 22, 2012

My Post-Father's Day Reflection

A couple of days ago, I was with my old buddies and over a couple of pitchers of malt brew, pizza, and chicken we came upon the topic of family and fatherhood.  

It has been my personal view that life is what we make of it.  No matter the circumstances your attitude will define how life will be for you.  Problems---there's no escaping them.  They are part and parcel of what we call LIFE.  The only people who are immune to problems are those who've gone to the "other side".  You can't have an active part in raising a family when you're dead, right?  Once you've committed yourself to raising a family you should be in it hook, line, and sinker.

Well, I'm not an expert when it comes to fatherhood but in the 22 years that I have been one all I can say is that it is no trip in the park.  Allow me to share what I have learned so far.

Being a provider.  The first order of business before going into the family way is for you to have a job---a stable one at that.  For those like me who did not have the luxury of planning a family, I had to make do with the job I had as a service crew at Jollibee.   Go to school in the morning, work at night, and then help out in the family chores that was my routine for a couple of years.  It's a good thing God gave me and my wife supportive parents so we were able to go through all the hardships with a cushion.  However, not all have supportive parents so my advice is---DON'T MARRY UNTIL YOU'RE READY.

Being the DISCIPLINARIAN.  Personally I do not subscribe to spanking but I guess sometimes that couldn't be helped.  I do try to veer away from it as much as I can and just rant my anger away.  When they were younger I would give them the "NOONG BATA PA AKO" speech coupled by a whole lot of grunting to get my point across.  When they got older I switched to the "PAG MAY TRABAHO NA KAYO" speech with more grunting and an occasional flying object.  This is to try to instill in my children the meaning of RESPONSIBILITY, INITIATIVE, INTEGRITY, and VALUE FOR MONEY.  What irks me the most is when they do their house chores and just do it for compliance sake.  Consider the flying object an exclamation point.  

Communication is key.  Our children need to understand the "why" of life.  That every action has consequences---good and bad. Parents are the first educators of children.  Everything starts at home.  I believe that what you are at home translates to how you will be when you start working.  Unfortunately, I'm not like Jesus during his sermon at the mount but more like the fiery diatribe of Miriam Santiago.  That, I need to work on.  Nobody wants to listen to a scolding, right?  So once I'm done with my vituperation---I pray for divine intervention and have God touch the hearts of my children to do the right thing.

I also try to practice what I learned in Psychology 101 about LOGICAL CONSEQUENCE.  This is where the punishment should fit the transgression.  For example, if your child breaks a china you take it off his allowance.  No logic beating the crap out of him.  Unfortunately, I don't give my children allowance.  So in lieu of this I give them work to do to get the theoretical cost.    

Being a father is not an easy task.  It's very much like being the boss at work where you coach, mentor, encourage, and direct.  Except this time, it's your family you're dealing with.  And with no sense of security of tenure, family members can simply ignore you and do as they please.  On the other hand, I can actually do as I please in terms of management style.

A friend and former co-worker of mine justified his being an hard ass-ed SOB at work by saying, "There are two ways of making people follow you; either through religion or through fear.  I'm not a religious person, so I rule through fear."  In some ways, this style have its merits---it does get the job done; however, don't expect any thank you cards from your subordinates.  However, opting to rule by fear in a family situation almost always lead to rebellion and family dysfunction.  As a parent, that's the last thing you want to do.  Now this is why I turned to blogging.  I don't rant that much anymore and I get to say what needs to be said in a more civilized way that hopefully my children will appreciate and take into heart.

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