Patrick and I have been dreaming about having children since our early stages of dating. Just like any couple in love, we fantasize about it incessantly and always pray about it each night. Patrick is such a doting and malambing tito. In fact, one of the things I noticed about him when we were first dating was that all his gadgets had photos of his nieces and nephews as screensavers. If other guys had sexy half naked girls or red hot Ferraris on their screens–he had cute babies and children! Even his BBM messenger profile pic was a photo of his little niece. I found this very odd–but incredibly endearing. One million pogi points talaga!:)
But as our wedding day approaches and the reality of actually starting a family together is becoming something more tangible, a small part of me is a bit terrified to become a mother. The worrier in me has been plagued by many questions, “What if my children become disrespectful?” “What if my son becomes a spoiled brat?”. Every now and then, you hear of horror stories of rebellious and disrespectful children—I’m sure you’ve heard this over and over again from relatives or neighbors “Hay, napakabait pa naman ng mga magulang nyan..nakakahinayang.”
Speaking of disappointing—as most of you know, I was completely heartbroken last week to discover that a young woman named Trina Dabandan completely plagiarized one of my blog entries. A concerned blog reader was kind enough to send me a link to the copied post and I was in complete shock to find out that she stole my words and claimed it as her own. Of all the hundreds of posts in my blog, she chose to steal one of my most personal blog entries to date, Our Love story. At first I was furious–I felt robbed, I felt wronged. But I took a deep breath, said a prayer, and asked God to help me write the words with grace and forgiveness in my heart. ANG HIRAP!!! I sent her a personal email, giving her a chance to make the wrong right. I wrote, “I would like to believe that there is still some good in you left. And I’m a firm believer in second chances. I am giving you this opportunity to do the RIGHT THING. It won’t be easy and it will be a true test of your courage and convictions. It’s never too late to change for the better. We all make mistakes and there’s always a chance for us to redeem ourselves. This is your chance to be GOOD and HONEST person. I ask that you post a public apology on your blog. I urge you to promise to never plagiarize from me or any other person again. ” Perhaps it was naive of me to even attempt to reach out to her in that way, but I wanted to give her another chance to do the right thing just to be fair. Unfortunately, she rejected my offer and instead showed more defiance and disrespect towards me–even to the point of mocking me as a person and mocking my religious beliefs as well. She was brazen enough to gloat all over facebook and twitter, celebrating her new found “haters” as if it was a big victory to be despised by many. Apparently, this person has made victims out of several bloggers in the past which made me even more disappointed. Some people tweeted me the names of her parents and it got me thinking “Wow, this is someone’s daughter.” I don’t know these people personally, but I felt so much pain for the parents who deal with her bad behavior day in and day out. I was crushed beyond belief and I knew that it would be completely unjust to let this person get away with intellectual theft. I am currently dealing with it legally and I am happy to have the support of the blogging community and Nuffnang Philippines.
This whole incident left me thinking about my own convictions and principles. I was forced to think in retrospect about all the crossroads in my life wherein I was faced with very difficult choices. Some may argue that we are a product of circumstance, that there are things that are beyond your control and that you become this type of person because of the situation you are in. Although there is some truth to that, I also believe in FREE WILL. Whether you believe in a higher being or not, being human means having the capacity to make rational decisions and to take control of our actions. We have the capacity to weigh our options, measure pros and cons, and choose our life direction. It may be harder for others, with financial, social, and even physical factors up against them, but it CAN be done.
This incident also allowed me to think about my own upbringing and made me feel even more thankful to have my parents. My parents were firm but loving, strict but thorough. You all know the importance of discipline so I won’t even explain that—what I would like to discuss is the importance of being THOROUGH with your children. If there’s one thing I would like to pass on to my children, it would be this. My parents were always very thorough with me and my sister as children. If we did something wrong, they would set us aside, give us a stern scolding, explain the mistake committed and the possible consequences we would face. I can imagine how tedious this must have been for them. For any parent it’s much easier to just say “Don’t do that!” or “Stop that!” and just walk away. But I’d like to believe my parents were more concerned about building our character and teaching us life lessons early on–and that’s why they took the time to talk to us about every little thing.
In the fifth grade, I completely idolized this sixth grader. She was the most beautiful girl in our church and I was her little sidekick. I would tail her around like a little duck, I wanted to be just like her. Then one day, she asked her friend “Can I overnight this bracelet?” (uso pa kasi ang pa-overnight noon) and her friend agreed. Later that afternoon, we went to a party and I witnessed her brag to all her other friends about the bracelet, concocting an elaborate story about how her father bought it in the States just for her. After that incident, I stopped being her sidekick. It wasn’t like some glorious epiphany that changed me–there was no burning bush with God’s voice echoing from the heavens–it was just me, being the daughter of my parents, knowing that what she was doing was wrong and knowing that I did not want to be that kind of person. My parents were brutally honest and never sugar coated anything for us, they were truthful and transparent with us from day one. Because of this, we understood how the world around us worked and how we were supposed to conduct ourselves decently. We didn’t have a perfect childhood, we also had our rebellious moments, but at the end of the day we always felt accountable for our actions, not only to our parents, but also to ourselves and to God–and this made us think twice about certain issues. I’m no goody-goody, I also have my bad days (trust me!) and still do things unpleasing in God’s eyes–but I always feel crappy afterwards and try to learn from my mistakes.
So lately I’ve been changing my prayer and making it more specific. If before I was so concerned about the superficial things–to have a child who’s cute and mabango (and funny just like mommy!!!), I now pray that I have children of CHARACTER. That God will bless me with offspring I can be proud of. My children don’t have to be super geniuses, super athletes, popular or even world renowned–of course having an achiever child will be a big bonus–but what is more important for me and Patrick is that we raise GOOD and HONEST people. People who will bless others by their lives, people who will serve God faithfully and whole heartedly, people who will make a positive impact on this earth. That to me, as a hopeful mother to be, is the ultimate prize.
Just this morning, I stumbled across a FB post by Robi Joseph. Although I am not his close friend, I was very inspired by this very personal post. This moved me to tears and helped me understand God’s purpose for parents. It’s too soon to tell if Patrick and I will ever be parents, although we want it desperately–we leave it all up to the Lord at this point. But if we do get the chance to become parents one day, I pray that Patrick and I will exhibit the same strength and grace of Robi and his wife.