If there’s one thing we cannot choose in this lifetime, its parents. We were delivered in this world without any expectations of the life we later came to know and of the people we later came to love. Our births are one of life’s most exciting mysteries for we have not the slightest idea of the two people responsible for our existence nine months before conception but we are able to instantly establish a passionate connection with the same two people the very moment they first held us. This is because we were made for this life. And in my case, I have the best two people to be grateful for.
I was born to an engineer and a nurse during an almost midnight summer of ’91. The days that followed my birth date were a combination of craziness and fun, of sinking ships and successful sails, of happy days and gloomy times. During all those, my parents did not miss even a single beat and in the course of their parenting, they taught me three valuable concepts that I’m certain have contributed greatly to the person that I am today – FAITH, FRIENDSHIP and FAMILY. My parents integrated these concepts into dynamic lessons as they allowed experience my teacher and the world my classroom.
Lesson number one: God will make a way. When I was about four years old, monster stories and witchcraft rumors did little to put me to bed. But my parents’ version of Don Moen’s “God Will Make a Way”, the very first song I learned, did wonders to my sleeping habits. But aside from it being a dozing tool, that song started forging the believer in me while my parents took care of the rest. Before all of us left the house for work and for college, my parents invented a ritual wherein the five of us, mom, dad, my brother, my sister and I, would sit around in a circle and pray every night. Each one would have a role in reading the scripture and then we would hold hands and talk to God. Though we are not the most religious of families, my parents did not fail to inculcate in us the strength of prayer and the power of faith. Most of all, they never failed to remind us that in our lives, we are not in control. God is.
Lesson number two: know your friends. Aside from being my fans, my mom and my dad are my best friends. The relationship that has been established between us had always been founded on nothing but honesty and I believe that is something only friends have. There is nothing major I can keep from my parents may it be the most ridiculous thing I did at an amusement park or the boy with cute eyes who broke my heart in the twilight of my teenage days when I never really understood what heartbreaks meant. But the definition of that honesty is not limited to constant and daily conversations about school, friends and puppy love. Being honest for us meant being open with the feelings that coupled those happenings. Being honest for us meant being courageous enough to point out the other person’s mistakes. Being honest for us meant being proud of one another in all possible ways. My relationship with my parents isn’t just any other relationship. It’s friendship.
Lesson number three: family comes first. I was in the second grade when I first learned about drugs. We just moved in a new city and my parents had part of our house rented for extra income. Unfortunately, we housed a single mother we didn’t know was on drug abuse. She burnt our house down and my dad went to get his sleeping eight-year old daughter inside the flaming residence. My mom ran after the taxi the arsonist used to escape. She didn’t catch her but she ripped off the taxi’s plate number and twelve years later sent her to jail after testifying in court. Much of what happened that day was a blur as I remembered it but nonetheless, that day made me believe that superheroes exist. And that wasn’t the last of my parents’ heroic deeds because all my life they’ve been trying to make bad people go away and they always end up saving the day.
In this world, there are two kinds of parents – good parents and great parents. And what separates the good and the great is not just the parenting technique that worked or the pep talks that inspired. It’s the idea parents instill in their children’s hearts that at the end of the day, no matter what happens, they have a mom and a dad to go home to. I know because I do.