Contributor Post: Ann Christine Sison
My parents just celebrated their 31st wedding anniversary 5 days ago. You can say that my mom is one of the so-called “June bride.”
Their 31 years of being together produced nine kids…and I’m a witness to their struggle and sacrifices just to give us a good future.
And now, my parents are starting to reap what they sow in us….a better life than before. You see, we’re not a rich family, but my parents did everything just to meet both ends for us…and also just to stay together as husband and wife.
My parents were not different from other couples…they also have their quarrels and misunderstandings. At one point, they’re reached the verge of separation. Yes, I can still remember that day where I thought everything is going to end for our family. Now we wonder what make them stay with each other and reached this 31 years of being together…further reflection, I believe that there’s one thing that kept them to stay by each other’s side: us, their children.
Divorce is prominent now in the lives of some famous people. The sad thing is, this kind of lifestyle, as other sees it, imprints the message to the people that divorce is an acceptable thing, but it is not. I know all of us know the saying “Ang pag-aasawa ay hindi parang kaning mainit na iluluwa mo na lang pag napaso ka.” Simply put, marriage is not something that you turn your back to, that you can consider to be void when the going gets tough between you and your partner. That’s why it is still a wise thing to know first your partner well before settling down. Its sad to think that a lot of young people nowadays are so in a hurry to get married, only to find out that they’ve married a beast and not their prince. What’s worse, their union produces a child whom they ignore because they’re so busy healing themselves from the pain they’ve inflicted on each other. In the end, the one who suffers the most from their separation is their child.
I’m not a married person, but if my parents choose to separate that time before, I belive, I will become one of the burden of this society…a product of a broken family…a broken person with an unsure future. Thank God that they didn’t.
Here’s the thing: Divorce is an attribute of the selfish and the coward. Selfish because couples only thought of themselves and they neglect to nuture their child with parental love and provide them with a good environment – a complete family. Couples choose to think only of their own rights, of their own convenience. Coward because instead of facing and talking to each others to settle their differences and to decide to meet halfway, they choose to run away. Coward because they failed to practice one attribute of a really strong person – humility and forgiveness. A married friend once told me this valuable lesson about his married life: he loves his wife not because of what he feels towards her, but he CHOOSE to love her, no matter what the circumstances or his feelings might be. I think this is the same thing for my parents who choose to love each other in spite of everything that they’ve been through in life.
Recently, a lot of my contemporaries are now married or getting themselves ready to be married. So far, I can see for those who are married enjoying their family life, and I’m happy for them. I only pray that when things gets tough for their married life, they must remember these things so they can save their marriage: learn to be selfless, brave, humble, understanding, forgiving and loving…just like what my parents did in 31 years.
We must be clear: we are closing a facility, not pulling out of Asia. The mission of the AFC continues to thrive under the leadership of Lay Evangelization Teams. We are humbled and enthusiastic to be serving the Church at this time in history when so much renewal is coming from Asia. We look forward to being able to serve families throughout Asia from the “grassroots” up without the considerable demands of maintaining a local physical center.
Think about this though: If we promoted fidelity among married spouses, sexual abstinence and purity among the youth, and chastity in general (for married and single people alike) instead of “the easy way out” i.e. contraception (and in other countries where it’s legal, abortion) wouldn’t the need to “stay safe” disappear because you are already practicing safe practices in the first place?
In the Philippines, perhaps now is the best time to take a peak at The Abortionists’ Dictionary, since the most notorious abortionists from all over the world are gathered at the PICC right this second, for the 7th APCRSHR (Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive Health and Sexual Rights), trying to indoctrinate the youth to a culture of death. The most rabid among the Pro-RH group are also present there, of course. Today is the third day of the conference and according to the event’s programme, by now they have already tackled the “strategies and challenges in the abortion advocacy.” I hope that this guide will help the unsuspecting attendees of the 7th APCRSHR see the truth behind the lies.
Since I was in high school, the issue of contraception has been my pet peeve. I had to write an assigned article, elaborating on the artificial methods of contraception as well as the reason why it was immoral. Pretty hard to digest for a teenager then. But I did get the point of the Church’s teaching on it: Separating the procreative and unitive aspect of sex from each other was what made it against the natural law and therefore immoral in itself (the same principle applies to the immorality of doing an in-vitro fertilization procedure, but that’s a whole other story).
5. Being Pro-Life does not only mean being anti-abortion. It also means being against contraception, gay marriage and assisted suicide or euthanasia. To compromise in one is to lose the battle by default because all these are the different “fronts” in the battle for life.
39. Hang around pro-life families; it helps to have kindred spirits who care about the same things you do.
40. Teach them about the spectrum of pro-life thought.
41. Limit exposure to traditional media. Remember that if you’re reading, watching, listening to what everyone else is reading, watching, and listening to — then you’re thinking like everyone else. Garbage in, garbage out.
42. Take time to journal the positive stuff. Because 5, 10 years from now, you may forget those little things, like the toddler’s first words. Take pictures.
43. Get them around good nuns and priests. Encourage a vocation to the religious life. Pray for it, and pray for the strength to be the supportive parent if and when a child should decide to become a priest or nun.
44. Pray for their future spouses. There are too many broken people out there who need our prayers — some of them may end up marrying our children.
Kung alin ang normal noon, yun na ang pinupuntirya ngayon. Sabi kasi natin noon, karapatan natin ang maging iba. At sumobra naman ata. Ginusto na ng marami sa atin ang maging iba na umabot sa punto na nagkapare-pareho na sila. At kung ano ang natural, yun ang naging kakaiba. At yun ang kanilang pinagkakaisahan. Bandwagon lang kadalasan at hindi pinagiisipan. Kasi nga, baka yun kasi ang uso. Na lahat e karapatan na lang natin at wala na yung responsibilidad.
There is nothing that builds character and virtue more than inconvenience and challenges. Every sensible parent (even the one’s who have fallen into this downsizing trap) will agree that over-indulgent parenting is dangerous and yet, that is the side-effect limiting the number of children for purely economic reasons will bring; Children who see themselves as the center of the world. It also shows a lack of faith since it tells God that it is WE who are in control of our future. I have often pondered why many priests and religious seem to come from large families. It is probably because in large families, children tend to look outside of themselves more than those raised in small ones.
Bearing a child, as the Holy Family demonstrated, did not end with Mary giving birth. The proper raising of children is a lifetime commitment. While we have the responsibility to see to our children’s physical, mental and emotional well-being, more important than any of those is their spiritual well-being. Every child we bear is another FIAT to life. Continuing to emulate Joseph and Mary, we see that each child is called to be another Christ, and how we raise him/her necessarily becomes reflective of that. Our job as parents is to teach them how to give that wholehearted Fiat as well when their time comes.
After pleading to God, I imagine God saying, “Relax. I am God. You are my child. I permitted your creation. I wanted you to be born. I want you to live. I love you.”
“You are pro-life, right? If that’s the case then I wanted to see you have more than just one kid.”
It’s one of those friendly(?) remarks I was getting from people who are aware of my stand regarding the RH bill. I rarely want to put a tag on myself but yes, I’m adhering to what the pro-life people are believing and following. But it’s not surprising that being pro-life is oftentimes misunderstood by many. We’re being accused of just focusing about people being born safely but not caring for the quality of life that these babies are facing in the future. Pondering on that, it is what exactly meant for us. Being pro-life is a holistic approach of caring for what’s good for a person physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally and economically. And I think that’s what I’m trying to practice. Maybe one way of doing that was how my wife and I have waited and planned for some years before marrying and starting a family and having our own kids.
The unborn may not yet be citizens of the Philippines, because citizenship is acquired at birth. But we can speak of potential citizenship. If the government thinks of its citizens as human resources and not as liability, then the unborn is a human resource that needs to be nurtured and protected, so that they would soon be born in the Philippine soil and become active participants in the development of the nation. As Dr. Jose Rizal, our national hero, said, “Ang kabataan ang pagasa ng bayan” or “The children are the hope of our nation.” For it is the children who would replace their parents in the workforce as scientists, engineers, doctors, teachers, nurses, police, carpenters, drivers, and garbage collectors. Yes there are machines and technology to make jobs easier, so that several hectares of farm can be tilled by one man alone for example, but men and women are still needed to operate the machines, fix them, maintain them, and make them better.
I asked my father, “Did you ever think of having children when you planned to get married?” By the way, he had vasectomy after having the third child, me.
So, asking my father for his opinion has a bitter taste to me. For I am a prolife child of God.
Well, he answered me with caution. He knew my stance and yet he wants to be open about the honesty behind contraceptive mentality.
He said, “Yes indeed! I wanted to have a family when I decided to get married.” However he said, “You know there are couples especially from other countries, like Japan and America, who are not thinking of having kids when marrying. They either adopt when they get older or they get dogs as kids.”
I said, “Yes of course. I know that.”
So, turning tables, I keep the question to my youthful self. Why bring a child into this messy world?
By the way, I am single.
(While writing this, I’m whispering to God, “Help me!”)
After pleading to God, I imagine God saying, “Relax. I am God. You are my child. I permitted your creation. I wanted you to be born. I want you to live. I love you.”
So, I am born. I live. I write. I think. I observe. I study. I learn. I compare other people. I trace history. I watch TV. I read newspapers. I listen to people’s sad and not so sad stories. I commute to work. I obey strangers to cooperate. I envy. I demand. I object. I understand. I influence. I get scared. I pray. I sacrifice. I love. I miss. I dream. I question. I answer. I speak.
Maybe God was right when he permitted me to live. Because I am pro-God, I will prove my God is right.
- Cheryl Dayrit
A guest blog post.
Aside from being sperm donors, fathers have other important roles to play in the family.
A father fosters a sense of identity in the child. While a child gets his or her sense of identity from the mother, by the time the child reaches age 2 to 4, the child needs to be weaned away from the mother. It is the father’s role to make the child individuate, or realize that he/she has an identity different from that of the mother.
A disruption in this fundamental stage has serious consequences. Detachment from the mother is traumatic to a child; the child will be distrustful of the world and have a weak sense of identity, which may lead to self-hatred. Unsuccessful attachment to the father, on the other hand, will make things even worse: the child over-attaches to the mother and regards the father a stranger.
A father models manhood. This becomes particularly important to his children at age 4 to 6, the stage at which the child will have an initial sense that there is a guy in the house whose ways is a lot different from mom’s. By noticing the distinct gender differences between mom and dad (physical aspects, roles, temperament, etc.), a child learns he is a boy like dad and not a girl like mom, and vice-versa. As a Facebook post says, the father will be “his daughter’s first boyfriend and his son’s first superhero.” He is the first man and the first idea of maleness they will both have. The failure of the father at this stage results in insecure sexuality or gender.
A father also has an important role in introducing his child to the outside world. Through public introduction, a father declares his daughter’s femaleness as something good. The father’s affirmation is particularly necessary for his daughter’s sense of belonging in the world of girls by the time she is 7 to 11 years old. The father’s approval gives the daughter a solid sense of acceptance that she’s a female. Similarly, a father declares his son’s maleness as something good. At age 11 to 14, his son, on the other hand, will seek the blessing or affirmation of his male identity, and only the father (or a loving father figure) can give such a sense. Failure to have this affirmation also results in gender insecurity for both sexes.
A father gives his child a sense of affirmation as a human being in general. At age 14 to 19, the child (male or female) will need the father’s blessing for being a distinct human being. Failure in this stage may lead to existential anxiety and low self-esteem.
A father is a model of leadership or headship in the family. A father is a calm, reassuring presence, but he also enforces the rules. This way, he helps instill discipline at home, the recognition of authority and roles, and a sense of responsibility. Indirectly, he teaches the virtue of filial fear, and how it is the beginning of wisdom. (Filial fear is the fear of hurting someone you love; it is the opposite of servile fear, which is the fear of offending someone because of reprisal or punishment.)
A father is an example of how it is to be a good husband to the child’s mother. A father models the male side of loving; he shows how to love a woman right. In some way, when it is the children’s turn to love, they are most likely to fall in love with a version of their own father (or mother).
A mother and a father are the child’s first glimpse of God. While the mother models the feminine side of God, the father models God the Father, or the masculine side of God. This is a tough call, but both parents are expected to be examples of God’s brand of love — committed, forgiving, and unconditional — even though they know they will always fall short.
Inevitably, for good or ill, a child sees the world wearing mom’s and dad’s glasses (unless, of course, the child is eventually made aware of it and removes the glasses on purpose).
An absentee father, therefore, spells a big problem at home. A number of studies have shown that the absence of a father figure — or the absence of a loving father figure — may be the major culprit behind a lot of problems, from juvenile delinquency, to propensity to commit crime/aggression, rebelliousness, emotional problems, social relationship problems, depression, drug addiction, and sexual dysfunctions.
In particular, non-performing fathers may unknowingly cause “father hunger” in their children. Households with absentee fathers — be they physically or emotionally absent — coupled with a social environment with no adequate replacement figures, may cause a sense of emptiness or incompletion in a child. This sense of emptiness is said to drive a compulsive need to repair the perceived ‘damage.’ If this need is not addressed in a healthy way (by connecting to a father figure*), it leads to a sense of self-loathing that leads to all sorts of compensatory behaviors. (Refer to the long list of ills mentioned above.)
In a world of pervasive fatherlessness, so many souls long to be ‘fathered.’ Sadly, most fathers might not even be aware of this. Someone’s got to tell them that they are no mere home accessories.
*In the absence of a biological father, the following may serve as replacement fathers: elder brothers, uncles, grandfathers, male teachers, priests, or any older male friend/confidante.
More on the importance of fatherhood here: