Back To The Future
Not too many moons ago — but definitely many Wild Turkeys and 30 lbs ago — sitting down with a statuesque model would have invited for a senseless conversation. Recently, however, I have had the chance to catch up with model slash writer slash self development slash behavioral management speaker slash beauty queen slash mother slash … well, the slashes wouldn’t end if I went on.
What was quite hilarious — for me, at least, was that the conversation dealt mostly about how we were raising our kids, our hopes, our dreams, our fears, as most parents are having, would have, should have as a point of conversation. God knows how many conversations and arguments I’ve had with my wife about raising our kids, with her, as usual, winning.
The problem with parenting is that no one really prepares you for for it. You adapt to it. Oh sure parenting books are a billion dollar industry, but that won’t really prep you up for the actual scenario.
Take, for instance, my 4 month-old son’s recent open heart with bypass surgery. My wife took over the entire situation, checked in with all the papers, dealt with the insurance agency, discussed the procedures with the doctors, informed all the relatives both her side and mine, made arrangements for all possible loopholes … while I was at the corner crying.
It’s amazing how women can easily shift from being a sexual fantasy that walks the earth to a nurturing Mother in a split second.
There is only one word in the entire English vocabulary that I can find that fits this description … goddess.
My wife is my polar opposite: she has a blackberry, a 24-7 job for CNN, travels to all the dangerous places and meets with the most controversial figures in the region, is good to go in a jiffy, while I read a detective novel on the couch with chips all over my branded shirt.
So it is quite easy to understand why friends and enemies alike show disgust with my sheer dumb luck in finding an amazing woman for a wife … and the gorgeous friends that I have.
And so when I had an opportunity to share some of my parenting thoughts to Marina who considers me, and I quote: “my best friend,” it wasn’t too difficult to wax philosophical and empirical thoughts, as well as developing levels of interaction about the subject.
You see, an online Thesaurus is always useful at times like these.
Nonetheless, whatever concerns we may have for the children of this world, which is the last beacon of hope of mankind, there is none so true as the old adage that MEN have deprived women for so long …
Whosoever rocks the cradle, rules the world.
Hail All Women …
Third-Generation Kids Are Our Best Hope
By Marina Benipayo and Norwin Mark Castro
Philippine Daily Inquirer
AT A CAFÉ, MARK AND I were discussing an issue familiar to everyone—the 2010 elections. We did not delve on who to vote, but rather, on how our country would be like in the future, regardless of who the president may be.
I told Mark, my best friend, that I am constantly thinking of my kids’ future.
Everything, from basic needs to education, transportation and technology, is becoming costly. When we were young, we survived with an allowance of 20 cents a day. Today, how much does it cost for our kids to buy their simple needs? Can our kids handle the economic, lifestyle and personal challenges of the future?
An hour through our laughter and sighs, I asked Mark, “What do you think? Is there any real hope for the next generation? I mean, we in our own generation are, I guess, okay. We’ve lived about half of our lives already and we have survived. We’ll be okay. But what about our kids? And our kids’ kids?”
After listening to his lengthy but beautifully insightful answer, I requested that he write down what he just said, because it was perhaps what I and most parents have been thinking all along.
Here is what he had to say:
Who is our next generation?
The fresh graduates? The college students? Their contemporaries regardless of their socio-economic status?
What do they see on TV and hear on the radio? What do they read on the papers? What do they browse on the Internet? Information now is so accessible and no longer limited to the confines of the country.
We cannot stop it. And, frankly, we can no longer fight it. The odds are against us parents. The daily bombardment of advertisements, pulp news, blogs, is more than what we can contend with, aside from the miserable global situation that we are facing as a society.
Look at our politics. Look at our entertainment. In politics, the names have remained the same since I was a kid. In entertainment, endless gossip and bikini-clad women have replaced family-oriented shows.
Who do we fault? Who do we stop? Do we just keep on pointing fingers?
Since most of the minds of the next generation have been formed by materialism, our best option is the third generation.
Why so? Do a random check on how the next generation defines success. Money and power can be achieved through corrupt politics. Fame and fortune can be achieved through show biz.
True, we have also achieved much. The situation is not hopeless. The third generation can be shaped as early as today. Let’s teach them what it was like when we were kids, when we had stronger values not anchored on faith alone, but rather on moral values that are shaped from the earliest development of a child.
The third generation encompasses a larger sector: high school students, elementary students, toddlers, kids in pre-school, the babies in your wombs.
This is just my personal opinion. But since these kids still have limited exposure to the advertising gods, this is the perfect time for us to step in and explain to them the true value of life.
I bet kids today would not be able to believe that we once ran around the fields of Manila flying a kite with our parents, our grandparents, and even our neighbors. It was a tradition—now, sadly, gone. But there is a chance. You do not need an upper middle-class income to provide quality time to your children. You only need time—quality time, that is.
As early as now, let’s skip the TV and spend quality time with our toddlers instead, or have our kids play creatively with other children, to allow them to receive their first bruises from falling down and standing up again—the way it is in life.
We can wash the dishes with them. We can decorate the house with them. We can read to them. We can even sit around and do nothing with them, providing them the wordless assurance that we will be there for them, no matter what.
It takes a generation to replace a generation. But let’s extend this to the third generation, since we can best mold them to their full potential, before the Internet takes over, before the advertisers take over, before the politicians take over, before the gossip shows take over, and, yes, before those bikini-clad women take over.
In psychology, they say that a child’s mind is basically set by the time he or she is seven. As parents, we basically have about 15 years to spend with our kids before they start their own quest for independence.
The best time to plant a tree was yesterday, it’s said. The second best time is now.
Try that with your kids.
If you find this hard to do, it may be because you either haven’t tried or have tried and given up.
Please don’t ever give up. For as long as we are still breathing, there’s always hope.
Change will always begin at home. Because, after all, change begins with you.
Marina A.S. Benipayo is a self-development and behavior management speaker. She conducts seminars on employee motivation, leadership and empowerment. E-mail email@example.com or visit http://www.marinabenipayo.com.
To those of you who may not know … this is how Marina looks like …
And this is how I look like …
Guess which one any editor on any planet would publish …