Forty-five years ago, Florencio and Gillian vowed to love each other. These two wonderful loving people are my parents. In this day and age, it is rare to find such love and commitment. It is difficult to find someone to laugh with, cry with, pray with, and grow old with. I am privileged to have them as parents, to share in their lives, and to learn by their example. I’d like to share 45 lessons mom and dad taught me. I am not yet married or a parent, but these lesson have served me well in becoming the best person I can be.
Here they are, simple reminders to living a good life and being kind to others:
1. Say, “Please…”
Whether it is asking to pass the catsup or asking for their help, mom and dad taught us we had to say the magic word, “PLEASE!” You cannot command others do things for you, so they remind us to humbly ask.
2. Give Thanks
The twin sister of saying please is saying thanks. Whatever gifts they received big or small, my parents always said thanks. We don’t deserve our blessings, and we must be grateful for what we receive.
3. Pray before meals
There is much to be grateful for, and it is only right to give thanks for the food before you. Growing up until know, my friends know the food is always delicious in my parents’ home. Perhaps, it their mindfulness and grateful hearts make it so.
4. Caring for animals make you kinder.
I grew up in a home, where there was always a dog. Dad’s patients learned his love for dogs, they kept gifting him with a puppy. At one time we had seven dogs. My mom, on the other hand, has a soft spot for puppies with defects. She brought home a dog with a pink nose, one had his tongue sticking out all the time, and one with deformed legs. Besides dogs, we had chicks, rabbits, and even golden snails.
5. A mother’s care is the best.
My parents were traditional. When they married, my father strived to be the provider and my mother the caregiver in the family. With five children, my mother was hands-on in raising us. She brought us to school every single day. I slept on her lap on the hour-long drive to school. We ate lunch together in the van, parked under the trees in Assumption while waiting for my siblings to finish school. I never had a nanny or a yaya in my life. It was always mom, who took care of me. The result is a strong bond between us.
6. Don’t scrimp on education
My father is a doctor. My mother has double degrees in commerce and English. Growing up, they did not indulge us with expensive toys. But they never scrimped on books or education. I had the privilege of going to the top school in the US for college and a Masters degree in Australia, thanks to the support of my parents. They believed, education is a lasting legacy. Indeed, it is something no one can take away from you.
7. Always have an extra hanky in your pocket.
As a child, my mom would always put an extra hanky in my pocket. Just in case one hanky got dirty, you still had a clean one to wipe your face with. Mom always prepared for the just in case scenarios in life, having an extra hanky was just one of them.
8. Scrimp on asking favors
My mom believed you had to scrimp on asking favors. She didn’t like bothering people with petty things you could tackle on your own. Nakakahiya. It is not only embarrassing for her. But she believed you must save asking for favors for that one time you really need their help.
9. Eat together as a family
As a child, Saturday night was our date night as a family. We would go to anticipated Sunday mass, then head to a restaurant for dinner. But aside from Saturday dinners, we always tried to eat together as a family for dinner each night.
10. Eat what is on the table
I’ve heard of some families where they have different food for each member of the family. That is unheard of in my family. No matter how young or old you are, you eat what is served. Whether is it is ampalaya (bitter gourd) or pesang isda (A Fish in ginger stew), you eat it. There were no children’s food or adult’s food. It was always just healthy food served. It kept us grounded, as well as diversified this food writer’s palate.
11. Get involved with your kids’ homework
Mom and dad never did my homework for me. But they were always accessible to help me and get me more stimulated in what I was studying. I got the highest mark in a Science project I did using edible clay dough, I shaped and painted to look like a stomach. My dad being a gastronenterologist, helped me make it realistic. Naturally, I got an “O” (Outstanding) grade.
12. Take lots of pictures
My dad is never without a camera. There was a dark room in our home, when we were kids. I’ve been infected with his love for photos capturing special moments.
13. Always bring a present for your hosts
Whether it was a simple dessert, a bottle of wine, or a bunch of flowers, we always brought something when we were invited to dinner in a friend’s house.
14. Bring emergency medicines when you travel (or in your bag at all times).
15. Keep a set of clean clothes and undies in your carry-on when you travel.
You never know when the airline will lose your checked-in suitcase or when you will spill coffee in the airport. An extra set of clothes is always handy.
16. Pray, pray, pray
17. Laugh heartily and waste time with the ones you love!
18. Invest in lifelong friends.
Mom has tita Luisa, who she has grown-up with in Assumption. As children, they spent hours snacking on shoestring potatoes. They remain friends until this day. My dad has tito Arthur and Tito Enteng, who has been his friends from the Ateneo to UP PGH all the way to this day.
19. True friends endure time ad distance.
20. Household chores keep you grounded.
Cleaning the bathroom, cleaning the car, washing our clothes, getting a glass of water, sweeping the floor… the list goes on. Mom and dad instilled in us the discipline to do our household chores, no exceptions.
21. Don’t be blinded by brand names.
While they appreciate the fine things in life, they were never fixated on brands and labels. Choose based on quality, not brands.
22. Value your health
23. Work is never ending, but your life is.
Dad has seen numerous patients in his clinic and the hospital. One thing he learned is that work will never end. Take care of your body and your health, for you may never get it back.
24. You get what you pay for
I always heard this line from my mom. I would choose the cheaper things at times, and they would break. Mom would remind me about buying wisely.
25. Eat fresh food
26. Go grocery shopping together
27. It is important to live on your own, when you start a family.
No matter how big or small your home is, it is important to have your own home when you start your family. Mom and dad can’t emphasize enough how important it is to be self-reliant.
Sunday afternoon is their one chance to get some rest and catch up on some sleep.
29. Indulge in your hobbies
Dad indulged in tennis with his friends, while mom crafted the most delicious desserts.
30. Follow road rules, even when no one is looking
It didn’t matter if it is 2 in the morning with no one in the streets, or in the midst of rush hour traffic, always, always, always follow road rules! No exceptions.
31. Respect other people’s things
Don’t snoop around, read, and touch things that are not yours. When I was a little girl, mom scolded me for reading a letter a fellow parent addressed to her. I was curious and my friend said it was ok to read her mom’s letter to my mom. It was no excuse I later learned.
32. Live within your means.
Don’t buy it if you can’t afford it, it’s that simple!
33. Share. Share. Share.
34. Work hard to achieve your dreams.
Mom and dad taught us to work hard to get your dreams. Don’t rely on who you know to get you places.
35. Eat lots of veggies and fruit
|Serving at Mt. Carmel Parish|
Both mom and dad have made a commitment to serve the church as Lector and Eucharistic Minister. They do spend time working, but they do make time to serve at church, too.
37. Read, read, read
Books were an important part of my childhood. Mom and dad didn’t scrimp on books. They valued reading, and encouraged me to read a lot!
38. Keep learning
39. Get enough sleep.
40. Nap together
One of the sweetest things my parents do is nap together.
|at my grad school graduation|
41. Be there for your children.
Whether I was struggling with something difficult or celebrating life’s joys, mom and dad were always there. I have been in foreign countries crying while they listened to my pain over the telephone. They were also there brimming with pride at my graduation, book launch, or big lectures!
42. Hold hands and walk towards the same direction!
43. You only marry once, and when you do it right, once is enough!
44. Choosing who you will marry is the most important decision you will ever make in your life
Mom and Dad keep tell me to Marry someone who shares your values, and someone you can respect.They can’t emphasize enough how important it is to get this one right. Don’t take this decision lightly for you will be sharing the rest of your life with this person.
45. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE.
In fourth grade, I had a magazine project for English class where I had to interview people asking people to complete this: LOVE is ______. My dad answered, “LOVE is MAIDA.” My teacher gave me the top mark. But I think it was my dad who earned the top grade. I experienced that almost thirty years ago. But my parents have taught me what love is. While I still see them holding hands, kissing each other tenderly, and feeding each other bites of food, they showed me deep love goes beyond that. It is giving of one’s self. It is doing some things you don’t like to. It is dying to one’s self. It is sacrifice. It is caring, kindness, and being the best person you can be. I love you, mom and dad. I pray to someday celebrate a love so deep as you two have for each other with an amazing man. I pray too that I may abundantly share love, as you infect those lives you touch.
I love you, Mom & Dad! Thank you more than words can express.
Copyright2012. MaidaPineda.Photos and text are owned by author, and may not be used without permission.
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