Saturday, June 15, 2013

An Open Letter to My Father | Father's Day 2013

As a father, one of the first passages from the Bible I taught my son was the first verse of Ephesians 6:1-3. The whole passage says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 "Honor your father and mother"-which is the first commandment with a promise— 3 "that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth."“

I taught it so that my son would learn obedience -  the heart of which is giving honor to parents, imperfect as they may be. As father’s day approaches, I remember that even as an adult, I am still a child of my father, so the heart of that passage still applies to me and I want to honor my father with this open letter.

Dear Papa,

Having my own son has taught me a different kind of love that I have never felt before I became a father. I have taught other kids as a Sunday school teacher, interacted and shown kindness to little children during outreaches and have dedicated very cute babies – but I have never felt so much fondness and love that does not expect any reciprocation until I held my own baby in my arms. It was a unique kind of love which also gave me a glimpse of God’s unconditional love for his children.

This kind of love and fondness, I just want to say or write for others to know, was something I have always felt from you even as a small child. I still have vivid memories of you rough housing with me, nibbling my ear and tickling the soles of my feet.  I remember laughing my heart out every time you did that. 
It then turned to more mature playing like when you taught me how to play chess. I remember trying to beat you when we played. I remember making it a goal to beat you each time we played. Thank you for not making it easy for me then or else I wouldn’t have learned how to be more patient in finding solutions to things. That was one of the things that you gave me as a “pamana”.

But that wasn’t your only “pamana”. That trip to Baguio when I was in high school, when you gave me a summer job and an awesome vacation? I saw how you worked hard to earn a living for our family’s needs. Thank you for doing your best in providing for us.
I know that you did your best because you also wanted to pass on to me and my sister a deeper legacy, a “pamana” that was more than wealth. You taught us how to work hard, to be persistent and you secured for us good education. You did your best so we can receive good education during primary school which enabled us to go to a science high school.
I learned the value of education not only through that but through what I saw in your career choice. It was only later in my life that I realized that all the jobs you took, even though they were difficult, were all related to help educate children – from selling encyclopedia and science books, to marketing basic communication tools to families with little children and speech laboratories in schools. And even now, as you are nearing retirement, you still help give a better future to children as you distribute books in public schools in Mindanao.  You earned for a living but never lost sight of the value of serving communities and families by distributing tools for their education.

For all these, Papa, I thank you. “Salamat sa pamana mo, Papa.” I commit to pass on the same legacy to my son. And even though we are islands apart I want you to know that I always hold you dear in my heart. I love you and happy father’s day!