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LESSONS FROM A TEENAGE FATHER WHO CAME FROM A BROKEN FAMILY

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Are you a family man or planning to be a dad one day?  Do you have doubts about how well you are raising your kids, or if you can take the responsibility of being the head of the family?  Are you uncertain if you are a father material or not?

Being a father to a child is not a simple task because a parent’s job is the hardest profession in the world.  There’s no break and no time out.  You have to be there for your kids 24/7.  No shortcuts.  You need to be accountable every step of the way.  You need to be a provider of not only money, but also time, emotions, and values.

I am a father myself, and through the years, I have made many mistakes that have taught me a great deal about being a better father.  I’d like to share some of these lessons with you.

Education begins at home.

Now, you might say that sending our children to school is the best way to educate the children. You are not wrong, but you’re not entirely correct either.

The first school your child will experience is home.  As the foundation of our home, we fathers need to produce the primary building blocks on our offspring for them to grow up strong, so we need to teach them the right values, ethics, and morals that would prepare them for the harsh reality outside that they will be facing once they step out of their sanctuary’s door.  We need to educate them how to deal with the reality of life and turn it as a sanctuary of their own.  As the first educator of our children, if we teach them the proper values, if we equipped them with the essential tools, and if we show them that despite some challenges and hurdle that they would face, life can still be beautiful.

Love your wife.

I know right!  What does loving your wife have to do with being a good dad?  Well, it has a lot to do with the perception of your kids about you as a father.  Remember, babies are born from their mother.  Our children had nine months of a really tight bonding with their mother while they were in the womb, and at birth naturally, mothers have to nourish their babies for two years by feeding them their own milk from their breast.

So technically, mothers have a three-year advantage over us in terms of gaining our children’s affection.  It makes sense, right, why most of the children are closer to their mother?  And i know you will say that this not a contest, but a mother and a child had that going on for them for three years, or maybe more.  Ask your self this: as a father what did we have with our children?  So, if you want that same affection between a mother and child or at least close to it, first you need to gain their trust.  And the best way to this is by loving who they love.

It makes sense.  You have to love their mother (your wife) for them to open up to you, so you could show them how much you love them.  Simple as that.

I have two daughters: my eldest grew up to be a beautiful, smart, and a daddy’s girl, but back when she was still four years old, I wasn’t as hands on as much as I should have.  I love her, but she wasn’t as close to me compared to the closeness that she had with her mom.

I was really jealous because I wanted that same intimacy that they had, so I said to my self that on our 2nd baby, I would do everything to have that same kind of bond with my children.  I did everything so that she would grow up to be more close to me than her mother.  I was really caring, and I played with her most of my spare time.  I was affectionate and protective even.

But no matter what I did, she still grew up to be a mother’s girl.

Not that I was not happy about it.  I was, but I still wished to have my wife’s and daughter’s attachment to each other, so one day, we were celebrating my wife’s birthday, and I gave a present to my wife.  While handing the gift to her, I said, “I love you” with a matching kiss, and to my surprise, our daughter teased me with “Uy love ni dad si mommy!”  They were really happy, and all of them hugged me.

That made got me thinking, “What the hell!  Of course, I love your mom.  I have always loved you guys.”  And then it struck me.  For every time that their mother and I had  a fight, they would be sad and ignored me, and they would only talk to me again after I fixed my quarrel with my wife.  I realized that maybe I wasn’t that vocal and showy enough about how I love their mother, so I needed to change.  Starting that day, there was never a day that would pass that I wouldn’t express or say my love to my wife.

And things had changed.  My two daughters had started to be closer to me.  I could feel that they were starting to love me more.  You know what?  Now I have two beautiful, smart and a father’s girls.

Time is indeed gold.

Growing up, I didn’t really feel the presence of my father because when I was still a baby, my dad had to work in a foreign county so that he could provide a good life for us.  Without a father to guide me when I was growing up, my confidence was really low, my self-esteem was next to nothing, and I was so jealous of all the kids that had their father with them every time they needed one.

So I promised myself that I would be there for my children no matter what, that whatever happened, I wouldn’t leave them.

Because my dad was not there for us during his marriage life with my mom, they decided to separate, and life had become uneasy for me, so I had to find a way out of that situation.  When I reached 17, I met my wife, and we decided to live-in together.  We had our first child after a year, so I had to find a job so that I could provide for our daily needs.  Three years had passed, and I thought of going back to college for our future, and so I did.  I was working as an encoder and studying as a computer programmer and web developer during that time.

My classmates and I at the American Institute for English Proficiency. As a father, I need to continue to improve my skills so that I can get a better job to continue giving a better life for my family.

My classmates and I at the American Institute for English Proficiency. As a father, I need to continue to improve my skills so that I can get a better job to continue giving a better life for my family.

 

 

I had to spend my eight hours at work and go to school afterwards, and every time I got home, I needed to do a lot of coding for my programming assignments for the rest of my day.  My wife would always invite me to go to bed with them so that we could all sleep together at the same time.  But sadly, I couldn’t because I had to finish my homework at late hours of the day because I wouldn’t have time to do it the next day due to my work and class schedule.

Because of the nature of my work, I had to be at the office seven days a week, and every Saturday and Sunday after my job, I would go with my friends and drink with them, maybe because I was still young and immature back then and that I missed the life of being a teenager.

So this went on for two years.  I had not been giving quality time to my family because I was too focused on my job and school. I said to myself, “Hey, at least I’m not my father; I go home to them every day, and I am still there for my family.”

Until one Saturday, I was doing my coding for my final’s project and my already five-year old daughter asked me if we could go out and eat dinner in a restaurant somewhere.  I rejected the idea because I needed to beat the deadline which was by Monday the following week.  I told her, “Not now anak. I am busy.  Maybe next Saturday.”

GeraldBalalaMy daughter cried and shouted at me, “ I hate you dad!  You never made time for us.  You are always busy.  Maybe you don’t love us! ” and she ran to her room.  I followed her, but she slammed the door on me.  My wife told me that it was her birthday that day.  She said, “How can you even forget the birthday of your one and only princess?”

I realized that day that all those time, I was doing worse than my dad.  At least when I was growing up, I wasn’t expecting anything from him because he wasn’t there physically with us, but I was there physically for my daughter, and yet she couldn’t feel my presence.

“I was there, and yet I wasn’t.”

I became a father when I was a teenager, and I have had so many mistakes since then.  I know that I continue to make mistakes, but I know that I am still learning.  To the fathers out there, take time to appreciate the moments with your children.  Always make them feel loved.  Yes, you will be angry one day, but that’s just normal.  Once you are done being angry, show them how much you really love them.

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  • Hi Gerald. I am amazed and inspired by your story. I didn’t realize that you had so many experiences already as a father. I’m sure that there are many fathers out there who learn so much from your story here. Before you graduated, I remember you telling me that your wife would be enrolling at AIEP as well. I hope to meet her soon. God bless you and your family.

  • In the meantime, concentrate on your career. Hehe.

  • 시드니

    “Education begins at home. Love your wife. Time is indeed gold.” These are great points to ponder and I totally agree with them.

    I believe that to be a good father is a decision; a lifetime commitment one must not take lightly and a vow one must not break. To be a good father takes so much effort that even if it’s wearing him out, he can’t just give it up. Many young fathers these days need to know stories like yours and good roles models (like you) to help shape them become better ones. I hope your story could reach a lot of readers and may inspire and help them realize the importance of the points you share in their lives.

    • Reggie Meriales Aiep

      “Education begins at home.” As a former school teacher, this is very true. That particular line reminded me of the kids I took care of before 🙂

  • Rosdom J. Capellan

    It’s a very good story for those people who are working hard just to provide something for their families. I salute you guys, but let’s never forget to give time for our own families. To be with our family is priceless.

  • Liz Orale Aiep

    It’s been quite an inspiration reading through your writing. This not only goes out to the men who’s gone through your footsteps, but also to the future-dads out there too! Your family is truly blessed to have you. Keep it up! 😀

  • Mike Rowland-Aiep

    As a father myself, I can relate to some of this. Thanks for sharing!

  • Mohammed Abbas

    sometimes i feel too miserable when i see homeless. specifically in vito cruz there a lot of homeless there and i noticed something in the philipines why here in the the philippines the goverment did not help the homeless anyway the first reason is broken families .

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