Saturday, March 02, 2013

Responsible Parenthood

I am not sure if everyone will agree with me on this post. This is just part of what I am seeing around me, and this may or may not apply to some. I don't mean to offend anyone. This are my thoughts and what I hope to do in our family.

Last night, we happened to talk about a family friend who happened to be so kind sharing with us the news how happy they are that their two older kids are graduating from college. Both the parents really worked hard to send their kids to a nice school and have provided them well, it is all worth all the sweat and sacrifices seeing the two graduate college. My husband kidded them that soon they will be touring around the world to enjoy and enjoy their retirement money. I but in to him and said the youngest is still young and will take another decade to graduate from college.

In the Philippines, it has been part of the culture to let the older kids take care of their younger sibling's schooling once they graduated and found a job. It's like the parents are being released from their duty or responsibility to provide for their younger kids, and a way for the older kids to show their gratitude for providing for their education by taking responsibility on their younger siblings schooling needs. When I was working, most of the single co-workers are worrying about their siblings tuition that are assumed to them, there are also some who have family already but are still fulfilling that duty to provide for the schooling needs of their siblings and sometimes even their extended family. I have nothing against about helping, specially siblings taking care of each other. But I don't like the idea of passing on to children the responsibility of sending their younger siblings to school.

In my opinion, it is the duty and responsibility of parents to provide for their kids, and being able to send the older kids to school doesn't relieve us of our duty to provide well for our younger children. As parents we need to plan how we can fulfill our financial responsibility as parents not for the mean time while we still have good source of income but for time until our children could reach the right age and be independent and mature enough to provide well for themselves.

I thought, maybe one reason why Filipinos don't get that successful is because of this cultural traditions. Filipinos are so talented, they get jobs around the world. They could make a lot in their early years, but the money they are earning usually goes to support their family -and  extended family too. Imagine what a person gets to in order to fulfill his responsibility of providing for two or more families. Usually the older sibling, or the smartest person who gets a good paying job have to assume responsibility in providing for the needs and cater to the whims of their younger siblings and extended family, they become what is called "the breadwinner".

Of course the breadwinner who assumes the responsibility becomes more hardworking, more independent, and more responsible- but could they save enough, and be prepared so when they start their own family. Or when they have their own kids, had they saved enough for the schooling and financial welfare of their own kids to support them all, or will they also pass the responsibility to the eldest child after his/her college.

On the other hand, there are those who gets the benefit provided for the by the hardworking people. Not all, but many become bummer- because they know someone will be sending and giving them allowances by the end of the month, and who would want to get out of their comfort zone? Some become irresponsible specially in managing their finances, because they don't know or realize the value of the money they are spending. They usually take pity on themselves, thinking and comparing how lucky the "breadwinner" is for being smart and having a good paying job. And here I pity the breadwinner for not being able to plan ahead and save for his future. He gets married and realizes that he hasn't saved anything even after a decade of work. By the time he starts his own family he will have to provide for  his family and extended family, and what do we have to say if the spouse have to do the same to her extended family too.

And our generation of bummers and hardworking breadwinners tribe together in amensalism.

In my point of view, family should be there and help each other in their needs. If our generation will start to focus on the welfare and well being of the next generation- our children. Maybe we could be more prepared for the future, we can be more prepared in giving the best to our children. We could teach our children more to be responsible and independent; to save and plan for their future too. And when the time comes then they can focus more about their own families needs.

In life's survival, it is easier to run with each other rather than run while carrying the other. Let's teach our children to run side by side with each other, not the stronger one to carry the other. We as parents could teach our kids hard work and let them learn how to provide for themselves. Let our kids experience hard work and sacrifice, this way they can taste success sweeter than what they think it is.

And for ourselves, let's prepare for our retirement. So we can enjoy old age, debt free, and with peace also that if we pass away all our children will be in good standing. And we have done our duty and financial responsibility to them, and have not passed it to their siblings.

I don't want to imagine my eldest daughter Hevyn working and providing for the education of her sibling. When the time comes that she is able to work, I hope she will focus on preparing for herself and her own family's future. I hope we can save, invest and prepare well for our retirement, so we don't have to bug our children and their family about our financial needs for our old age. I hope more Filipinos will do the same, and the next generation could focus more on building their own homes and having stronger families, more independent and successful individuals who can provide and support themselves.


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