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Sunday, April 20, 2014

The choice of Peace

A local group is fully organized to encourage the strengthening of peace in families throughout the islands. The message is simple: Be at peace with yourself and it shall descend upon the family. It grants matriarchs and patriarchs greater room for spiritual and personal development of siblings. Nothing is absolute but an environment of peace and harmony are better paths than unsolicited violence that triggers disunity.

As we dwell on the essence of peace, we’re reminded of an old saying, “Dad builds a house while mom makes a home.” The family needs both parents at home for the sake of their children. The unity of mom and dad is founded on love and commitment, their children the product of love. Let us strengthen upon the positive aspect of peace that begins with unequivocal love from mom and dad. It’s a sturdy path for children who look up to mom and dad as they grow up.

The flip side to a dedicated mom is the negative aspect of dad going off the ranch. Perhaps he’s mistakenly become a drug addict, alcoholic, jobless, or a gambler. One of four aspects is sufficient to trigger the ruination of peace and tranquility at home. The use of violence forces kids into the fear corner as they painfully ask why’s mom going through physical abuse or beating. It need not be this way.

In severe situations, it prompts the relocation of mom and kids to a relative’s house, very uncomfortable and an imposition on the second family. Thus, everybody is displaced from the usual routine, temporarily. Away from home, the kids asks mom to return home for they miss the comforts of familiar setting. It’s hard on them as they compete for their own space they can’t find at another’s. Nor are they free to do as they please like the old house. It’s very unsettling. They don’t deserve dislocation resulting from dad’s abusive behavior.

Throwing dad behind bars isn’t going to help either especially if he also needs help dealing with his unearned issues. There’s often a likely chance that he’d fall right into the same trap upon release. It means that he needs help with counseling. He needs it and it would be a great service seeing his recovery so he could return home too. A dislocated family is bad experience all around for both mom and kids. I’m sure this wasn’t what they expected of dad before the boat hit the reef.

Stability is the foundation that comes from parental disposition. It is the most important aspect of parenthood they could provide their kids as they grow up. The presence of both parental pillars establishes discipline and familial unity. Each kid learns that there are sets of rules that all must follow otherwise mom or dad would be very unhappy. Kids are good folks too who’d pitch into becoming the pride of their parents. It also hurts them to know that they’ve gone against normal expectations.

I’m sure most would agree how wonderful a feeling it is coming home after work to find your spouse and children preparing dinner. Between your arrival and suppertime, you get to gather a load of issues about their problems and concerns or a lively academic debate among your high school-age kids. I usually use Q-Tips to clear my ears before calling it a night. But it’s one of the treasured pleasantries of coming home.

Be that as it may, good old dad must make it a point to quickly seek help to resolve his bouts with potent drugs or whatever may have derailed him. Your young boy wants your company on his weekend sports activities or time at the beach or family farm with you. As difficult reaching your long steps, they are right behind you and it would be very disappointing if you were not there to lead him with dad’s sturdy hands. Yes, you both deserve each other’s love and harmonious sense of contributions as familial pillars.
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Dad’s long held pain

For many years, my dad and I were silently sizing out each other trying to find the right time to unload long held issues. In my junior year, he braved asking if we could talk before retiring.

He explained what slavery is all about when your mom dies while you’re at a very tender age. “You are everybody’s slave doing chores they won’t dare do themselves,” he related. “I’d go around searching for firewood at three in the morning so my auntie could brew coffee and cook breakfast.”

“My childhood years were fast forwarded to adulthood and so I never knew what it was like growing up as a child”, he related. “I never knew the world of a child and it is for this reason that I also treated you guys like full blown adults.” His mom died of tuberculosis before the war (he was just 3 years old) and he and siblings had to do without the love and care of a mother most of us were fortunate to have in our younger days.

It unveiled what I thought was an unjust demeanor that slowly crawled out of him as he sought the opportunity to share more than six decades of pain. Without admitting the abuse he had endured, he dispense of it as part of growing up.

Can you imagine how much he wanted the warmth of his mother’s palm on his forehead on bad days or her sweet, soothing, reassuring and harmonious voice as an ever loving matriarch? My dad never had a kid’s journey. He’d hum his mom’s song as he romanticizes the “what might have been” had he had the benefit of a matriarch’s love. Don’t force this painful experience on your kids. Stand by their side especially during their formative years. They need the sturdy hands of mom and dad as they discover, on their own, the essence of finding their own place in our community.

John DelRosario Jr. is a former publisher of the Saipan Tribune and a former secretary of the Department of Public Lands.

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