Showing posts with label TV. Show all posts
Showing posts with label TV. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

What the untimely death of SILG Jesse Robredo has taught me on Parenting

Photo from Aika's Facebook Page

The dust has settled and the discussions quietly subsided, but the legacy of SILG Jesse Robredo, as a parent, has made lasting impact on me. 

I'm sure most of you have learned from the news of his untimely demise. On 18 August 2012 (incidentally, it's my son's first birthday), the piper PA-34-200 Seneca I aircraft carrying Sec. Jesse, bound for Naga City, crashed off the shore of Masbate. Three days after, his body was retrieved 800 meters from the shore and 180 feet below sea level.

The nation mourned frantically, but his family - the widow Atty. Lenni Robredo, and their children Aika, Patricia and Jillian - had taken the ordeal with so much grace and equanimity.

Prior to his death, I only knew Jesse Robredo to be the Secretary of Interior and Local Government. I had no opinion of him and I couldn't care less whether he served with dignity or he belonged to a multitude of our traditional politicians.

But when news of his death broke out, several stories of him being a true public servant surfaced.  Accounts of his humility, simplicity and dedication, both as a statesman and a family man, created ripples in the midst of every Filipino.

Prior to his stint as a Cabinet Secretary, he served as a mayor in Naga City for 18 long years. Despite his rise to power, he and his family continued to live in their three-storey apartment. He took the bus in going home during the weekend. He knocked to his neighbor's door, barefoot, to invite them for a simple meal to celebrate a daughter's birthday. He lined up, together with the common masses, in taking the elevator. He dirtied his hands as he shovelled the mud out of the city after the floods. He helped his kids with their homework. He took on the plumbing works and defective doors at home. He felt most comfortable in shorts and rubber slippers, and at daytime, he wore the city government uniform to work. When his wife prayed that his appointment as Cabinet Secretary be confirmed by the Commission on Appointments, he shrugged it off and said, “Ipagdasal mo na lang ang midterms ng anak mo.” When his body was recovered, he was sporting a simple Timex watch. The list goes on..

Here was a man, who had every opportunity to live a grandiose life, but preferred to keep his feet on the ground and live simply. I was put to shame. I, who was given just a window of chance to earn well,  scrumpled in the ratrace to live a grandiose life. And I was in such a hurry as if there was a deadline to reach the top and live the life. Every weekend, I always asked the husband if we can bring Zohan to the mall, allow him to look around, and eat out at the latest restaurant raved about on Twitter. The answer was almost always no, and I took it badly every time. Every special ocassion, there always had to be a new dress, or new shoes. I always had a nagging feeling that the pasture was greener on the other side of the fence, and it made me move around at work more often. If I stripped all the sugarcoating and defensive mechanisms, there were no other explanation for all these things save  materialism and pride.

Here was a man, with so much responsibilities on his plate, but still managed to be a father to his children and a husband to his wife. I was put to shame. I, who was given an opportunity to make a career, always felt like I had the most important job in the world and I couldn't be bothered, even for a minute. I could not even recall the last time I cooked a decent meal for the husband. I was a good mother, but not a very good wife. I put too much importance on what I did, that I considered other people's work less meaningful. If I stripped all the sugarcoating and defensive mechanism, there were no other explanation for all these things save self-importance and laziness.

His career in the government cannot be belittled, but more than that, I was more drawn to his character as a family man.

Sec. Jesse Robredo, as a father, was mirrored immensely by Aika Robredo. The latter's character, hinted by her TV interviews could only be achieved by parenting premised on humility and simplicity. When everyone else was lamenting about how her father's death was a great loss to the country,  Aika believed he lived a full life, and that his death might just be the perfect ending for the life his father wanted to live. While everyone else was insinuating his father's death may have been prevented if his aide had performed his job, she recounted how his aide had been a brother to them and how they were all grateful that he was alive. While everyone else wanted to go into details why the plane crashed, perhaps in attempt to put the blame to something or someone, she said their family was not interested to know what happened between 4:40 and 5:00 PM. According to her, it wouldn't change a thing.

Aika had taken this ordeal with so much strength and grace. (That is not to say that every untimely death should be dealt without showing tears and shouting invectives. There is no right or wrong way to deal with death, really. And unless I am at their shoes, I am not one to discuss how to cope with it.) What Aika Robredo showed was not only a strength of character. To a mother's eyes, she showed me exactly what parenting should be.

Even if I was not a privy to how Aika and her siblings were raised, I was certain that it took a humble parent to have a chance of having a humble child. Raising a humble child required a parent who did not expose the child to consumerism and materialistic tendencies.

And that was not easy.

I lived in a time when grace before meals meant taking a photo of the food and whoring it on Instagram. I lived in a time when playtime meant paid-time in Gymboree. I lived in a time when every inch of success was announced on Facebook and Twitter.

But surely, Sec. Jesse and Atty. Lenni have had a more difficult time parenting their kids when the father was in power. Their children were exposed to entitlement, privileges and reverence. And yet, Aika, even at the tender age of fifteen, was humble and unassuming. Her winning piece for the high school category of the Ramon Magsaysay Student EssayCompetition in 2003 gave us a glimpse why:

“His decision to continue serving his native city and resist the lure of national prominence, which a higher elective post could have brought him, had the deepest impact on me and imparted to me life-long lessons: that no deed is too small nor too big if it makes other people’s burden lighter and their lives better; that greatness of spirit can be achieved not through wealth, power or popularity, but by living your life with quiet dignity and by becoming a man for others.”

Sometimes, I get too overwhelmed by everything that I read on parenting. But the life of Sec. Jesse had simplified it for me now. Tips and advices and whatnots were good – but they can be superficial.  At the end of the day, all I really need to become a good parent was, first and foremost, be a good person. And it took a Jesse Robredo to teach me that. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Nanay will appear on TV!

I might regret announcing this several years down the road, but for posterity's sake, this blogpost needs to hit "publish".

I used to be a part-time professor. I taught Criminal Law I, a freshman subject in lawschool, for two academic years, in one of the small universities here in Makati. By the time that I was about to embark on my third year, I got pregnant and had to painfully decline the teaching post. 

So when the Dean of that lawschool called me one day to bully persuade me into appearing in a legal segment on local TV, part of me was excited to touch base once again with criminal law. I declined, though, because you know, it would be broadcasted on national television and  there's just too much concern that automatically surfaced. Larger than life stuff, like I didn't have a good dress; TV would add ten pounds; I was busy preparing for Zohan's birthday; I would need a killer high heels and we were on a budget and killer heels meant good money; I might get criticized on TV; and I was painfully shy. I knew that these were horrible, horrible thoughts, but they were genuinely of concern to me. 

But Dean said all the right words like: that she wouldn't get me if she knew I wasn't capable; that I was only declining because I was shy but I would get my way around it once I was there; that it's a fun experience that I shouldn't miss, yadah yadah. You know the words your boss would say to get you up your feet and do the job. (I love you, Dean!) So, there, I made what could be the biggest mistake of my life and said Yes.

I was scheduled to "shoot" a week-long episode of Legal Forum, a public service program hosted by Atty. Joji Alonso, where she discussed and tried to provide answers to actual legal problems sent by their viewers. I would be the guest resource person to answer questions on criminal law. The shooting was scheduled on a Saturday afternoon, which coincided with Zohan's check-up, so I had to bring along the boy with me because we would be headed to his pedia afterwards.

I was given five problem situations, which I discussed the best way I know how. It was terrifying at the beginning, and I never really became comfortable until the very end! After the shooting, the husband, ever so supportive, congratulated me. I said I wasn't happy with the way it turned out because I felt like I was so stiff and unnatural. He said, "Of course, you'll be stiff and unnatural. Artista ka 'teh, para maging natural na natural?? Tsaka national TV yon, alangan naman magpakatotoo ka!" Hahaha! Well, he had a point. It would be disastrous to have a beki for your lawyer.

But you know what really made me happy that day? THESE:

Thanks to Ninang KQ for taking the photos. Ninang KQ shoot before me for the episodes on Sales Law. 
(I don't know the exact dates when my episodes will be aired. Or perhaps, I know, but just wouldn't tell you.) 

Truth be told, I actually had fun! I did not regret having said Yes in the first place, largely because of the cute photos of Zohan on a set of a tv program. How cool was that!

So there goes my first TV appearance. 
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