17 Jun2007

t1

Many would argue it is your absolute right to have children, period. Regardless of how you plan to nourish, care, nurture, raise or guide them through their early lives and into adulthood. This is a sensitive topic for Marketman, as I personally believe (though not all of you need agree) that far too many men out there sow their oats before they can digest oatmeal, let alone know how to boil the water needed to cook it with, or realize there is a proper utensil to eat it with. It amazes me that society as a whole, mandates that you must be 18 before you are held accountable for criminal acts, that you cannot say what you think or you might get sued for libel or slander, that you can’t drink an alcoholic beverage before you can vote, but for the latter it’s possible to sell that right in exchange for some cigarette money t2that you can buy without difficulty at the tender age of 10. Military recruits can presumably shoot an insurgent before the recruit can drink a San Mig Light. We need licenses to drive a motor vehicle, licenses to practice law, licenses to care for the sick and suck out their excess fat cells, and licenses to push pencils and tap calculators. But, ohmigosh, NO licenses at all to become a parent, other than mandating that the mingling egg and sperm must have met each other voluntarily only after their hosts achieved the age of 18 (at least in the Philippines)… There are no fitness tests, no seminars, no mandatory reading material that covers child care topics like nutrition, mental health, emotional intelligence, etc. No financial tests to see if you are capable of providing adequate caloric intake and a roof over their heads, not to mention a decent education. No psychological analyses to see if you actually should NOT perpetuate your gene pool for the good of overall mankind. And frankly, who would design, administer and score such tests? Are we really fit to be fathers simply because we carry an average of several hundred million doodads in our gonads? Hmmm, food for thought this Father’s Day, is all I can say…

Becoming a parent, and having a child, is perhaps the single most amazing thing that can happen in one’s lifetime. That is, if you bother to pay attention. If you are around to see both the minute and miraculous changes. If you are there when the munchkin(s) seek counsel, or just want to have a warm body close by. When humans were designed, and t3over thousands of years of evolution since, at least one parent was probably constantly present for their children, or not physically far removed. It is perhaps only in the last 100 years that many families find that both parents have to work to support their familes, or have one parent abroad 98% of the year, or parents who have abdicated child care to a nanny or family member. I bet if I did a scientific study, the amount of time the average parent spends with their children has probably dropped 60+% in the last century in the Philippines, and there must be some consequences… It is also interesting to note that in 1900, the average lifespan of a Filipino was probably around 40-42 years of age, and today that has risen by about 70% to say 70-72 years of age. So we are around on this planet 70% longer yet we see our kids probably 50-60% less during their most formative years. Do the math. As far as I am concerned, I consider myself somewhat on borrowed time, because for much of mankind’s history, I should already be in my seriously twilighty years, and any offspring of mine should be ready to fend for themselves soon…that is, until about just a 100 years ago.

I waited until relatively late before having The Kid; I was 31 years old. And even then, I don’t think I fully understood what I was getting into despite a university degree t4(magna cum laude), and a graduate degree in business (with honors), and 30 years of observing other humans raising (or obliterating) families. All I know is, the minute I became a father, something kicked in. And I have tried to meet the responsibility of being a parent to the utter best of my ability. I haven’t always done the best thing, but I hope my overall scorecard would put me in the top whatever percentile. Fathers do their thing in all kinds of ways; and it isn’t for one to say which way is better, or worse. But there is a tremendous responsiblity that comes with fatherhood and if you aren’t up to the job, don’t even think of applying, is my harsh take on the matter. After all, kids never asked to come into this world, we knowingly made a choice to have them.

Barbara Bush once gave a commencement speech at Wellesley College, that brilliant all women’s school that aims to graduate independent, intelligent and accomplished students, where she basically said that “at the end of your life you will never say I should have gotten that next promotion, made more money, appeared in more t5newspapers, been number 1… you will most likely say, I should have spent more time with my kids.” I always thought that was excellent advice (but, ahem, she should talk…). I just wish there was an equally high-profile and successful man who would have the gonads to say the same thing. I will forever cherish being around for my daughter’s early years… and nothing will ever replace the time I chose to be around. Just around. One of the activities we did which we hope will be remembered is the simple planting of trees. Every other year or so, we have planted dozens and dozens of trees — around our homes, as charity donations to schools, etc. There is just something so amazing about planting the seedlings and seeing them grow over the years. And I have this romantic notion that several decades down the road we can return to these places and look at massive narra, mango or mahogany trees and realize we were there when they were wee bitty little seedlings (and cost just PHP10 each by the way!). In these photos here, are pictures of The Kid planting some mahogany seedlings, a picture of a mahogany tree planted 8 years ago, a picture of a narra tree we planted just 3 years ago but is thriving… I hope you all have a Happy Father’s Day… I know I will, simply because I am one. :)

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Katrina says:

    I totally agree with you — not everybody should have children. It’s such an enormous responsibility that only the truly qualified should take it on. In fact, I’ll even take it further by saying that even the qualified should limit how many they have. The planet has finite resources, and this country is terribly overpopulated as it is. But I’m going off on a tangent already…

    Happy Father’s Day, MM!!! From your many posts about The Kid, I am positive that you are an exemplary father indeed. :-)

    Jun 17, 2007 | 3:59 am

     
  2. Maria Clara says:

    Happy Father’s Day to a wonderful man and to all fathers out there – it is your BIG DAY – HAPPY FATHER’S DAY. Parenting is a big responsibility – you owe it to society and to your own child their destiny.

    Jun 17, 2007 | 4:07 am

     
  3. Nikita says:

    Amen to that ü Happy Father’s Day! totally agree in getting daddy licenses… or even mommy licenses! hmmm… wonder when that will ever happen.

    Jun 17, 2007 | 7:42 am

     
  4. elaine says:

    hi mm, you would have touched a raw nerve in me…if i read this twelve years ago (i was 23)..ha ha ha. but i guess i was lucky. my hubby and soul mate, who was 32 then when we had our kid, was truly hands on, responsible, (very loving to a fault) .. we practically grew up with our son (or maybe i did, ha ha),and i wouldn’t mind at all if he grows up to be like his awesome dad. HAPPY FATHER’S DAY MarketMan!

    Jun 17, 2007 | 7:54 am

     
  5. leira says:

    Happy Fathers Day!!!

    Jun 17, 2007 | 9:18 am

     
  6. kulasa says:

    Happy Father’s Day MM.

    Jun 17, 2007 | 9:23 am

     
  7. linda says:

    “The Kid”is one lucky kid to have you as her Dad. MM,you truly are an awesome person and a wonderful Father. You’re such an inspiration!

    Happy Father’s Day to you and all the Dads out there!

    Jun 17, 2007 | 9:37 am

     
  8. Tessa says:

    Happy Father’s Day, Marketman.

    Jun 17, 2007 | 11:43 am

     
  9. macpower says:

    happy father’s day! btw, have you visited the sunday market inside lung center compound in quezon city? how does it compare to salcedo market? your take on this, please… thanks!

    Jun 17, 2007 | 12:21 pm

     
  10. Marketman says:

    macpower, I did a post on the Sunday Lung Center Market about 2 years ago, here is the link. Tessa,Linda, Kulasa, Leira,Elaine, Nikita,Maria Clara, THANKS for the greetings, I appreciate it. Katrina, I’m with you totally on that train of thought…

    Jun 17, 2007 | 1:16 pm

     
  11. Cookie says:

    Very well written and very true. I read somewhere that our children are not given to us, they are only lent to us so at some point are going to be taken away. Not by some unseen force but by time. It is therefore our role, as parents, to make sure that the time spent with them is nurturing and filled not only with love but with understanding and patience. It isn’t easy but it truly is worth it.

    Happy Father’s Day Mr. MarketMan, I’m sure your Kid is proudest to have you for her Dad :)

    Jun 17, 2007 | 3:08 pm

     
  12. allen says:

    If all dads are like you, the world would be a better place. Happy Father’s Day!

    Jun 17, 2007 | 3:58 pm

     
  13. bernadette says:

    I have known so many tragic tales about families with parents not yet ready for parenting nor are they apt to become parents. But then, I also am witness to a lot of moving stories as well wherein fathers sacrifice a lot just to get their children have better lives than they had. Thank you for your thoughts on Father’s Day. My own father would have basically the same thinking. My prayers for all fathers—for you!

    Jun 17, 2007 | 6:18 pm

     
  14. bluegirl says:

    Happy Father’s Day Marketman! You Kid is lucky to have you as a father!

    Jun 17, 2007 | 6:42 pm

     
  15. macpower says:

    thanks for the link, marketman! happy father’s day again!!!!

    Jun 17, 2007 | 8:51 pm

     
  16. ykmd says:

    Happy dad’s day MM! And Kid, how fortunate you are to have such a dad :)

    Jun 17, 2007 | 9:13 pm

     
  17. iya says:

    happy father’s day po!

    Jun 17, 2007 | 11:47 pm

     
  18. Zita says:

    MM, Belated happy father’s day!

    Jun 18, 2007 | 9:03 am

     
  19. Crissy says:

    Belated Happy Father’s Day Marketman!

    Jun 18, 2007 | 10:21 am

     
  20. joey says:

    Belated Happy Father’s Day! :) I agree as well…not everyone is meant to have children. And just because you can doesn’t necessarily mean you should

    Jun 18, 2007 | 10:23 am

     
  21. Lei says:

    MM, remember the saying before a man dies, in order to leave a legacy, a man ought to plant a tree, father a child, and publish a book?

    I was teary eyed reading this post. I am a parent too and I must say I am saddened to see so many children growing nowadays with parent/parents forced to leave them here in the care of others and work abroad instead just to be able to provide sufficiently. That is why I consider our family fortunate enough that we get to be together, something that many have taken for granted or are just forced to accept because of financial reasons.

    On last note, regarding that saying, you have already fathered a wonderful child, you are a tree planter and tree lover, I guess the only thing waiting to be done is writing that book. =) I am constantly waiting for that book of yours to be published, I hope in the very near future.

    A happy father’s day to you MM!

    Jun 18, 2007 | 10:59 am

     
  22. Divine says:

    Happy Father’s Day MM!

    Thank you for such a wonderful post! If only those contemplating having children would have your kind of attitude, then this world would be a better place to live in. And kudos to your site! You never fail to give readers like me food for thought everyday. Thanks

    Jun 18, 2007 | 11:03 am

     
  23. jo says:

    Happy Father’s Day MM!

    I almost cried reading yur post, I thought of my father when I woke up this morning. I am not on speaking term with him and I thought I should call him and break the ice.

    Jun 18, 2007 | 1:49 pm

     
  24. CecileJ says:

    Yes, it’s obvious that you are a HAPPY FATHER…and we all benefit from your being one, too! God bless you!!!!

    Jun 18, 2007 | 3:11 pm

     
  25. Marketman says:

    jo et al, let me just add one piece of PERSONAL opinion… not all fathers have earned the title. Others I would refer to as sperm donors only… that sounds harsh, but it is probably truer than most care to admit.

    Jun 18, 2007 | 4:26 pm

     
  26. Lani says:

    Happy “cool” Father’s Day!!! :)

    Jun 18, 2007 | 4:47 pm

     
  27. Normita says:

    MM, you touched something that me and my kids have been trying to forget and forgive for the past 22 years. You are absolutely correct with some fathers being just a sperm donor “biological father”. I’m very lucky to raise the 3 girls on my own and they are now succesful in their own way. My gain and his loss. Happy father’s day!!!

    Jun 18, 2007 | 10:17 pm

     
  28. rina says:

    Was touched by your Father’s Day blog..happy father’s day MM!

    Jun 18, 2007 | 10:26 pm

     
  29. Ted Tablan says:

    I think the true test of being a father is when your kid’s actually say “I love you Dad” from the bottom of their heart. Otherwise, you’re just one of those sperm donors.

    Jun 19, 2007 | 8:46 am

     
  30. dee says:

    MM, you should have a FORWARD option here in your blog. Id love to forward this article to all the dads I know! Excellent piece :) Happy fathers day!

    Jun 19, 2007 | 9:00 am

     
  31. Marketman says:

    dee, there is a forward option on the main post, at the bottom… please try that! Thanks!

    Jun 19, 2007 | 10:40 am

     
  32. Juan Dela Cruz XVI says:

    “Mahirap maging magulang” yan ang kasabihan nating Pinoy and that’s absolutely correct. Di pa nila marerealize kung paano nag hirap ang mga magulang until such time na magkaroon sila ng sariling pamilya. Kaya sa atin lahat belated HAPPY DAD’S DAY!

    Jun 19, 2007 | 10:58 am

     
  33. Bubut says:

    very nice post! last weekend it was featured in GMA 7 Kapuso- Jessica Soho show where some families in Aklan are having fix marriages for their children at a very young age, around 15 years old, and even there are some who are doing some arrangement for children age 7. So they dont have the idea of studying, working and be successful. What in their mind is at the age 15 or 16 they are gettting married to someone they dont even know.

    belated Happy Father’s Day !

    Jun 19, 2007 | 9:39 pm

     
  34. zeph says:

    belated Happy Father’s Day MM!

    Jun 20, 2007 | 11:45 am

     
  35. teth says:

    Belated Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there! And to my hubby Dadi Gwapo, Thank u for being a good father to our dear litle girl!

    Jun 20, 2007 | 12:36 pm

     
 

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