A kind man is a strong, wise man

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Sunday, June 16, 2013


MSGR. Vic Rivas said, during the Feast of the Sacred Heart celebrations, that he did not learn kindness only when he entered the seminary. He knew and saw kindness at home.

A message from Fr. Junjun Agruda reads: “Kindness is more important than wisdom and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom”

Theodore Isaac Rubin said, “Wisdom resides in those who choose to be kind.” e further added, “If you have to choose between being kind and being right, choose being kind and you will always be right.” You can’t go wrong by being right.

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Reflecting on these messages, indeed I learned about kindness from my home. While mothers are supposed to be the spring of kindness with their daily attention, love and care, fathers, too, in their silent but effecting lives, can be bountiful sources of lessons in kindness.

As children, we learn more from what we see, not from what is said. So from my Dad, the disciplined, devoted, determined Dolfing, I learned much about kindness.

To my Mom, I never witnessed a harsh word or gesture from my Dad. The communication exchange was always loving and thoughtful. If there were any arguments or conflict of ideas, it was never within our hearing distance or ever manifested in body language.

As a very busy man, workaholic to be exact, exits and greetings were always with a kiss. I believe that his tireless energy to be the best in his field of management stems not merely from the drive to be good in what he does but it is his kindness that overflows to provide the best for the loves of his life, Mom, his children and grandchildren.

To me his daughter, his kindness was bountiful, not merely in gifts but his presence. His schedule in the week was rigid. Tuesday until Thursday, he was in Cebu as President of CIT; Thursday, he flew to Bacolod, as it was time for payrolls and quedans for the central; Friday, he flies off to the central to see and manage all the goings-on; and Saturday onto Monday, wherever his family is, there he was. When we were in Manila for school, he spent the weekend with us. Then back it was again to the rigmarole of “to do’s” for the week.

But all the moments of his free time plus all the highlights in our lives, Daddy made sure he was there for us. Because of his personal industry and diligence, we were privileged to lead comfortable lives, go to very good schools and enjoy many trips abroad with him.

But despite his demanding obligations, he balanced his life by also being kind to himself. The minute his plane takes off from the central, the operator would call if his mahjong quorum is already in place. A time for recreation with good friends is a healthy therapy to unwind and relax. My Mom never deprived him of that and I made sure that his favorite form of leisure is arranged.

As the eldest brother to a brood of 13, I heard stories from my aunts that Manong Dolfing would fetch them from Assumption as boarders during weekends and would treat them to lunch, a movie or whatever they wished to do.

As they grew older and orphaned, he saw to it that his brothers had good positions in family endeavors like managing the farms while the sisters would have work in CIT or, in the fashion they were accustomed, would travel to Spain and America which were their favorite destinations.

I remember when my Tito Nene had that fatal plane crash, Dad wanted Tita Carmen to go on with her life and offered her a job in the office. He was like that - always thoughtful, always caring, always kind.

My Mom had a brother and a sister who stayed with us and my Dad welcomed them. Also, when his younger sisters studied in La Consolacion College, he moved them from Talisay to our home to make it more convenient for them to be in Bacolod. When his sisters were married, he gave them away as the “padre de familia”.

That’s why he had an endearing impact on his brothers and sisters as well as his in-laws because he was the true Manong who thought not merely of and for himself but also for his siblings.

As the manager of then Central Danao, he made sure that children of employees and the neighboring farms had their education. And whoever was qualified benefitted from scholarships in Cebu Institute of Technology in Cebu.

Often, I would hear Dad say that, every time it was registration time, there would be a beeline of parents and students requesting for some extension or installment on tuition fees. He was very benevolent and always granted clemency, especially if he saw that the student was deserving or truly striving for an education.

I think that is a rare quality these days. Quite recently, we heard of a student in U.P. who committed suicide because the family could not afford paying her tuition. It is a sad reality but true.

My father was very big on travel as a learning experience. So he would send some members of the faculty, especially department heads, for trips.

On our trips annually abroad for his regular check-up (it was really more to get him away from his work), we would come home with dozens of suitcases full of pasalubongs (Thank God, baggage allowances were more generous then!) for all his staff in both the mill and the school. This gesture was his expression of how special they were to him.

I believe that the measure of my Dad’s success in his endeavors was not because of merely his hard work and integrity but because he appreciated the people who worked under him. He was a compassionate captain of their ship who believed that every hand mattered.

When my Dad died, there were busloads of people who attended his funeral from Escalante and Toboso as well as from Cebu. People don’t come even from far places just to bid you farewell if you have not touched their lives and I believe it was his kindness that made a lasting image on them.

To his peers, and it is not with conceit that I can say he walked with great men. He was both respected and admired by them.

In our library/office, we have pictures and mementos of him with President Magsaysay, President Garcia, President Macapagal and President Marcos in friendly exchange. These were the Presidents of his lifetime.

Our home played host to Vice President Emmanuel Pelaez and Sen. Lorenzo Tañada whom, I remember as a really young child, we would call Tito Tanny.

Dad was a good friend to former Negros Occidental governor Agurang Piding Montelibano, Ambassador Roberto Benedicto and Manila Mayor Arsenio Lacson and many more prominent figures in business and society.

In conflicts whether in business or family matters, he would always uphold what was right not purely for himself but for the greatest good of all. So he was unafraid to state his case when it was demanded.

Kindness was inherent in my Dad. I remember when we were in the States once, a lady fell and my Dad rushed to help her. My aunt cautioned him against doing so because, in the States, they are very inclined to file lawsuits even when you are extending a helping hand but my Dad paid no heed. He was gallant.

My Dad was a kind person. Because of his kindness, the Good Lord gifted him with a loving wife, family members who equally loved him, friends who loved his company, employees who were devoted and colleagues in business who trusted his decision and stood by him.

The source of his strength, his wisdom and doing right sprung from his kindness. Dad was not preachy nor does he go into mental or moral calisthenics with us, his children. But I have learned much from his life. It was a life consumed with kindness.

More so today, if major and critical decisions have to be made, I would look back and ask, what would Dad have done in this situation? There are many lessons to learn from Dad.

On Father’s Day, I thank God for the gift of my Dad, Rodolfo “Dolfing” T. Lizares. May I learn more from his kindness because kindness is the mettle strong, wise men are made of.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on June 16, 2013.

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