Estremera: Parenthood, seriously

IT was a sight you could never unsee... the live video of a popular drummer committing suicide. In that short clip, we feel the importance of rearing our children in a way that will make them resilient to hardships, challenges, peer pressures, envy, and deep sadness.

In that short clip, we see the now, and how it has become impossible to censor what our children see to fit the lessons we try to impart to them.

Gone are the days when our parents would simply say, “Okay, close your eyes,” when a kissing scene was about to show on television.

Listening to the family ministry of this contemplative priest who is held in high respect came the realization that in the complexity of what life has become, the answer is easy. So easy, it becomes darn hard.

It is what Christ has been saying all throughout the New Testament, you even find it in the Qur’an, and yes, the teachings of Buddha: the compassion, the love.

But it is difficult to love. We cannot even love ourselves. There are always the ifs and buts.

“I’d be more loving if...” “He/She has to treat me better before...” “Why should I, when he/she couldn’t...” “I can only truly love myself if...”

There was this aside by the priest that stuck in my mind.

He said he appreciated it that we sat down and listened and asked questions about what we came for. That was not how it was with many, he said, even the fellow religious who came over.

They arrive to learn but are most of the time sidelined by their greater interest in his person, not the message he wants to impart. Why did you choose to dress that way? How long did you grow your beard? It’s a penchant, he said, that distracts and muddles the message and loses the focus on what is important.

Imagine yourself as a parent in a world where all kinds of messages are streaming in steadily by the millions, 24/7, the limit being your own capacity to browse your mobile.

Imagine yourself as a child, learning the ropes of life, still unable to discern right from wrong, going through the same.

Comes the realization that the need to focus on what is at the bottom of all religions and stay the course is more important now than ever. Four letters, one word: Love. In its truest sense.

But humans have found disparity among sects that swear by one Holy Bible, much more between different books of different faiths. More so today. And we can only do the best we can to spread compassion because that is the only way we can bring back love in its true sense. In a world where love for the material and personal desires are sweetly coated in stuff like bucket lists, goals, and hashtags, it’s easy to lose focus and be more concerned about how long it takes to grow a beard.


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