During the ceremony for my high school graduation, our valedictorian gave a speech very different from that of the typical brainiac.
He did not mention fond memories of our senior year, but rather thanked the parents of each graduate. Attention was focused on the unwavering support and love that parents shower their children, guiding them to become strong, intelligent, independent people ready to face the real world.
As I listened, I thought of my own parents. And since tomorrow, June 21, is Father’s Day, I decided to write about my dad.
Though this is not a typical Father’s Day message, it is something I believe resonates with many children who have stepparents. That begs the question: What does a traditional family mean nowadays?
A traditional family is one that includes the children and their biological parents, a functional unit.
As time passed, however, society allowed for “nontraditional” families to exist, no longer scorning them and looking down on them. The pressure to belong to a traditional family is no longer as great now as it once was.
My father was “formless” until I turned 13. He came into my brother’s and my life before adolescence hit us, and has been nothing but a blessing. However, I do not want to use the term “stepfather” to describe him, as it brings to mind the story of Cinderella. The term “stepmother” or “stepfather” conjures images of a malevolent stepparent and a neglected child.
So much love
My family is nontraditional in the sense that my father is not married to my biological mother, and I believe that is what makes my family even more special.
There is so much love between all members of the family, and no neglect whatsoever. Both parents function as a compassionate pair, wanting only what is best for their children.
Though my mother taught me many lessons, my father was equally important in shaping who I am today. My father is morally upright, and thus believes in doing everything the right way.
I remember the time I got my driver’s license, when I wanted to rush the process since my mother knew someone who worked in the Land Transportation Office (LTO).
My father refused to allow me to get my license the easy way, and instead went with me at 7 in the morning to LTO Pasig. Even though it was a terribly long wait and an excruciatingly tedious process, I was glad that I was taught the value of integrity and obeying the law.
His language of love is different; it is a shower not of material things but of daily lessons which help shape our character.
An educator, he believes in instilling values in the youth, and how the home is an extension of the classroom, and vice versa.
He sees the good in people. As a senior who completed the International Baccalaureate diploma program, I can only look back on fond memories of staying up late into the night with my father and badgering him with questions on the role Germany played in the First World War.
Without him, my brother and I would not be who we are today. My aspirations to become an investigative journalist, to emulate Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism cofounder Sheila Coronel, were recognized because of the support I’ve been given.
I was able to pursue my ambitions largely because of the go-signal from my father. I gained the strength to chase my dreams despite everyone’s skepticism and doubt.
Even though I am haunted by some negativity on what I want to become, I am reminded every day that I can be whoever I want to be as long as I work for it.
At the end of the day, I will always be grateful to my father, who has taught me so much over the years. I will value the lessons he imparted, and bring them with me in the next chapters of my life.