One of my resolutions for the New Year is to be a better Mom. Better, in that I am more conscious of how I am raising my kids to be happy, well-rounded and responsible adults. I have discovered that raising a brat is by far the easier way. Simply because all we have to do is give them what they want as opposed to thinking things through and giving them only what they need.
Heres a thoughtful letter written by a Filipino father to his daughter on the subject. It was printed in Business World Magazine.
How Brats Are Created
Who says only valuable jewelries can become heirlooms? My daughter showed me a copy of a letter written by her friend’s Dad on her 13th birthday. A few months after he wrote it, he died of a heart attack. Today, this letter is regarded as a family heirloom, shared not just with the immediate members of the family, but shown proudly to relatives and friends alike.
I felt the message in this beautiful letter should be shared with as many people as possible. So I asked my daughter if her friend – the letter’s addressee-would allow me to reprint it in BusinessWorld. She said there shouldn’t be a problem, except that a note should probably precede the letter asking the readers to share this with their young married children. Hah! a not-so-subtle inference that BusinessWorld readers are not exactly “young parents” anymore.
So, dear readers, do share this letter with your young married children. They will certainly find this letter – as I did – a very insightful treatise on how brats are created.
“Daughter Dearest Happy 13th Birthday!
“When you came to this world 13 years ago, you brought your Mom and I a lot of joy! We’ve always wanted a daughter and God in His wisdom gifted us with you.
“This is not to cast any aspersions at your four older brothers; they are also a great blessing and we love them very much, but boys are boys, and I look forward to the day when I am old and gray to have you by my side. I can’t see this happening with your brothers; you know what I mean, as we have talked about this at the dining-room table many a time.
“You have also heard me say that we are gifted with a lot of material wealth. That’s something we should be very grateful to the Lord about, but we should be aware that this has been loaned to us, as you too are loaned to us by God and that we will be asked to give a full accounting when our day of reckoning comes.
“The reason for this letter is to warn you about one big, big danger you and your brothers may face in the next few years. I have seen it happen in other families. I don’t want to see it happen here.
“I am referring to having you guys grow up as brats!” ‘Brat-manship’ is the process one has to go through to become a brat!
“Unfortunately, it is an ailment imposed by parents! They are the creators of the brats!
“In their desire to try to save their children from the difficulties they have been through, they do whatever possible to shield them from this. Little do they realize, that it is precisely these difficulties that have made them successful. Their love for their children may make them overprotective. They may even prevent them from taking public transportation. They come up with all sorts of rationalizations, going by public transportation is not safe, the buses are too crowded, the fumes on the road are bad for ones health, and so on!
“They mean well, but in the process, they deprive their children of what it really means to live in a city like Manila which is comprised of two strata of society – the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots!‘ And sad to say some of ‘the haves’ live in their little world. Unaware of that sampaguita vendor, drenched in the rain, so that her siblings may get a least one meal that day.
“The other day, I was with an elderly wise gentleman, we are at the Polo Club waiting for his car. There was a girl, about your age. She, too, was waiting for her car. When her vehicle got there, she jumped into the front seat, and as she did, tossed her beautiful pair of riding boots into the back seat. She then asked the driver if her Mom was home. ‘Wala po! Nagma-mah jong (She’s not home. She’s playing mah jong),’ came the reply! The car drove off.
“My friend turned to me and said, ‘There is an example of the under- privileged rich.’ Then he followed with, ‘They have everything and they have nothing.’
“This incident, short as it was, left me with a deep impression. I guess this is why I am writing this letter.
“Your Mom and I have tried to raise you kids to realize that our country is made up of the very rich and those who may not even have enough to have one decent meal a day. I hope you never lose sight of this. This is why we
have taken it upon ourselves to adopt a squatter family during Christmas and share with them some of some things to make their Christmas more meaningful.
In the process, we hope that you and your brothers will appreciate the conditions we live in. In the process, I hope that you always have compassion or these lesser fortunate. So that next time you see that sampaguita vendor knocking at our car window drenched in rain you do not get annoyed, but instead pull out your wallet and share with her in a small way your allowance.
“You will notice your brothers take public transportation to go to UP. It’s not that we can’t afford another car; we can’t afford for them to grow up thinking that its part of their ‘birth right’ to be in the ruling class.
“This is why we insisted that you do your bed in the morning, and to pick up your own toys and clothes, rather than have a yaya trailing you.
“And I could go on and on. As you are apt to say, ‘You catch my drift!’ “When you feel you are not getting enough money in your allowance, or get new shoes like your friends always had or the latest fad of Guess jeans, take this letter out and reread what I have written.
“We love you far too much to create a brat!
“Your Loving Father”
[tags]raising kids, spoiled brat, father[/tags]