By Chao Wai Yee /philstar.com
Being a child of a modern-day hero, also known as OFWs, taught me a lot of valuable lessons. My mother, being a single parent since I was three years old, worked abroad for eight years in order to raise me and my brother. At first, she worked in Taiwan as a sewer. After her contract in Taiwan ended, she transferred to Saudi where she almost got herself in prison because she fought for her rights. Fortunately, her employer gave her the option to just go back in the Philippines.
This incident did not stop her for striving hard. She went back to Taiwan and worked there as a caregiver. These things happened while me and my brother were in our adolescence — a stage crucial to most of the youth, a stage wherein most of us needs proper guidance from our parents. Despite my mother’s physical absence, she did not fail to guide us the best possible way that she can. Together with all her sacrifices, hardships, longings, sleepless nights and thousands liters of tears, she taught us values that we will treasure for the rest of our lives.
First, she taught us to always strengthen our faith in God no matter what happens. In telephone conversations and in her letters, she kept on telling us that our strong faith is the first thing that will keep our family together and will help us succeed in overcoming the obstacles we will face in our lives. Then, she taught us to be independent in a responsible way. During grade school, we learned to cook, wash our own clothes and be responsible for our own stuffs. This helped us to become more mature than other children we know. Third, it is the value of education, which I think is one of the things that most parents would want to teach to their children. My mother instilled in our minds on how important it is for us to study hard and finish our studies no matter what the obstacles are. That is why, I am proud to say that Kuya and I are both scholars and I graduated from a reputable school with flying colors. These are our gifts to our mother, which brought her so much happiness and seeing her happy is one of the greatest feelings I have ever felt and would always want to feel.
Last but definitely not the least is the value of contentment and appreciation. Because with contentment comes appreciation. She taught us to value whatever it is that we have especially the people surrounding us, loving us and acting as our second parents during Mama’s physical absence. We learned to appreciate our aunts, uncles and grandparents who never failed to fill our hearts with their loves so as to ease the sadness that we feel whenever we miss our mother. Because of them, it has been a lot easier for us to grow up righteously even without our parents. I will seriously not trade my family for even all the treasures in this universe. Also, we learned to appreciate and be thankful for even the smallest things that we get. Be it a piece of toy, clothes or anything for we know that each of this is the result of our mother’s hard work and sacrifices abroad. These are some of the lessons she taught us from thousands of miles away.
OFW’s around the world are sacrificing a lot for the sake of their loved ones, especially the parents who are forced to be physically far from their children just to support their financial needs. I hope that we, OFW children, don’t waste our parents’ efforts and sacrifices abroad. Let us not make the physical absence of our parents and loved ones as an excuse for us to be irresponsible be an additional burden to our society.