As accessible as information is nowadays, the struggle of parents to connect to their kids in this digital is age is still pretty prevalent. The irony of technology as a communication medium is that it does away with actual contact and reduces sincere exchanges into mere text.
While the book Letters to My Children is exactly what it says on the cover, it also aims to reconnect folks and their kids through a "collection of very personal letters" by parents seeking to watch over their children no matter where they go, how old they get, and what they turn out to become in the future.
With reflections on parenthood from the likes of Lea Salonga, Gary Valenciano, Jesse Robredo, Pia Magalona, Dra. Vicki Belo, Budjette Tan, Risa hontiveros-Baraquel, Lance Gokongwei, and more doting guardians, the paperback is packed with life lessons, lighthearted anecdotes, and words of wisdom that will surely touch the heart of anybody who reads it.
One of the contributors is former FHM.com.ph managing editor, BA Borleo. Below is an excerpt from his humorous and heartwarming piece "Four Generations of Fathers"—an account of the biggest challenge he's ever faced in his life life: parenting. In it, he hopes to enlighten his son and daughters about life lessons he learned from the generations of men that came before him.
Four Generations of Fathers
Brian Adrian H. Borleo is a father of three. When not dumping more content on the Internet, BA stays home and enjoys the company of his rambunctious children. Yes, he really is overweight, and he plans to work on that soon right now.
The typical Pinoy grandfather is hip, wise, generous, and will condone anything an apo does.
In short, they’re cool.
When I hit puberty and began exploring other forms of entertainment, lolo and I had routine “viewing” sessions. He was staying at our place at the time. Coming home from school one day, I heard a load moan from my room’s window. When I got to my room, I saw my lolo watching one of my videos. “Hindi mo sinabing may bago ka pala,” he said after I barged in.
On women, he had this to say: “Bago mo galawin, siguraduhin mo munang may pruweba ka na magkasintahan kayo.” When I scoffed at him, he reminded me of the tattoo on his back, which he got when he was imprisoned: a topless woman, below her is the phrase, “Taksil ka, Nene.”
And whenever my parents didn’t give me extra baon because they knew I was going to spend it on dates, my lolo, who was always aware of whatever my parents and I argued about, was always there to help.
In contrast, fathers, especially for teenagers, are just downright pains in the ass.
Although my dad tried to be cool about certain things (after my mother discovered my stash of porn, he told me, “Huwag ka kasing nag-uuwi ng ganoon sa bahay. Ako nga, nasa opisina lang.” And after my mom discovered my stash of condoms, he advised, “Tama ’yon, mag-condom ka para ’di ka makabuntis nang maaga.”), there were certain aspects about life that he never, ever was calm about:
-Whenever my grades dipped, my father showed his disappointment by always saying, “E kung ’wag ka na lang kaya mag-aral.” I always thought about that whenever I took an exam.
-When I didn’t bother telling anyone that I was spending the night at a friend’s house, he welcomed me the next day with a right straight to my chest. From then on, I made it a point to ask permission.
-When he learned that I took the family car the night before and drove around our village, he got so mad that he wept. Later that day, my mom told me that he was afraid that I might get into an accident and be sent to jail because I didn’t have a driver’s license. The very next day, he drove me to the nearest LTO office.
-And when I got your mom pregnant right after finishing college and told them of my intentions of getting married, your lolo said, “Bakit kaya mo na ba?” Almost a decade later, I’m still trying to prove to him that I can provide for my own family.
I was a nervous wreck an hour before all of you were born. I always planned everything I was going to teach you: how to dribble and shoot a basketball; how to swim; how to choose the music you’ll listen to—rock ‘n’ roll, hip-hop, RnB, and maybe some love songs but never those by David Pomeranz; how to choose the films you’ll worship and hopefully learn something from (The Godfather, Pulp Fiction, and anything starring TVJ); how to pick your lifelong friends; and, most importantly, how to tell if the person you’re falling for is a maputi-lang-kaya-may-hitsura type or the type who’ll still catch your attention when she’s old and wrinkled.
I wanted you all to be funny, smart, and athletic. I wanted you to be someone who everyone knew and liked.
And then it hit me: Does that shit really matter?
Actually, it might. But you wouldn’t really know until the right time comes.
That’s vague, I know. But I do know that when Kuya and Bunso weren’t walking at 10 months old, I wasn’t worrying about your future choice of music. That when none of you couldn’t identify the color red from the color blue at one year old, I couldn’t care less if you all watch rom-coms all your life. And although you all seemed to have a fondness for sports at three years old, I was more worried about your inability to speak clearly.
I’m also worried that I’m starting to become my father. But when you think about it, everyone’s a version of their father, who’s a slight version of his father and so on. It’s up to us if we become a complete remake of the man or an “inspired by” version.
Letters to My Children is now available in newsstands, bookstores, convenience stores, and supermarkets nationwide for P295.