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Thursday, January 2, 2014


My Own Upbringing
I consider it a great personal misfortune to lose my father on the eve of my first birthday. I was told by my mother and uncles that my father, a USAFEE soldier, was killed in a military encounter with the Japanese forces a couple of years before the end of World War II in 1945. 

“Being a single parent, my mother was forced to work on 2 jobs to put food on the table for me and her orphaned nephew and nieces.” This would greatly affect my childhood and my future life.

Without a father and with a mother whom I seldom see because of her work, I was left literally on my own.  The lack of the basic material things in life was made worse by the lack of parental guidance and discipline on my part.

Under these circumstances, while I became independent at an early age while trying to solve my own problems, I made many blunders that would affect my later life because of the frailties of a young mind and the absence of guidance and discipline.  

I started drinking and smoking at a young age of 12 years, then a pupil in the elementary school.  First it was just a sip of the local coconut drink “tuba” until it became a daily routine sessions with my classmates after class. My drinking vice progressed to my high school and college days and would later cause me a lot of serious problems of which I was not proud of. 

As I had nobody to tell me what is right and what is wrong and give parameters to respect and follow, I went with the bad boys in my age group and that had a bad influence on me. I became rebellious and belligerent and I learned to hate the world. Although I passed my elementary and high school education with honors, I cannot remember studying in the school’s library or had been diligent with my homework and assignments.  Then, I was callous and bitter for everything the world offered because of my misfortune of losing my father and the infrequent attention I got from my mother.

The little good sense that remained in me took over my misguided life with the approval of my USVA educational benefits with a monthly pension of $80 in 1961. At last, I felt that God has given me the hope and opportunity to mend my ways and change the path of my life. Yet all the distractions and misdirection that I took in my early life was mainly because of the absence of parental love and discipline or the lack of it, to say the least.

Fortunately, my life has made a 360-degree turn when I got married to a wonderful lady who accepted me with my foreground and all my human weaknesses. By the time my first child, a daughter, was born in 1972, I was ready to shed all my insecurities in life and make a complete change for the sake of my growing family.  Had I not taken a timely departure from my wrongful ways to salvage my life being wasted and went along the path of rectitude, I can imagine the likelihood to have become a bad element of society.  With all candor and humility, the status and achievements of my 4 children in their personal and professional life would affirm the fact that me and my wife raised them with love and discipline.  

The Holy Bible has affirmed the need to discipline our children as an essence of love. In Deuteronomy 5:16 it is concise and clear of God’s will for children to honor their parents. “Honor thy father and mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land Of the LORD your God is giving you”. 

Hereunder are some Biblical edicts in child-rearing;
“It is not righteous to raise a child who lacks self-discipline and is controlled by his or her desires, whether for attention, food, material demands, or seeking to gain something from nothing”.
“Love is actively training and teaching our children – diligently.” (Deuteronomy 6 : 6-7)
“Love is applying with faithful discipline.” (Proverbs 23:24, 22:15, 23:13-14, 29-17) Discipline with consistency.”

What Author Laurie J Cooper said about Discipline: 
“Discipline is giving your child a 'track to run on'; guidelines and boundaries, as they find their way through this life. Think about it this way - can you imagine if you woke up in the morning, got into your car to drive to work and when you got out on the roads, there were no white lines, no yellow lines, no traffic lights, or signs, and no speed limit? That would be pretty scary. There would be cars all over the place going in all different directions! Not only would you not know what to do and where to go, but you wouldn't be able to determine where someone else might be going or what they might be doing.  This is exactly what it feels like for a child with no discipline. Children want your guidance! They need your help! “

I have always believed that the real measure of parents is not by what they have become but by what have become of their children.

In conclusion, it is mandatory that parents give the maximum of their love and attention to their children, but at the same time, keep a strict control on their activities. It is the home and the endearing love of its family members that brings about a turnaround in a child's life. Saying that parents are bad parents if they deal with their children with appropriate discipline and strictness is definitely untrue and a fallacy.

Merry Christmas to All!

Rogelio G. Balo
Central Valley, California USA

December 23, 2013

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