Monday, December 29, 2008

Growing up without parents in the Philippines

I grew up with both parents living at home. My father was a busy man as he was constantly working hard to build his career.  So, he didn’t really have the luxury to take my brother and I anywhere during school holidays and I remember feeling bitter about this.

My mother supported my father during all those crucial years of setting up a business. I think they realised how important it was for them to be at home as much as they could and therefore  decided to set up the office at home. So, my mother was always there taking care of our needs while juggling to help my father with his business.

They might had been busy at that time, but they have never failed to provide us with the attention and guidance needed while we were growing up. Looking back now, I consider myself very lucky despite not being able to go to the cinema, circus or theme park like my other friends.  At the end of the day, I grew up witnessing how hard they have worked in order to provide us with better lives and as a result of that, I learn to be appreciative of them.

There are many parents who do not have the opportunity to stay at home to look after their children and hence the children do not have the privilege of having their parents with them when they are growing up.

I read recently on the paper about children in the Philippines. More and more parents are working abroad and it seems that Philippines have one of the biggest migrant workers in the world. Very often, they have to leave their children behind with other relatives and visit them only once a year, if they are lucky enough. In the mean time, they send their hard earned money home to their children.

Some parents have expressed concern about their fear  for the way their children are being brought up; often without proper parental guidance and hence very likely to pick up bad influences. Teenage pregnancy is a huge problem.

Then, there are many who do not understand why their parents have to work abroad or appreciate the sacrifices they make by spending the money they receive from their parents on frivolous things.

When you read this, it’s understandable how heartbreaking it must be for these parents. At the same time, they are not the only victims as the children suffer as much from long term neglect and feeling of abandonment. Without proper role models, the money received don’t really mean much except to compensate for the absence of their parents.

In the end, it is a tough situation where you have the parents leaving home to earn a better living so that they can secure the future of their children but on the other hand, due to their absence, these children are not able to understand or see the purpose of it all. The means doesn’t really justify the end.

With this in mind, an organization has been set up to provide these children a place to get together and do all sorts of activities. It is hoped that while their parents are away, they will at least spend their time constructively in the presence of responsible adults who care for their interest.

Other countries facing the same problem should try to adopt similar approach. While it is important for parents to secure whatever economic means they possibly can, they should never forget the purpose to begin with.

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