Sunday, May 10, 2009

Lessons from Mama

One of the countless undisputable truths found in the Bible is the one which says that “A good name is more desirable than great riches” (Proverbs 22:1).

I can say that I am a beneficiary of that proverb, since in the time that I have spent in public service, I have always heard good things said about my father whenever I am introduced as his son. My own entry into politics was made easier because of what people say as the good name of my father which I inherited from him.
By keeping his name untarnished, I inherited much more than any material wealth or riches can bestow upon a man. It opened doors for me and even earned kind words for the name I carry. It makes me proud to say that I am a son of Rodolfo Biazon.

Although sometimes, I get puzzled looks when I say that I am a son of the general-turned-senator. Some people actually voice out the question that runs in their minds when they meet me—“Anak ka ba talaga ni Senator Biazon? (Are you really the son of Senator Biazon?).

Not that they don’t think I deserve to carry the name of my dad. They follow up the question with “Bakit hindi mo kamukha?” (Why don’t you look like him?). No, I don’t feel insulted. And neither does my father. We already have a standard answer for that question.To that question, I immediately answer “Mana sa nanay” (I got my looks from my mom).

My mother says she contributed to the improvement of the Biazon bloodline when she and my dad united. My sister was 2nd runner up in the 1985 Binibining Pilipinas beauty pageant. My brother was recruited into show business (but was stopped by my parents to urge him to concentrate in his studies). So my mom has a point.

But in fairness to my father, he was a looker when he was young, otherwise my mother wouldn’t have fallen for him. He was the classic pinoy hunk---tall, dark and handsome.It is the ravages of time and the years spent in the field which gave him the wrinkles, the darkened skin and thinned hair which are a contrast to my smooth (as of now) and light skin and thick hair (I hope it lasts) which make people ask that question.

As a public official, I attribute many of my qualities to the principles, lessons and advice that I got from my father. If there is anyone that I can say is my idol as a public servant, it is undoubtedly my father. I have given him that honor in every opportunity that I can.

But I am the fruit of the union of two individuals. Biologically, I am composed of elements coming from my father and mother. While I attribute some of my characteristics from my father, I definitely inherited more from my mother than just my looks.
Much of what I am as a person I got from my mom. While I was growing up, much of my father’s time was spent out in the field, where he was assigned to risk his life in defense of the Philippine way of life. During those times he was away, my mom performed the role of both mother and father, raising us three siblings sheltered from the bad influence from society but at the same time exposing us to life’s responsibilities and prepare us to meet its challenges.

We never had helpers back then. My mom ran the household singlehandedly ever since she and my dad got married and had kids. We had household chores as we were growing up. Understandably, back then we felt we didn’t have to do it.

But now I am glad that was how she ran the house and raised us. Actually, that was her prophecy after she would lecture to us. She would usually say, after her litany, “Pasasalamatan nyo rin ako sa sermon ko baling araw” (Someday you will thank me for my sermons). How true!
She taught me the value of doing work in excellence. She would ask us to repeat something which did not meet her standards. For example, when we sweep the floor, it is not enough that we sweep the areas within sight. She expects us to move furniture in order to sweep the areas underneath, leaving no floor unswept. She would say “makapal na alikabok sa ilalim ng kama mo, baka tubuan na ng kamot yan” (The dust under your bed is so thick cassava could grow in it).

I learned from her that time is precious. To this day, whatever time I slept the night before, I would always wake up early at around 6:00 AM. Even if I partied on a Friday night into the wee hours of Saturday morning, I would still wake up that early on Saturday.

It is a habit from the days when we had to wake up early to do chores before we went to school. When I was in grade school, one of my chores was to scrub the floor using the bunot (coconut husk) before I went to school. This was an everyday chore. Even if there were no visible signs of scratches, smudges or dirt on the floor.

Nope, we didn’t have an electric floor polisher at that time. We only had it at a later time, when I was already in high school. Still, we had to polish the floor everyday. And that meant waking up early everyday. I remember her waking us up to the tune of “Gising na! Tanghali na! Alas-syete na!” (Wake up! It’s late already! It’s 7:00 AM!) if we slept beyond the appointed wake up time. But you know, it paid off. Because it taught me that time waits for no man, and if there is something that needs to be done, I don’t let time overtake me and I do the task at hand as early as I can.

My mother taught me how to spend wisely. It is she who ingrained in me the difference between a need and a want. I remember the time when I was around seven years old and the latest toy was a Six Million Dollar man action figure. It had movable limbs and hole in the back of its head where you can peer through and see the world in Steve Austin’s bionic eyes.

One day we were in Cartimar and I saw the toy displayed in front of a store. I so dearly wanted that toy but my mom wouldn’t buy it for me for the reason that it was expensive. She also said that it wasn’t my birthday and neither was it Christmas so there was no reason for me to buy a toy. I tried to use that age-old manipulative technique that kids, especially the bunso (youngest in a siblings), do to get what they want---I cried and had a tantrum.

She stuck to her decision not to buy the toy. She told me that I could only buy a toy if there was a special occasion such as my birthday, Christmas, or if I did well in school. Besides, she said, even if there was a special occasion, I could only buy something that we could afford, not one that will necessitate us cutting expenditure on things such as food and clothing. Perhaps that’s why many of gifts were clothes.

I am thankful that she maintained steel nerves and resisted my tearful pleadings to buy the toy. Now that I have children of my own, I know the value of steering them away from being spoiled brats.

Many lessons were learned from that episode. Aside from knowing the difference between a need and a want, I also learned the value of money. She told us that she had to make sure we spent our money only on the important stuff because my father was out there in the field risking his life just so that we have food on the table, clothes on our back and a roof over our heads. So shouldn’t spend the money on unnecessary things. “Hindi nya pinipitas ang pera sa puno” (He’s not picking money off trees), she would say.
It also taught me that in life, you don’t get everything that you want. I learned how to handle disappointment and that if you feel life is not giving you chances, all you need to do is move on and look for the next opportunity. Best of all, I learned that contentment is the key to happiness and found appreciation for whatever I have or given to me.

There are countless life lessons I learned from my mother, all of which I am truly grateful for her. Whatever I am right now, I have her to thank for raising me the way she did. The teachings I received from her I pass on to my own children now. It is a heritage and inheritance from her that I will forever treasure. Much, much more than any world riches, I desire the life lessons she has given me. Along with the good name, what else could anyone want?

I give tribute to you, Mama. In front of God and in front of the world, I give you the appreciation and love that a son could give.

I love you, Mama! Happy Mothers’ Day!


Ruth said...

wow ruffy, I'm sooo encourage of your blog..... very inspiring....

Ruth said...

Wow Ruffy, i'm so encourage of your blog... We need leaders like you....