The saying that goes, “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.” is one of my favorites. It means the real value of something can be judged only from the practical experience or results and not from the appearance or theory.
I sometimes call my sons my puddings. I guess it’s because my credibility as a resource person in parenting is derived from them. I am not saying that they are perfect but I’m proud of how each one turned out as a young adult.
People who write parenting books are usually those who studied child development, experts who work closely with families and learn from different cases of child rearing, or maybe a celebrity who just gave birth and got a book deal to share her experiences as a parent, never mind if she’s not yet done baking her pudding yet!
I’m none of the above. I was an investment banker turned full-time homemaker who sort of recorded her experiences raising her sons through her journals. What I call in my book as “housewifery” gave me the luxury to be a more purposeful mom. I was not always in a hurry anymore. I had a bit more time reading and learning about the most important task at hand, attending talks and seminars on weekdays, “recording my findings” through my journals. Most importantly, I was able to use unhurried time listening, observing and responding accordingly to each child’s unique needs. You see, I even had time to teach them how to prepare their own Balance Sheet as early as grade school!
If you’ve been reading my articles, you know that before I decided to publish my first book Raising Pinoy Boys I went through a lot of hesitations because I didn’t want to put undue pressure on my sons. There was that concern about what people will say. What if the boys get into trouble while in school? What time frame do I give myself before I can say yes, I raised my children well? When they have all graduated? When they have all reached adulthood? Have become good fathers themselves? I may not be around anymore.
It’s a good thing that midlife makes you gutsier. This plus that midlife need to contribute something for society helped me push through with the project.
Aside from the many things I’ve shared in that book and my articles, there is one more thing that I wish to share with parents out there. Be confident in your children.
Looking back at my parenting, I can see that I have had this confidence in all three of them early on. Bilib sa anak! I saw how they succeeded and failed. And inasmuch as I know that they will continue to fail and despair as they live their respective lives, I just have this confidence that they will be alright. This does not mean that I don’t worry about them anymore. I still do. But I have this wonderful gift of confidence in my boys that whatever they face, they will be able to confront it and come out even stronger men.
That is my wish for all parents. However, when I suggest it to some parents they sometimes say, “It’s different in your case, your sons are all confident.” I think this is like asking the question, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” Which came first – your children’s confidence or your confidence in them?
Showing confidence in our children is not a mere showering of “You’re so good! You’re the best!” In fact, when overdone, false praises are detrimental to confidence building as they will definitely feel the disparity between what Mama and Papa say and what others say. Confidence building is embracing both their strengths and weaknesses and making them feel that they will be alright.
Another confidence-killer is that common and exaggerated “I just want my kids to be happy” mantra which is usually done at all costs, depriving the child of the opportunity to taste hardships, overcome them and consequently, build confidence.
Confidence building entails some restraint in providing all the pleasures you can afford to your children. Confidence building is allowing some form of “hunger” (in the metaphorical sense) to be experienced by our children. Confidence building is allowing our children to fight their own battles.
Thank God, I didn’t have to march to school complaining like a rabid mother hen why they didn’t get this and that grade or why this kid (or teacher) was bullying them. Don’t get me wrong, I attended PTCs (Parent Teacher Conferences) and had dialogues with school authorities but I always gave the boys the “right of first refusal” to tackle their problem. If they came home complaining, “Ma, teacher is not fair because…” I would always ask them, “Would you want me to talk to teacher?” Almost always, their answer was, “No, I’ll be the one.”
I was conscious that we were raising boys to become men and I wanted to make sure that my constant presence in their life won’t turn them into wimps! My husband Marvin and I made sure that despite our full support, they were still fighting their own battles. And they were made accountable for the consequences of their actions.
Recently, we were recalling instances during their younger years when they would get into quarrels with other kids. Again, thank God I didn’t have to get in the way just to rescue them. I didn’t have to talk to parents of their classmates or friends as a defensive mother hen. But at home we had a lot of discussions about all these experiences. We helped them understand the different perspectives and process the encounters. But in the end, they would fix them on their own.
Let’s hear it from the boys
Late last year, as I was preparing for a big presentation before close to a thousand participants, all my sons were not at home. (Preview of empty nesting!) One was on an exchange student program, another one was staying in a condo close to his office and the other one was on a vacation abroad.
I wanted to show my audience that the proof of the pudding was in the eating because it was about raising children. I thought what better way to tackle this than for the audience to also hear from my three baked puddings!
So I wish to share with you these short video clips which I presented to my audience. I asked the boys the question, “What are the most remarkable parenting designs that you recall growing up and how did they affect you?”
Here’s the answer of my first born Martin. He graduated with honors from the Ateneo de Manila University with a degree in Management in 2012. He is now 26 years old and the owner of Brand’eM, a brand audit and consultancy.
Here’s the answer of my middle child Enrique. He graduated with honors from the Ateneo de Manila University with a degree in Management Engineering in 2015. He is now a Research Associate at Deutsche Regis.
Here’s the answer of my youngest son Anton. He is now a college junior at the Ateneo de Manila University taking up Communications Technology Management. He works as a part-time host and DJ and is also engaged in various extra curricular activities in school involving dance and many more.
So how’s your pudding so far? For all you know, all you need is just a little more confidence in your baking.
Cheers to confidence in our children!
- Watch FQ Live! today at 12:10 and let’s discuss the above article. You may send in your questions now or during the session.
- Marvin and I will speak at the Citibank tower today at 4pm on how we raised our children. The other speakers are spouses Joseph Bonifacio and Rica Peralejo. This is part of Citi’s Women’s Month Celebration. You can watch the event later FQ Live! via FQ Mom Facebook page.
- I will give a talk at the Alumni Connect on March 25, 2017 at the Decagon Silver City.
- Want to know your FQ Score. Take it today. Click link to take the test.
Rose Fres Fausto is a speaker and author of bestselling books Raising Pinoy Boys and The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon (English and Filipino versions). Click this link to read samples – Books of FQ Mom Rose Fres Fausto. She is a Behavioral Economist, Certified Gallup Strengths Coach and the grand prize winner of the first Sinag Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Awards. Follow her on Facebook and You Tube as FQ Mom, and Twitter & Instagram as theFQMom.
ATTRIBUTIONS: Images from MamaBake and Megapixl put together to help deliver the message.