Once upon a Sunday Mass homily, my thoughts had an intersection of family, feminism, and religion.
See, in the middle of the priest’s homily about the importance of spreading the Word within the family, the domestic Church (the Gospel was the one with the Parable of the Weeds, though, by the way), and giving parent-oriented reminders and lessons, he also reminded us about how the father, in the Filipino language (like, the usual and mostly Tagalog-based Filipino which most Filipinos often interchangeably refer to as Tagalog nowadays), is called “haligi ng tahanan,” while the mother is called “ilaw ng tahanan.”
About those phrases, well, the one for the mother is easier to translate into English, it meaning “light of the home.” The one for the father is more complicated, as the “haligi” is, according to my understanding of my dad’s explanation when I asked him about it, a post or a column which has a foundation keeping it in place, and it’s also something which works like a cornerstone. So yeah, I guess it can be translated as “foundation post of the home,” if we were to talk about sticking it closer to what it means in the Filipino context, but I find calling it “foundation beam of the home” in English funnier, because there’s something hilariously awesome about Mom and Dad working together to become a beam of light.
Well, whether you found that funny or not is a different story.
Anyway, in that intersection of fields of thoughts I mentioned at the start of this reflection, an intersection that was triggered by the priest’s reminder about those titles for the parents in the Filipino context, I realized how presumptuous we’ve been with thinking that there should be one parent who has an inherent overall upper hand over the other…especially when it would be foolish to try looking at a construction post or beam like it can be a ball of light, or a ball of light like it can be construction post or beam.
Like, really, can any of them work well without them working together as well? Looking at it in the more earthly sense and also in accordance with those titles I mentioned, a house built with strong foundations but with weak or no light is a place where its residents would stumble around a lot when the darkness comes. A light that burns brightly yet has a weakly founded or an uncovered house is something that can get snuffed out way more easily, still causing big trouble for the residents.
With that sort of thought, I laughed with glee as I realized how such can be worthwhile stuff in reflections that I’d like to share to others. But of course, the sharing is another thing, so do remember to give honest constructive feedback on how I’m doing that as well, okay?
Anyway, I also realized how my parents were still living by those titles which the priest reminded about. Along with that, I’ve begun more firmly feeling like there’s no reason for me to be worrying so much about how my parents’ dynamics should work in our family.
Like, hey, Mom and Dad are two different people, sure. There are things that Mom is better at, and there are things that Dad is better at. For example, Mom’s better at working with English, something that Dad has a hard time learning about, while Dad’s better at processing current social events, something which Mom isn’t as good at, as far as I’ve observed.
But hey, it should be remembered: Their differences don’t make them unequal overall! Whatever inequality they may seem to have…well, I guess that’s the darkness of our hearts messing up our vision. For example, I had times when I thought that Mom was a worse parent than Dad because of her fiery attitude, an attitude I had a very hard time taking, especially when she got stressed, while Dad seemed cooler, because, well…he had a cool way of listening and talking when I talked to him about my problems. I guess I became more of a wimp back then because of that mindset as well.
As time passed, though, I realized how they were always on the same boat in terms of being different but equal in terms of overall value. They have their strengths, and they have their weaknesses, but put Mom’s set and Dad’s set on the scales, and you’d find that they weigh the same, even though they’re composed of different stuff overall.
And with those differences, each of them are meant for certain things. We just haven’t tried hard enough to find out what they can really do in their respective elements if we think that such a setup is foolish. Like, for example, put Mom’s fiery attitude and Dad’s cool attitude, especially in synergizing tandem, and we get some equilibrium, yo~
And hey, I think that Mom and Dad understand that, considering how our family’s been doing lately. Me, well, I’ve been pretty much a worrywart the whole time with that, empathizing a little too much with people who aren’t as fortunate as I am in terms of family, feminism, and all that. Sure, it sucks to know of men who look down on the potential of women and vice-versa, but I don’t think it would ever justify me making my soul rot and making things worse.
Also: Do not underestimate housewives. I repeat: Do not underestimate housewives.
See, my mother, who’s pretty much a housewife now, considering how she left her regular job (though she’s currently working as a consultant), has to deal with not only her husband, but also us four kids, with two of said four being special kids as well, if you get what I mean. And lately, I’ve begun to realize how awesome she has been because of her great efforts for the family and how she still keeps on caring for us despite our faults and weaknesses. She left her regular job at a certain well-known company for the sake of watching over the family better, and because of that, she’s now able to do things like watching over my youngest sibling some more, the one who needs a lot of parental supervision because of his special needs. And although she took up work as a consultant, said work doesn’t really eat up as much in terms of her time for the family.
Also, I think I should stop wrapping my head around my extracurricular activities too much to feel the good changes with Mom being a housewife some more, hahaha…
So yeah, to all you husbands and kids and everyone else who thinks that being a housewife is a stupid and demeaning job: Do not underestimate housewives. They may not work like most men do, and the darkness of our hearts may have made their work seem like a mark of ignorance, but with the responsibilities that they have and the effort that they have to put, their work does not make them unimportant, let alone useless or inherently weaker.
Along with that, think about household chores some more, especially while you’re doing them, please. You’ll understand what I mean much better by doing that as well.
And speaking of housewives, I once wrote a story with such a woman as the main character for a writing prompt response…and I think a certain Roman Catholic woman from Canada, whom I met through blogging, can talk about such things better…
Now, to end this reflection, I would like to say that I’m continuing to look forward to my parents becoming better light beams, and that I’d like to become an awesome light beam combo with the awesome girl of my dreams as well. God Almighty keep on guiding us, too.