|Maraming salamat po|
Dear Ate Anna,
I attended An evening with Ate Anna on March 6. I must write and thank you. I enjoyed the evening very much, in particular the monologue presentation of the Moreno family – Mr. and Mrs. Moreno and their children, Cristina and Nick. Like the Moreno family, I am also a newcomer parent with teenagers.
I can totally relate with the character of Mrs. Moreno. As a woman and working mother, I am so busy and often feel tired. Just go, go, go… juggling work, cooking, grocery shopping, household chores, and taking care of my children and husband. As a parent, I have also many worries. I worry about not giving the best to our children; I worry that our children will lose some of the Filipino values that are important to us; and I worry about the safety of my children. Sometimes, I wonder about their friends and what they do after school.
Ate Anna, on that evening I had the opportunity to hear the “voices” of the teen-aged children – Cristina and Nick Moreno. It helped me understand that our children also have their own set of challenges. The immigrant children growing up here are living in “two cultures”. They are struggling to “fit in” with their Canadian friends but they also want to “please” us. I appreciated hearing the children’s perspective and it made me stop and think some more. I have to admit that I am so busy and focused on making a living that I sometimes forget our children have their needs too. My job is not just to satisfy their material needs. Children need their parents to understand their point of view and to listen to them. To be honest with you, this won’t be easy for me. I was raised differently back home. Parents are the bosses and children don’t have much “say”. But…there was one thing you said on that evening that really hit me - just like a light bulb went on in my head.
You said: “Immigrant parents come to Canada because we love our children; we want them to have a better future. But we need to realize that children are growing up in a different environment. They go to school here, they make friends… they are a product of “two cultures”. Listening is an important part of having a good relationship with our children. We may need to change the way we talk to our children. We need to talk less and listen more. If there is a communication breakdown, we will lose our connection to our children. What then is the purpose of coming to Canada – for your children? But your children don’t even want to talk to you.”
Before I close this letter, I have one BIG question. On that evening you stated that “sex and sexuality” is everywhere and our children are bombarded with “unhealthy” sexual messages. It is very important for parents to talk to their children about sexuality or else TV, movies, the Internet, and music videos become our children’s teacher on sex. My first reaction is: Me… talking about sex to my kids? HOW can I do it?
Thank you again for the evening. Keep up the good work!
Thank you for attending the event! Ate Anna is glad to hear that you enjoyed it. Hope to see you again next year. Due to the space limitations of this column, Ate Anna will answer your BIG question in the next issue.
Ate Anna and SERC would also like to take this opportunity to express our sincere thanks to all the parents and participants who attended An evening with Ate Anna. Special thanks to Pilipino Express, ANAK, Perla Javate and Juvian’s restaurant for making the event a success.