What fatherhood has taught me
They spend endless hours perfecting their art and earn applause and praise for their performances as Ballet Manila dancers. But away from the studio and the stage, what they each enjoy most is stepping into their real-life role – that of being a father.
We join the celebration of Father’s Day by asking three BM dancers about the most important lessons fatherhood has taught them. Here’s what they shared:
GERARDO FRANCISCO, principal dancer
Geri is father to Jeree Angela, 14; Jed Matthew, 13; and Jesee Denise, 12.
Family comes first. No matter how busy you are, always find time for your kids. Time will come, they will have their own schedules. As much as possible, hanggat may oras ka, you spend it with them habang bata pa sila.
Lahat kami sa bahay busy – work, trainings, school, rehearsals, shows, games, events, to name a few. Kaya no matter how short the time is, I spend it with them in any way possible. Attending their games is very important. I let them feel na all-out support kami, win or lose. As long as our schedule permits, we watch and we cheer. We will also explain to them if ever hindi kami makakapunta.
We always wait for each other para sabay-sabay kami kumain. Everyone will adjust. Since I have rehearsals and the kids have homework, we make sure that we talk about our day and we share stories over food. Short time, but all worth it. I always make sure I cook for them and serve what is good for their body if they come from training or if there’s a big game coming. I also train with them and explain the importance of each exercise, what will benefit them and what it is for.
We watch kid-friendly movies with them and we will share our ideas or comments about the movie. If we are all home, it’s either we play with the PS4 or we sing and play the ukulele. We are music lovers, so we sing a lot. We do road trips also and we sing or share music inside the car. If they are bored, I will crack a joke; no matter how corny it is, they still laugh anyway. Or maybe they’re just pretending so my feelings won’t be hurt.
Make sure you practice what you preach. Kung ano ang tinuturo mo dapat ginagawa mo rin. Remember, you are the role models. Pag sinabi mong, wash your hands before eating, make sure you show it to them also. They look up to you so make sure you do what is right and they will follow. Stick to your rules.
If you correct them over something, make sure you also don’t do it. Pag sinabi mong no gadgets while eating, don’t use any gadgets. Or else they will ask you, bakit ikaw puwede, kami hindi? No matter how important it is (unless it’s a life and death situation) basta nasa table at kumakain, no gadgets allowed. Because that is the only time that we could share and talk about our day.
Don’t break your promise. This will hurt their feelings and the more you break your promise, the trust that binds within will be broken and it will be hard for you to fix it.
If you promised your kids that you will give them a prize after they pass their exams, make sure you give them the reward they expected because the next time you promise, they won’t believe you anymore and they won’t follow you.
Another example is when you promise that you will be there in one of the important events in their lives, like their graduation or a championship game, it will hurt their feelings if you don’t show up. If you are not sure that you can make it, don’t promise or give them false hopes but make sure if one of you can’t attend, the other one has to be there. Hindi puwedeng pareho kayong wala. These events are very important to them and they want you to be a part of it. They want you to be proud of them and they want to share it with you.
ROMEO PERALTA, soloist
Romeo is father to Ethan Chase, 8; Liam Marshall, 2; and Stephen Mason, two months old.
Parenthood is the most satisfying and hardest role to portray. As a father of three boys, I pray they do well in life, and go do awesome things as adults. I still have so much to learn with them, but if there is something that I learned at this early stage of being a father that would be:
Be with them as much as possible. They grow really, really fast. Soon you’ll realize that they are not babies anymore that you need to carry for hours or let them lay in your chest to put them to sleep. They won’t fit anymore in their pajamas or their favorite shirt. Soon they’ll start to walk and eventually run and all you can do is chase them. They will have their own time, play with their friends, spend hours in school or for activities they need to attend to.
Tons of patience. You will hear a lot of crying and wailing and it feels really intimidating. You want them to feel at ease but when frustration, irritation and anger get into you – even if you are trying your best to be cool – some days you lose and you feel the worst after. You will hear a lot of “why’s” and “What, Daddy?”
Be aware. Kids become like a sponge that absorbs and copies things they find around them. They imitate you. You instill discipline but sometimes you tend to forget that you’re teaching them and you end up breaking your rules, and it will get back to you. Be aware of the things you do in front of them, even just the small things and gestures.
To apologize. Learning to accept and to acknowledge mistakes in front of your kids doesn’t make you less of a father. We accept our struggles and learn from it in the hope of teaching them to do the same.
ALVIN SANTOS, soloist
Vhin is father to Kassandra Mcxine (Kakay), 5, and Matteo Rafael, 9 months old.
The important lesson fatherhood has taught me is how to love unconditionally and selflessly. Being a father is not an easy job. It entails a lot of responsibilities and accepting all the changes it brought to my life, from lifestyle down to priorities that I used to have.
Having Kakay in my life was like a starter-pack, a training ground for me to become a father. I learned how to be cautious in my actions and words whenever she’s around. She made me understand that patience and deep understanding are very important when raising a child. I became expressive in showing my care and affection towards others simply because those are the traits that I wanted her to acquire as she grows up.
Lastly, being a father to Kakay made me a disciplinarian and very protective. Like what I always tell her – she may not be flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone, but she is our own, and she’s in our heart till the end.
When Matteo was born, I felt like I was the happiest person in the world. The joy he gave me can never be explained in any way. With him, I learned how to face life’s challenges and become more resilient than I was before. Whenever I look at my boy, I always tell myself that I would do anything and everything to the best of my ability to give him what life has to offer him. And I am very thankful to our Creator for giving me such a healthy and lovable child.