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'My Dad Was Not Perfect,' Rica Shares How She Came To Honor Her Dad Despite Their Issues
PHOTO BY INSTAGRAM /MOMMY_LOLS
  • The month of June is dedicated to fathers and for many children, Father’s Day is a joyous time to honor the “fatherly figures” of the home – that one person who wears many hats for the entire family-- provider, protector, disciplinarian, designated driver, and spoiler to mention a few.

    For some, it can be the one occasion they want to avoid the most because they feel that their expectations of a what a father should be weren’t met.  
     
    For her vlog, Poprica, this month of June—a time when fathers are celebrated around the world--Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio bravely reflects on her own relationship with her late father. Her dad, Ricardo, (from which her name Rica comes from) passed away on August 6, 2019.   
     
    In her vlog, Rica explores a delicate question: “Can I honor a parent who hasn't been good to me?” 
     
    Expounding on the word ‘honor’, Rica explains that it can be very hard for a child to honor one’s parents if they have not fulfilled their expected roles in the family. In the case of fathers, that would be providing for the family, being a protector and strength in times of crisis or danger, or simply being present.

    Rica opens up that she herself didn’t have a perfect relationship with her dad and she hopes many will learn from her journey as she made the effort to resolve her issues with her dad before he passed on.


     
    Rica recognizes that relationships are a two-way street. While she says her Dad was not perfect, she acknowledges that neither was she. “He could have done more, I could’ve done more.  It was just a matter of who could’ve done more to resolve our issues as father and daughter,” she reflects.

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    Having said this, she looks back on their relationship with a tinge of regret. “Wala na tayong magagawa. Yun yung isang masakit na bagay na kapag wala na ang inyong tatay o nanay dito sa mundo iniisip mo na sana nung buhay pala siya, nagawa ko ito.” 

    READ ALSO: A Boy Asks Pope Francis if His Dad, Who Did Not Believe in God, Is in Heaven

    Go beyond a parent’s faults

    Three years after his death, Rica says she finds comfort in the fact that time has allowed her to see the good things about her Dad. “God has given me the eyes to see all the good things about him,” she says.

    She described her dad as a God-fearing and charitable person who did random acts of kindness for strangers.

    She shared the story of how, when her mother was pregnant with her, her Dad decided to help a taxi driver and, for going out of his way, that driver gave him a pearl. “Sabi ng nanay ko when she got it na ‘siguro yung nasa sinapupunan ko ay babae kasi bakit perlas ang binigay sa’yo,’” she shares.

    READ ALSO: How I’m Trying To Be A Good Dad Even Though I Grew Up Without One

    Rica also credits her spirituality to her father. “Kahit maraming hindi okay about my Dad, isa sa mga pinaka memories ko sa kanya is may relationship siya with the Lord,” she says. “Sobrang luminaw ang aking pananamapalataya at ang tingin ko sa Panginoon ng dahil sa tatay ko,” she says.

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    To children who find themselves in the same situation, Rica advises that they try to go beyond their fathers’ faults and make an effort to see the good in them. “I think, it would be good for our health as children to take a step back and see our parents not only for their faults, but also for their strengths,” she says.

    Healing is a process

    So how does one honor a parent with whom he/she hasn’t had an ideal relationship with?

    For Rica, it’s a process. “The process is very important,” she says.  “It’s like going through the stages of grief kung saan bago tayo makarating sa part na kaya na nating i-honor yung ating mga magulang ay kelangan nating maintindihan kung bakit nga ba tayo nasasaktan.”

    Once one has gone through the process, honoring will stem from a place of respect and peace.

    Go through the process.

    “With my father… I did not stop myself from getting angry and realizing that I wanted more than just what was given to me.  Because of that, nakarating ako doon sa part na naresolve ko siya,” says Rica. The process can be different for everyone but to help one see the situation objectively, it would be good to seek counselling. In her case, Rica talked with a professional counselor to guide her with the process. “Spending for a professional counselor is worth it because the relationship is worth it,” she points out.

    Pray for healing.

    Expect to be hurt when feelings are finally expressed out loud. “No matter how deep the pain is, mas gusto natin siyempre ung healing,” says Rica.

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    She shares that she is lucky that she was able to come to terms with how she felt towards her father before he passed on. “I think the blessing there was to be able to resolve all the [issues] that I had with him towards the end of his life.”

    Because of this she says, she was able to cry for him and she was able to accept whatever has transpired between them over the years.  “Kaya ko siyang iyakan dahil siya yung binigay na ama ng Panginoon ko sa akin.”

    Seek trusted friends to help you process.

    Find that someone or that group of people who can hold your hand throughout the process of understanding, healing, forgiving, and moving forward.

    “It’s hard to have issues and not have anyone to talk to about it,” says Rica. “If you have a handful of friends that you can trust with your innermost feelings, they could provide you with the wisdom and the company you will need,” she adds. 

    Find a ‘father’ in God.

    While Rica regrets not being able to spend more time with her father before he died, she says she found solace in recognizing ‘the father in heaven.’

    “Lahat ng mga hinahanap ko sa aking ama na di niya nabigay nung nabubuhay pa siya, napupunan yun ng Diyos na ating ama sa langit,” she says. Wherever we are in the ‘process’ it’s important to turn to a spiritual ‘father’ because what he offers is a ‘perfect love,’ she adds.

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    Father’s Day happens yearly but it is important to recognize that not everyone finds it easy to honor their fathers because of unresolved issues and past experiences.

    However, Rica’s story is proof that when we put in the effort to resolve our issues and rebuild our relationships, honoring a person who has hurt us will be so much easier.  

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