Boots Anson Roa Actress, MOWELFUND trustee and president, anchor on DZMM 630, and lecturer at Ateneo de Manila University Mother of four and grandmother of nine
“I think every mother is blessed and privileged to be taking care of a baby she loves so much. Sacrifice becomes less of a sacrifice because of love. Even if you face difficulties, because you love your children, the degree of pain, suffering, or sadness is lessened. My patience as a parent was put to the test a lot of times, especially since I was a working mother. ’Pag puyat ka, short fused ka. I also found out that while children in the same family are brought up along the same lines and in the same environment, they will still become different because each one is unique. One child can test your patience, especially if you have other things to do and even if someone helps you take care of your children, but then the love prevails.
“I always tell my children, ‘Just love people. Love your life and be grateful for all your blessings. Just look at each person as somebody made in the image and likeness of God.’ I’ve always emphasized respect for the human being and being nonjudgmental.
“Our family was blessed to spend some years in the U.S. I would like to think we were able to extricate the best of both Filipino and western values. We always spoke Filipino at home. My husband (Pete Roa) and I would tell our children, ‘Pag ang kaharap niyo ay mga Pinoy, ’wag kayong mag-American 'twang'.’ The best we could hope for was that their Filipino values would prevail. We always told them, ‘Keep your values and your concept of right and wrong intact, and observe the golden rule. Be nonjudgmental.’
“What I have been able to pass on to my children is a love for music and the arts. When they were small, I would play classical music at home. We would take them to plays. Now, they play classical music to their own kids. It is true that you carry with you what you grew up with all the way to adulthood and parenthood.
“No matter how much you’ve learned from professional advice and books, experience still teaches you the best way to bring up your children, and the best way to do that is to be a person for them. I like what the Jesuits teach, that you have to be a man for others.
“Through the years, I’ve also learned that you need to apply a lot of psychology and conditioning in raising children. Before, it was just plain discipline. It helps if your children obey you because they love you and don’t want to offend you, but it cannot be taken away from the child-rearing process that a tinge of fear still needs to be instilled. Parents should still be authority figures. You can horse around with your kids, but you’re still their authority figure.
“Communication is also very important. I’ve learned through the years that we need to listen to our children twice as much as we talk to them—that’s probably why we have only one tongue and two ears—especially now that times have changed. Our culture has evolved as well. We cannot just stay stuck in the generation we belong to. We must progress with the times while still keeping the basics.”
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Photo by Vincent Coscolluela. Makeup by Angie Cruz for Shue Uemura, hairstyling by Avril Seguin