• 'I Hope I Raise a Daughter Who Never Feels Powerless to Fight Back'

    "I hope she grows into a woman who can and will fight back if ever she would feel used, abused, or violated."
    by Loraine Balita-Centeno .
  • 'I Hope I Raise a Daughter Who Never Feels Powerless to Fight Back'
  • Here’s the truth, I am scared. Scared for my precious little daughter, my bunso

    I open the television and realize how harsh and cruel the world has become. I look at her eyes sparkling with the innocence of a toddler and wonder what kind of woman she will become. How much time do I have with her? How long can I hold her hand and protect her? I don’t know the answer to any of these. None of us do. 

    All I know is that we cannot protect our baby girls from the harsh realities of the world forever. We cannot shield them from every heartache and every pain; we cannot always save them from the big bad wolves of the world. 

    The only thing we can do as parents is to pray and prepare them. Raise them well so they’ll grow strong and able to withstand all the pain and frustrations life will throw at them. Raise them to be wise, so they’ll know what to do under different circumstances that will test them.

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    I hope to teach her to love her self enough.

    I hope she learns self-respect so that she knows how not to let anyone, not a man nor a woman, mistreat her. I  hope she’ll have enough courage to know early in life how much or how little she’s willing to take from people, even from those she loves. She will not be raised to be a doormat. I hope she learns that she is free to walk away and leave when she feels she’s had enough. 

    There is no such thing as a "man’s world" to a woman who is determined to achieve her goals. For as long as she works hard, she can be whatever she wants to be in the future. She shouldn’t mind people saying “but you’re just a girl,” and she should never pay attention to people who will doubt her abilities, who will put her in a box, and limit her potential based on her gender alone. She should always feel free to demand what is due her. 

    I hope I raise a daughter who never feels powerless to fight back if she feels abused or violated.

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    I hope she will grow up knowing that it’s never okay for a man, or anyone, to disrespect her body. Her body is hers and hers alone and no one, no matter how wealthy or influential, is entitled to have power over her. 

    I hope she grows into a woman who can and will fight back if ever she would feel used, abused, or violated. She should never be forced into silence just because she’s afraid of what others would say or they will put the blame on her. 

    I hope my daughter takes to heart what her grandmother used to tell me: Don’t ever marry for money. Be with someone kind, who will love you, truly love you, and everything else will follow. 

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    I hope my daughter will be ready to face the most painful albeit inevitable part of life — death.

    Someday I won’t be with her anymore, she may or may not be there to witness it, but I hope she’ll be ready emotionally, mentally, and psychologically.

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    I hope to teach her that death is an integral part of life, one from which we cannot escape. At some point in our lives, we will lose people we love dearly. One day I won’t be on the other end of the line anymore, not there to answer her questions, not there to listen, not there to comfort her, not there to save her from whatever problem she may have gotten herself into or from whatever kind of monster she will meet. 

    I can’t be with my daughter forever. At some point I will have to leave, she will have to accept it and let me go. 

    I look at my little girl, and I can only hope that I can raise her to be tougher than I ever was or ever will be because who knows how scary the world will become when she’s older or when she becomes a mother.

    One day when she calls out “Mama” I will not be able to answer. When that happens, I hope she'll be strong enough to carry on and thrive in the world even one that doesn’t include me anymore.

    Loraine Balita-Centeno was a full-time faculty member of De La Salle University (Manila) where she also served as director of the Student Media Office. She gave it up to work from home, writing and editing for various publications in the Philippines and abroad, with a toddler clamped around one leg and a preschooler asking her questions every five minutes. Read more of her parenting ramblings on her blog mommyfied.ph.

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