What My Mom Taught Me

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May, the month of blooms, of flowers. My favorite month after December. It was also the month my husband and I decided, 14 years ago, to make our commitment official. It was Mother’s Day when we committed to each other in front of our respective Moms. It’s also the month we celebrate our mothers.

I decided to write my second Minute Monday series as a tribute to our mothers. If you haven’t read the first blog series on the Women of the Bible, you can check out these fascinating women: Eve, Hannah, Ruth, and the Bleeding Woman.

I was raised by a stay-at-home mom. She was pushed to the role of “mother” to your younger siblings at 13 years old when their mother died. Her paternal grandmother and her uncles looked after her while her father was stationed in Vietnam. She was not the perfect Mommy but she did her best in raising us well.

Being surrounded by adults all her life, she has learned to love, respect them and care for them. Having that innate caring attitude, it was not hard for her to care for other people, more so her children, her relatives and the people under her care. She gets stressed out most of the time because she cares TOO MUCH.

My mom taught me to respect and care for others.

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We’ve been taught as kids to show respect to those older than us by responding graciously when being talked to. The Filipino trait of using “Po” and “Opo” and the polite gesture of “pagmamano” or kissing on the cheek are still acceptable practices and has been ingrained in our culture.

When I was taking steps into adulthood and slowly becoming independent, I sincerely believed that respect is EARNED. It was difficult for me to show “respect” to my “elders”. I judged them because of the way the way they treat others and the way they live their lives. And so, I might SHOW respect outwardly but in my heart, I hated their guts.

Many years later, that prideful thinking changed. Having been married for only a few years, I was exposed to the Word of God and in it I convicted of my sin and my wrong belief. The verse in Ephesians 6:1-3 says thatChildren, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’—which is the first commandment with a promise— ‘so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth”, struck a chord in me. I was ashamed and God’s word rebuked me. Since then, by the grace of God, I slowly gave the respect that is due them. 

You might ask, “What if my father is irresponsible? What if my mother works a lot and does not have time for us? What if they have shouting matches everyday? What if I don’t feel like respecting them?” God’s commands do not change. Whatever our circumstances or how unworthy of respect these people are, the command still holds. There is no excuse. I know it’s not easy, I have been there. The struggle is real. But God’s grace enables us to see beyond the character flaws, our circumstances and our feelings.

Take heart, though, the command has a promise that it “go well with you and you may enjoy long life on the earth.” We are all accountable to God in the end. If our parents, or any other authority figure in our lives did not take their responsibilities seriously then they have to answer to God for that. They have to take into account the role they played in our lives.

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Another element of respect is seen in Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves” How many times have we looked down on people because (we think) they are intellectually, physically, financially and even spiritually below us?

When the security guard or a sales person in a store greets us, do we acknowledge their effort or completely ignore them? When we see someone posts something on Facebook that is totally opposite of what we believe, do we argue with them or simply let it pass? When someone sends an email, a text message whether urgent or not, do we make sure to respond before the day ends or do we look at the message and scroll away? When we set a doctor’s appointment or with a friend, you we show up on time? Or do we assume this person will understand our “reasons”? Seriously!

Gone are the days when the Spanish Illustrados poke fun at the poor and lowly Indios, right? But why do we sometimes have our noses up in the air and feel we are better than others?

Turo ng mama ko, ang pagkain para sa lahat, kasabay kumain sa mesa ang kasambahay kasi dapat lahat pantay pantay. Sabi din niya, galangin ang mga matatanda. -Rachel

The Bible does not say we remain passive all the time. We are free to reason, discuss, or even debate with others whose views are different from ours. But to call them names or insult them does not show respect at all. We can all agree to disagree. Respect each other’s conviction and live in peace with one another. Learn how to choose your battles.

The simplest yet most difficult way to show respect is to LISTEN. In any social conversation, family discussion or political debate, listening with the intent to empathize and not to win is truly humbling. In the end, the one who truly listens is the one who wins the other person’s heart. -Inspirited Mom

This 2016 Presidential election has provoked a lot of people to anger, including myself. I have to admit that I got piqued by posts that are divisive, claim to be truth, irreverent and totally disrespectful of other candidates.

After posting a couple of comments after a debate, I decided not to join the bandwagon and share election related posts. It’s not because I think I’m better than those other supporters or that I’m a passive onlooker.  It’s because I know that I will only fan the flame of the highly emotional mob of Facebook users. I know I have the tendency to post irresponsible comments that will not promote solidarity but cause further division. I’m doing it for own peace of mind and sanity.

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. Romans 3:1-2 

Whoever garners the majority of votes in the coming May 9 elections will be the 16th president of the Philippines. That new president will take the highest seat in Malacanang. Even if we don’t like this new leader, the third element of respect comes in. We are to respect and honor whoever takes that seat. This leader is the established by God not because of the accomplishments, platform, strategic plans or character. The leader is established because God will use him in ways we will not understand. Only God has the best platform, strategic plans, accomplishments and character 🙂

In the end, no matter how much power is in the hands of this new leader, he has no power against a sovereign and almighty God. He must also respect and honor God in everything because He will not only answer to the Filipino people but he will answer before God. It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God, Hebrews 10:31 When we respect our leaders, we are respecting God’s appointee. The best thing we can do for the next president and our country is to pray and to pray unceasingly.

Are you a respectful person? As a mom, how do you teach your kids the value of respect? Share your comments here or on the Facebook page 🙂