“When I think of home
I think of a place
Where there’s love overflowing.”
There was a pond immediately beside my family’s house in Mandaluyong where water never ran out. Old folks told me that there was a “bukal” somewhere in the middle of the pond gurgling forth clear, cool, spring water that sustains the pond. Rainy seasons would trigger the spawning of “dalag” and I would always be in awe at the sight of the orange colored fingerlings and how they lose color and turn gray black towards summer as they mature. I would usually be preoccupied wading in the pond and catching the orange colored fingerlings with the palm of my hands during the rainy season and a bamboo rod fitted with fishing hook and line during summer waiting for a bite. Baits were either “pandesal” hand-rolled and hardened to a ball or earthworms freshly dug from the earth near the pond.
This was a time when time was slower, the air was fresher, the people kinder, and I, younger. This was a time when things seemed familiar. There was a sense of permanence. These sense of familiarity and permanence perhaps provided in me a sense of home.
I now live in Quezon City, having to relocate three times after getting married. My two children all grown up, one currently employed and the other an incoming college sophomore. They didn’t grow up experiencing “my pond” as probably most children nowadays didn’t experience the familiarity and permanence their parents did when they were growing up in their own homes.
There’s a saying, “home is where the heart is”. My home is where fond memories of warmth and laughter, of play and adventure, of life and creativity, of where “my pond” is or was, as a house were built over it. My children have their computers, cable, celfones… what else? Are these all they have? Is this a kind of home that life can offer to our children? Like most children of this generation, my children were either cramped inside the house interacting with the computer or the television, or hanging out in malls, or somewhere in their concrete and noisy jungle in groups made convenient by celfones. Where is the heart in computers, cable, or the celfone?
The experts claim that a home has a lot to do with the solid foundation of our children. What kind of formation can the computer, television or the celfone offer my children? These appliances may provide information. Formation requires human interaction for understanding, forgiveness, compassion, to grow and bear fruit in faith hope, and love. Perhaps, this is one of the goals of family. To provide our children with not merely shelter to protect their bodies, not merely food to sustain their bodies, not merely education to provide knowledge, but a home- gentle in its familiarity, profound in its permanence, and warm in its recollection of memories. Recalling memories by way of stories, told in humor and forgiveness. Telling our stories and merging them with new stories from the younger members of the family, articulating feelings, sharing ideas- but most of all, connecting- connecting with the heart.
This perhaps, we can do over the dinner table. Sharing our stories of childhood- its human aspects of laughter and tears, of pain and joy, and of struggle either of defeat or towards victory- of lessons learned and of wisdom gained. Then perhaps, by so doing, we allow our children to have a glance at our pond as we relive it, and we, the joy of having passed on a part of ourselves. Then perhaps this is what home is- to have shared what is familiar. To have shared that home where our heart is.
Give it a try and tell me what you think.
• Roderick Marfil, RGC, is a family therapist. He is available on Thursdays by appointment only at the Ilaw Center Psychology Lab, Miriam College in Quezon City. For inquiries: (0939) 211-0403; (+632) 520-5400 loc. 1134