Fathers play a vital role in the physical and emotional development of their children. When children have a healthy relationship with their father, they tend to connect better with others. Not only do they influence a child’s overall sense of wellbeing, but they also set an example on how they relate with other people. American writer Bud Kelland said it best, “My father didn’t tell me how to live. He lived and let me watch him do it.” And this proves to be especially true for the Valencianos.
Gary learned much about fatherhood from his own dad. One of the greatest lessons he picked up is the value of humility. “He was a humble man – meek and mild mannered,” shares Gary. “My dad was a perfect example of what a humble person is.”
Despite his busy schedule as one of the most respected local artists in the Philippines, Gary was hands-on when it came to raising his three children, Paolo, Gabriel, and Kiana. “I was the one Angeli would use to kind of put them in place. ‘Oh, I’ll tell you to papa, I’ll tell you to dad’, and then that’s it,” he explains. His parenting style changed when his children reached their twenties. He became a more chill and relaxed dad who always listened to their struggles and victories.
Gary believes in the importance of being present in his children’s lives and spends time to listen to them. Most of all, he and his wife devoted much of their time to instill the love for God and His Word to their children. As parents, they believe that when you have a heart full of love, the important life values will easily follow. “I don’t think parenting has to be something forever focused on what you can fix up in a child, but you can just enjoy the moments and talking about things that matter to them as much as they do to you,” Gary says.
From Father to Son
Now that his first born, Paolo, has his own family, Gary shared with him the most important lessons and values on parenting:
- Always listen to what your kids have to say. “When things get crazy, when issues are aired in a manner that raises the decibel levels, it pays to pay attention instead of shutting them down immediately.”
- Remember that children are like sponges, they learn from us. They don’t just take in what we give them physically like toys and all but, the words we say, the actions we act out in our lives, the manner in which we say our expressions and put across our messages are things they all take to heart. And somehow, kids today, because of technology, are exposed to so much more. Social media has its own share of challenges and parents must be on top of what their kids are watching online.
- Do not push your own dreams unto your children. Never expect your kids to become what you have become or what you’ve always hoped you’d become. “You can fly with your children but you can’t always fly for them. They have their own wings to fly with. It’s very important that you don’t expect them to live up to your expectations based on what you’ve accomplished, or failed to accomplish and hope that they do what you’ve failed to do. No, it’s not supposed to be that way.” And remember after 18, they must be allowed to become adults and you then become one of their board of advisers. Allow them to stumble. Time to let go.
- Constantly encourage them. “Every loss in life is always a tool meant to sharpen, prune you, and prepare you for the other battles you might face in the near future.”
Aside from these, he also shared the importance of spending quality time with one’s children and taking care of one’s health.
As a parent who has lived with health issues all his life, Gary realized being sick will not only take away time from his family but can also badly affect their savings. “It taught me to be careful and take care of myself a little more. I always had to think, ‘Wait, hold on—if you’re not around, it’s going to be very difficult for Angeli to carry on’ or, ‘If you are around but are crippled because of some health issue, then it’s going to be even more difficult because financially it will be a big bite out of the pocket, bigger than what it already is.’”
Diabetes taught Gary how to remember and keep in mind his three amazing children who were then all very young. “I had to make sure I took care of myself for them and for their sake and I’m still here. So I must have done something good, with the help of my wife of course, to have survived all of those close calls in the past.”
Protect your life and finances for your family
Everyone is exposed to life’s many risks, some more than others, especially when it comes to medical situations like the Valencianos. Serious health issues can not only lead to immense grief but also expensive medical expenses and debt.
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Managing Editor at Mindanao Times
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