“Nabuntis ang anak ko, kaya ako umuwi” (My daughter got pregnant so I came home), says Z, a just-returned OFW as we struck a conversation while she waited for her sundo at the NAIA airport.
Z must have been building up her rage for a confrontation with her daughter. She needed to vent. “Marami nga kaming pera, nagkaganyan naman ang anak ko. Nagpapaka-alipin ka sa ibang bansa, wasak naman ang pamilya mo." (We have lots of money, but look at what happened to my daughter. Here I am slaving myself in another country but my family life is shattered.) Z worked as a domestic helper for a family in Saudi Arabia.
While many Filipinos have found gainful employment and improved their standards of living because of a father or mother working abroad, we’ve also heard of its tragic outcomes:
- Husbands or wives getting involved with third parties, motivated mainly by loneliness and the need to belong in a place they could not call home.
- Children getting exposed to negative influences like drugs and sexual promiscuity, mainly because of the lack of parental guidance .
- And not to forget, the sad stories of OFWs being maltreated, molested, denied their basic human rights, and even sent to prison or punished with death—all out of desperation or to defend themselves from ruthless masters.
Still, the exodus goes on!
Social scientists would be in a better situation to assess the long term impact of the OFW phenomen on our society. Suffice it to say that dysfunctional upbringing breeds dysfunctional lives. What price will families and our society pay for all these misalignments?
God has given us His Word to direct our decisions.
Note what He says of couples: “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). A married person’s place is with his/her partner! To be separated for a long time is a recipe for disaster.
“Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them” (Colossians 3:19). How could love be demonstrated and a relationship built when two people are apart?
“Mas mabuti pang wala siya dito” (It's better if my husband is not here), kids a wife whose husband works in the Middle East. “Walang diskusyon! Magpadala na lang sya ng pera! (No discussions! Just as long as he sends money!) Everybody happy.”
A relationship founded on money alone will inevitably crash and burn.
Too, parents are expected to stick around to train their children; and children are instructed to obey their parents. Moreover, fathers should not exasperate their children, or they will lose heart (Colossians 3:20-21). This seems an impossibility in long distance parenting.
How many kids have become disappointed because their parents or any of them have not been around for their birthday or their graduation, or during times they needed counsel or encouragement or a hug or support for a school project?
Z lamented, “Wala ako nang magkaroon ng period ang anak ko. Ngayon, uuwi ako na buntis sya. Napakasakit isipin na noong kailangan ng anak ko ang payo ko, hindi ko ito nagawa." (I was not there when my daughter had her period. Now, I come home and she's pregnant. It's painful to realize that when my daughter needed advice, I wasn't able to do it.)
It is sad that Z could no longer turn back the time.
Yes, her daughter enjoyed the perks of having an OFW for a mother. She’s studying in a private school. Their house is stuffed with appliances and modern gadgets. She even has an IPhone. But at what price?
Let me quote from my book, Grandparenting: Happiness and Hard Work:
“’The brain drain has caused the disintegration of the Filipino family,’ contend those who want to stem the exodus of OFWs. But say others, "who can blame them, given the choice between unemployment and gutter-level incomes?”
I urge you to pray and ask God for wisdom if you find yourself in this situation today. But more than anything, I pray that God will give you a revelation of who He is and how He could turn your situation around.
He created you and knows His purpose for you. He didn’t intend you to be the tail but the head. He meant you to be on top, not the bottom. He is your provider. He is the God who is more than enough. You are more than a conqueror in Christ. If you align your desire with Jesus and His will for you, He will bless you and your loved ones, wherever you are planted.
Originally published at: http://cbnasia.org/home/2013/09/tragic/