Being a work at home mom now, I rarely have the chance to be in public places, but I had to process some documents recently, which led me standing in a busy street in Binondo on a Monday morning. While waiting for my ride home, my carefree searching through my phone’s playlist was disturbed by some random strangers’ “domestic violence”.
The drama I used to watch from predictable teleseryes or an episode of MMK, I witnessed firsthand in that busy street of Binondo. A man fuming with hate continuously hit his wife with an umbrella before the eyes of a crying little boy. As if that wasn’t enough, he pushed his son towards his mother while cursing and shouting degrading statements. As passersby watched, the man then pushed away his wife and his son, telling them to pack their things and never to come back. The mother was stoic, but it was obvious she’s trying to hold her tears to appear fierce. The crying child remained helpless, afraid.
I know this scene is no surprise to anyone of us. It’s not new to us as we’ve all seen family violence on TV or from the windows of our neighbors’ home, but I didn’t know that witnessing domestic violence firsthand will have so much negative effect on me. It’s maybe because I’m already a parent and I see my own child in the eyes of another child in pain.
As I helplessly watched the disheartening real life drama, I wanted to hug the little boy and tell him “I’m sorry.”
I’m sorry that you had to go through all this.
I’m sorry your childhood had to be this traumatic.
Problems between spouses can never be taken out of the picture. We are humans and it is not surprising that our different opinions, attitude, temperament and interests lead to arguments and fight. How we react to marital problems, however, is something we can control. We have the option to spare our children from bearing the emotional burden of seeing their parents quarrel, of seeing their parents hurt each other.
Seeing those tears running down the little boy’s cheeks reminded me that parents have a huge responsibility in shaping how a child views life. Children, all of them, deserve a happy childhood. They deserve to be spared from emotional, physical and mental trauma. They deserve to play, learn, enjoy life without fear. They deserve to witness good examples. They deserve to feel protected and loved especially by their own parents.
I don’t know exactly what the couple in Binondo was going through, but I pray that their son will grow up without any taint of hatred. I’m sharing this experience to remind myself and other parents to put our children’s wellbeing before ourselves.
In every emotion we entertain, in every nasty word we are dying to let out, in every decision we make, in every action we take, let us think of the effect these emotions, words, decisions and actions will have on the little ones.