June 08, 2020
Pinoy Big Brother (PBB) is a reality TV show in which players are tasked to live together inside one house for 100 days. PBB, dubbed “Ang Teleserye Ng Totoong Buhay,” is fun to watch as we witness how the housemates deal with their issues, accomplish their tasks, and grow closer to one another.
Being stuck in one house for 100 days with different people sounds like a nice concept for a TV show—until you experience it yourself.
This extended quarantine sometimes feels like a season in the PBB house. Especially if you’re a student, you may be in this for the long haul.
Whether you like it or not, you will have to get along with your parents and siblings. You’ll learn how to juggle your online classes while washing the dishes. Or play mobile games while looking after your younger siblings.
But I hope that you will not look at home quarantine as an instrument of torture, but a season to maximize with your family and a moment to cherish forever.
When I was in high school, I envied my classmates whose parents didn’t keep asking about their whereabouts. If it was getting late and I wasn’t home yet, I would receive messages like these:
“Kua, san ka na daw. Gabi na.”
“Anak wer kn”
My phone screen would tell me I had:
11 missed calls (Mama Globe)
I felt like the “killjoy” in my friend group because I always needed to leave early. And the most irritating thing was hearing the same script over and over when I tried to explain my side:
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12)
I always wondered why honoring our parents was nonnegotiable. I used to think of it as unfair especially to children, but then I realized that this command is applicable to all of us. Our parents were once children, and many of us will have kids someday.
The way a soldier is assigned to a specific duty, God also appoints us to be part of a specific family. We can’t choose who our parents will be, and they also can’t choose their children. (It’s a tie!)
Being assigned by God to a certain family is not a disappointing reality to embrace, but a display of His sovereignty.
Parents are called to love their children unconditionally. Ever since we were born, they were appointed by God to buy us milk, change our diapers, tuck us into bed, fetch us from school, watch our basketball games, pay our tuition fees, give us warm hugs, and provide us with internet connection.
On top of all that, they have to think about their career paths, make sure that we are well fed, handle their personal hurts, manage the family budget, take care of the house, and dream for our future.
Money can never compensate for the effort our parents have given. They deserve to be honored. No ifs or buts. We may not always understand them, but we can make a decision to honor them nonetheless.
Here is what I learned throughout the years: My parents are not perfect, but they are irreplaceable.
One time as a child, my sister and I were fighting over something. We always fought over small things because our personalities and preferences are miles apart.
But our dad told us that one day, when push came to shove, we would only have each other to back us up. My sister would be my only “closest relative.” I resolved since then that my sister is not my rival, but my most dependable ally.
But, yeah, we still fight sometimes.
Fast-forward to college. I studied in Manila and lived in a boarding house. My mom always insisted that I return home on weekends for one very important thing: eating dinner together.
One of these times, we had a conversation about eulogies. What she said made a significant mark on me:
“Kapag namatay ako, ayokong makarinig sa inyo na magsabi na, ‘Sana nasabi ko ‘to sa ‘yo nung nabubuhay ka pa.’ Hangga’t nandito pa kami, iparamdam niyo na sa amin na mahal niyo kami para ‘di na kayo magsisi sa huli.”
I thought about all the moments I had spent with my family and realized that I didn’t have much time left. Someday I would have to leave to build my own home. When that day came, I would only get to see them on holidays and special occasions. Or worse, they might be gone before it could even happen—no one knows.
We may be under the wrong impression that our parents will always be around. But time is ticking, and they will someday be gone. Love them while you still can.
And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
God, in all His wisdom, came up with the idea of family. He intends to establish His kingdom on earth through godly families that operate in His love and power.
I think it’s safe to say that aside from defining a family as the basic unit of society, it’s also the basic unit of God’s kingdom. If you look closely, you’ll see that all of us are part of God’s family, receiving the same grace and love. All of us are valuable in His sight.
Where you spend your time is a reflection of what you value. If God values our families, so should we.
You may or may not be part of the family you dreamed of, but I’m certain that the grace of God is sufficient for every family, regardless of how it’s set up.
This quarantine is an opportunity to maximize. Don’t pass it up.