As I was about to leave the house this afternoon, I heard familiar voices from what we tagged as the happy family from our small neighborhood. We baptized them as the happy family because we have observed that the sound of their quarrels, rants and curses defined their everyday happiness. I was once agitated by their everyday happiness ritual which starts at 4 am. Over time however, I’ve learned to deal with them. In fact, things feel unusual for me whenever they are in peace and silence. Haha
While I learned to ignore their loud presence, this afternoon drama episode was different. I overheard the mother nagging and reprimanding his son who lost a Php 500 bill. As I was walking away from home, I felt that they were behind me. Apparently, the mother was taking chances of finding the Php 500 bill along the street. The mother and son scene continued. The mother was even shouting at the teenagers and bystanders whoever saw a Php 500 bill. The mother tried to beg everyone to return the missing Php 500 bill. I was about to cross the street when I realized that they were still behind me. To say that the mother is making a scandalous scene is even an understatement. The mother caught every attention from every person in the street.
I can’t blame the mother because I would equally feel upset if I lose a Php 500 bill. However, what I can never accept is the scandal created by the mother. She rattled the entire street. She reprimanded and embarrassed the son in front of many people, which I believe is a mortal sin under unwritten rules of parenthood.
Setting aside the drama which the mother had created, I hope she realized that she has her own mistake too. If the Php 500 was the last money left in her wallet, she should have held on to it. She should not have entrusted her remaining livelihood to his seven year old kid. More importantly, she should have placed herself in the shoes of the bystanders or anyone who met a Php 500 in the street. Would she be tempted to pocket it as well?
In a similar note, I remember a related experience back when I was eight years old.
I was walking with two male younger cousins across a mud-covered street. One of my cousins was a two-year old kid and the other was a year younger than me. Halfway on the way home, I saw a Php 100 bill in the brink of being soaked in a puddle. I shouted, “there’s a Php 100 bill!” My other cousin immediately shouted, “hey, that belongs to Roy” (my two-year old cousin). I didn’t understand what my cousin was trying to communicate with me. I later learned that he knew the money wasn’t ours. He wanted to pretend and shout that the money belongs to my innocent two-year old cousin. We continued with our argument because I was insisting that we didn’t own the money. Hence, we should not claim it as ours.
While my cousin was getting agitated and I remained clueless, a girl of my age joined our argument out of nowhere. She grabbed the money and asked a group of early elder male drinkers if they own the money. Taking advantage of our ignorance and silliness, they immediately claimed the money.
When we reached home, my cousin related everything to our folks. To my surprise, everyone was mad at me, including my own parents. I can’t count how many times I was called as a stupid ass. My cousin was treated as the hero antagonist. While me? I was left as the ignorant and annoying supporting actress.
As I was riding the FX taxi, incident caused me some shallow realizations. Thanks to the unexpected traffic for intensifying my emotions and making me write this post.
We demand for other people’s honesty without looking at our own level of honesty. We want to have honest neighbors without considering if we are capable of promoting honesty in our own families.
My experience back when I was an innocent eight year old kid gave me confusions for a while. You see, my mother would always remind me to be good and value the expensive Catholic education ,which my father is dying to work for. While the value of honesty was thriving in me, I was suddenly placed in a situation where I have to set aside my values system. The incident gave me my first taste of how honesty sometimes becomes a moment of stupidity.