Tuesday, June 21, 2005

What values? Cash or in kind?

How much luxury should a parent allow his/her child? I ask this because I've seen students of ours who have very expensive cellphones, sometimes even having two. I don't know why they need to have two but they do. Maybe one for texting, another, (Sun) for calling.

I am not writing this to criticize parents who have the luxury of buying their children the latest cellphone and whatever technological gadget there is. How one raises his/her child(ren) is entirely up to himself/herself. Noone has the right formula in rearing kids. I know I don't. I am writing this because as always, I want to share my thoughts with my children and their children's children on what I think and what guidelines I follow in life.

One of my daughters wanted to buy a new cellphone. (I know she'd hate me for sharing this. She even dreads her coming birthday knowing I'd be writing about her. :-)) She knew I wouldn't give her money so she's using her own. Her godmother arrived from the States and since they haven't seen each other for a long time, decided to give her cash. Now, adding to that amount her own savings, she, indeed, can buy a second-hand phone.

My wife was okay with it. However, when given the chance, since my daughter never mentioned it to me, I told her I have reservations about her purchasing another cellphone. What for? It's not that it's a necessity. More than anything else, it is merely a status symbol. And because it is, you have to flaunt it. Always keep it visible to let everyone know you have an expensive phone. Otherwise, why need one if you just keep it in your pocket, right? Remember, its a status symbol. If yor phone is not visible, ergo, you don't have your status? Now, when did that ever become a virtue? You are just inviting pickpockets and probably endangering your life that way. When everybody else appears to be living in abject poverty, I think, it is a sin to flaunt your material possessions.

One of my apprehensions in having my kids study in a school where there are plenty of rich kids is that my children may get their penchant for material things. My wife and I have always been simple people. My kids know that. They know that while we do not live in dire straits, we only have enough for our needs. Maybe give in to a few luxury here and there but that would be on a very lucky day. i have been using the same cellphone for years. I fear of accidentally leaving it on the restaurant not because it might get stolen, but because the waiter might think its trash and throw it down the toilet in disgust. My wife only had her cellphone just recently because she "inherited" my eldest daughter's. My eldest daughter is now in college and without me knowing it, bought her own brand new cellphone from her own pocket.

Back to having expensive cellphones. Maybe these teen agers think its part of the packaging these days. Mabye that comes with wealth. If you have it, why deprive your child, right? Parents only want the very best for their children. However, I am of the impression that this not need to be so. I shall remain firm that if there's a need for a cellphone, all you need is a phone that works. That especially holds true if you're a student. If it's good for texting and you can use it to call somebody else, that's good enough. Maybe teeners believe that having a "neat" cellphone is part of a good packaging for oneself. But what it is to me is that the packaging of a student is not what he/she has but what is stored in her brain. Do all of the lessons stick to their heards? Do they make their assignments, give their projects in time, maintain a good grade? Do others perceive them to be good kids? Are they respectful? Are they aware of their roots? Are they sensitive to the issues that concern the common man? Are they sympathetic to those in need? Are they independent? For me, these are the ones that comprise the packaging of a good student. If my children can say yes to all these, then I shall be a happy parent.


In fairness to my obedient kid, she's passing on this one. She didn't buy the phone. I love her so much.


Luchie said...

Good morning Rolly! I entirely agree with what you wrote about parenting and that handphone. I also believe in simple life. My children experienced having handphones only when they were in tertiary which was already a necessity and not during secondary days.
I salute your daughter.

Angela said...

Good morning Tito Rolly!

Ako po dalawang beses lang ako binilhan ng cellphone ng nanay at tatay ko sa Pilipinas. Yun po ay kusangloob na binili at hindi ko hiningi. Alam ko kasing madami rin kasing gastusin, ba't pa uunahin ang cellphone? :)

santi said...

Tito Rolly,
Halos magkasing edad tayo pero mas malalaki na mga anak mo sa mga anak ko kaya marami akong natutuhan sa iyo.

I just wish that kids today still continue to listen to us parents whenever we want to say something for their own good. You're lucky to have such children and they are luckier to have such parents like you.

Mahirap ng sundan ang takbo ng technology ngayon. CP's indeed now becomes a necessity and I do agree that it is very helpful especially in communication. We all want the best for our children, secondary na lang siguro ang material things, but sana they grow up good and responsible citizens.

bugsybee said...

Hi Rolly. First, let me say that I take my hats off to your daughter - must have been pretty hard for a teenager to say "pass" - and to you and your wife for raising your children that way. My own students were not the Class A or B types so nobody went around showing off new cellphones, etc. My job was to constantly remind them that in this life, what should matter is what we have in our hearts and in our minds, not what our pockets can buy. My own father raised us that way,my siblings are trying to raise their children in the same way. But I agree with you that since the kids see all these material possessions being worn like a "badge of merit" in school, it now becomes imperative for parents and teachers to also constantly and persistently remind young people to be always conscious about essentials and non-essentials. Pretty hard job at times but totally rewarding.

Saint Jossy said...

You are great blogger. I appreciate your blogs they are second to none around here.

transience said...

just goes to show that as a parent, your way of instilling values is quite ideal. way to go, rolly! and oh, belated happy father's day.

Anonymous said...

great piece, except that on the 1st sentence of the 2nd paragraph, you said "not" twice, or did you really intend to criticize?

rolly said...

luchie Good morning to you, too. Or should it be good afternoon? I'm gald you agreed with me. Parenting sometimes is a hit or miss situation.
Simple living has its advantages. You don't miss a lot of things and you don't end up wanting.

Angela Precisely! in fairness to my kids naman, hindi nila ugaling manghingi basta basta. Alam nilang kuripot ako e. hahaha

Santi Talaga? Mabuti naman at may natututunan ka. Ako, nangangapa pa rin. Ika nga e, just when you think you're dooint it correctly, may bago na namang ipapakita sayong ugali ang anak mo as they grow older.

Oo nga, ayaw ko rin namang mapag-iwanan ng technology, diba?

Bugsybee Oo nga e. Pero masunurin naman tong mga anak ko. Natatakot sigurong masyombag, hehehe

AYes, it's always been a losing battle against commercialism and media. Talagang kailangan ng vigilance, firmness and a lot of heart.

Saint Jossy First time mong mag-comment? Welcome to my blog. Buti naman at nagugustuhan mo nababasa mo dito.

Transcience Thanks a lot.

Anonymous Thanks for pointing that out. During my second reading before i posted this, I realized I did not negate the criticism so I put it in. Unbeknowsnt to me, I did na pala. I'm correcting it now. Thanks. Maybe next time you won't be anonymous anymore and sign your comment. Even if you're criticizing what i wrote. I accept criticisms, too, ou know. Friendly naman ako e. hehe

sachiko said...

I don't know in the Philippines,but here in Japan,even grade school students have a cellphone. It is one way of communicating with peers, and a way for the parents to synchronized their schedules with the kids.I have 3 kids and when they were small,i would drive them separately from one place to another,sometimes them having to wait for me for quite a time,dahil super busy nga,as a working mother and driver to them. I feel safer and less worried if they have a cellphone,that way we can always talk and check things with each other,asap. :)

bayi said...


You are lucky to have a daughter who can think for herself. Much as she wants a cellphone, she is sacrificing her desire this round. You should be proud of her.

There is so much peer pressure to have a cellphone. You can imagine the pleasure that a teenager gets in texting to each other. Owning a cellphone is the "in" thing.

There are children who own the latest cellphone models. There are some who smoke, even when they have yet to earn their own income. Some even drive fantastic cars. But they lose the competitive edge in many ways. If their source of money dries up, they are so accustomed to spending money that they would have a tough life ahead. And they expect high-paying jobs to support their affluent lifestyle.

celia kusinera said...

hi tito Rolly, I have the same sentiments as you. And until only recently have always resisted on giving cell phones to my kids. My take is that it should be something they need not merely something they want. Besides there are also health risks in the constant use of cell phones. There were studies here in the UK that the microwaves used by it may harm a child's developing brain. Kaya I only relented in giving them when they turned 12 and only allowed them to use it when necessary, definitely not everyday.

cathcath said...

i just watched correspondence and saw how these young poor children endure just so they can get to the school
trekking for hours before the sun is up.

one bright student was asked why she wanted to study despite the long walk; she responded that she dreams of being able to finish, get a job, save money and buy BLANKETS for her siblings and parents. They live in Benguet where temperature is consistently low.

So simple dream, so selfless love.

TinTin said...

She passed on it? Wow. I'm very impressed. Well you know kids. The only thing in their mind, the only thing they want to be is well-liked and just like everyone else. Its good you're instilling character in them, this becomes apparent all the time doesn't it?

pepseeh said...

hello sir.

i myself don't think that cellphones are status symbols. i only look at them as nice toys, if i may, to have. i don't think that they define your status, and i don't think you need to flaunt it. (at least, we don't.) siguro iba lang talaga ang tingin ko, pero i really don't think it's your ticket to popularity.

... although, i do want a new phone. my phone of 2 years is taking its toll already.

eruannie said...

haaay, tito rolly. it is really difficult to be a parent in any given time and era. my son goes to an exclusive boys' school. if not for my employment he wouldn't be priveledge to study there. and it is true. the idea of owning the newest gadget and "in" things add to the pressure of living simply.

how can parents help their kids imbibe the value of simple living? and that happiness lies at simplicity?

rolly said...

Sachiko EYs, that's why I agreed for them to have a cellphone once they reached high school. What I was worried about was my kid thinking of upgrading her unit. Even if she was using her own money, I would like to instill simplicity.

Bayi One of the things my wife and I agree on is to let our children be independent. I cannot help comparing but during their growing up years, there were children their age who would cry or even throw a tantrum when any of the parent leaves the house. None of them did that. We made sure that they understand that we were leaving temporarily and would come back. We even let them roam the supermarket, pick up any grocery item they would want (of course it had to be approved first)at an early age or buy their own drinks and talk to cashier at say, McDonald's. :-)

Celia You put it so well. Something they need and not what they just want. I've heard of that study before. Good thing is they are more into texting than receiving and making calls on their phones.

Cathy That's a classic example of the saying : "I cried when I have no shoes, until I saw someone who had no feet." hey, I don't think I've related that to my children yet. Maybe it's time, no?

TinTin Yes, she made me proud. Actually, at the risk of sounding to be bragging, my kids know when to listen and when to prod on. Case in point, my son was asking to be allowed to join his friends in Deviant art for a meeting on Sunday. I declined as I want him to put more emphasis on studying right now that school has started. He didn't argue further.

Pepseeh That's another way to look at it. Toys! An expensive one, nonetheless. My stand is that if you can call and text on your unit, then it's as good as any other.

Eurannie Same thing with me. The only reason they can study here in this school is because of my employment. That made me stick to my job. I equated the privilege as part of my salary.

BatJay said...

ayos tito rolly,

ang galing ng post mo. as usual, very well written. na senti pa nga ako dahil ang bait ng anak mo. manang manga talaga sa nanay nila.


pepseeh said...

sir, i can still call and text on my unit, but when it decides to go on strike, the only sounds you hear from it are the beeping of the keypads. all the ringtones are muted, so i only have to rely on the vibration. at medyo di reliable rin eh :D

rene said...

I had my period of changing cellphones every now and then. Dahil kesyo may FM radyo. May ganitong game. Pwedeng mag-internet. But in the end, I realized na mas gusto ko ang AM kaysa FM(hehe!), hindi ako gamer, at my DSL ako sa bahay na di ko kailangang mag-internet ng pagkamahal-mahal sa cellphone. Ngayon, hindi ko na alam kung anong Nokia XXXX ang bago. Napag-iwan na. Nagsawa na.

By the way, got here through Batjay. Nagpipinta rin daw po kayo. May online gallery po ba kayo? :-)

cathcath said...

amen to that, sabay takbo. hahabulin tayo ni titoroly. hekhekhek

rolly said...

Batjay Sige na nga sa kanya na mana ng kabaitan. Basta sa mukha sakin. hehe

Pepseeh In that case, buying a new celfone is justified. Okay lang yan.

Rene Welcome to myh blog. Kaibigan ko si Batjay. Magaling din mag-drawing yan at maganda pa boses. i've been to your blog and was looking for your paintings. Puro magagandang photographs nakita ko. Anyway, you can view samples of my work here:
and here

Cathy aba't nanggatong pa! haha

Toni said...

Tito Rolly,

School does put a lot of pressure on these teens, but if the family values are strong enough they won't be swayed by their peers as easily.

Your daughter is a blessing. So... kanino mana? ;)

Rache said...

i commend you on your strong non-conformist values and your daughter on her obedience.

but tito rolly, here's just one thing to take into consideration:

sometimes, IT is bad to have people around you who are very materialistic because you tend to be affected. but if you will buy a certain object (ex. cellphone) because you need it, the surrounding influence doesn't really matter.

rolly said...

Toni That is what I want to impress on my children. Kung pwede magkakabarkada lang kami para hindi na sila maghahanap pa ng iba. Of course with certain limitations. Dapat alam pa rin nila kung ano ang kanya kanyang role na gagampanan sa pamilya.

Sige na nga, sa asawa ko na nagmana.

Rache There lies the rub. If its a necessity, I wouldn't hesitate in buying my children what they need. But if it's simply because of a whim to fit in, I am afraid I will have to stay my ground.

bayi said...

I commented at the wrong post so I am re-writing my thots here.

I believe children today have values that are different from their parents. They save their money as well as we do but they are more willing to spend their money on immediate luxuries. The parents are more likely to opt for deferred gratification. I wonder if their values will change once they have a family. The only thing parents can do is to exercise a little more understanding.

ting-aling said...

I think we have the same principle in life when it comes to material things. Why buy a big house when you won't live in it anyway because you will be working your butt off to pay for the mortgage for 25 years?

I have had a few thugs about buying my kids their own cell phones. To this day, they still do not own one. I had mine just recently because I do not own a car and I walk to work. I just find that these material things are distraction to a quality life.

samantha said...

Your daughter must be a very obedient kid. Frankly if it were me I would have bought it anyway hehehe :)
Actually my parents are the same way. They never spoil me, well they give in to our little whims every now and then like on christmas and birthdays but only enough to keep us from going on strike.
I guess you're right its difficult to resist material temptation at our school. I see my classmates trotting around with thousand peso bags and flaunting all the best gadgets money can buy. I have to admit its been dificult to steer clear from begging my parents to get me stuff but my parents don't give in anyway so its no use. (Kuripot rin yung dad ko hehe) Would you believe my allowance is only 1/4 of what the average student gets? This is always the bone of contention since my ate and I found out their credit limits. But being the stubborn kid that I am, I didn't just accept my fate. Since my gradeschool years I've always found ways to invest the little money that I get to make money (legally ofcourse). So I was able to buy my own cellphones, bags, etc. not the latest ones but ones with enough features to keep me satisfied. So I wasn't just buying my own stuff, I actually had to earn it. Quite contrary to what I expected, my parents encouraged this, when they saw me working hard for it, they didn't give me more money, they actually lessened the amount of money they were giving me. Strange way of rewarding me huh? But anyways back to my point, it actually made me value the stuff I have more. I don't flaunt what I have because I've been traumatized by too many times they we're stolen or lost. It hurts, it really hurts especially when you have to work your butt off for it. So maybe its not such a bad idea to allow your daughter to get that phone she saved up for, she might even value it more than the stuff you get her :)

Pinay Rosas said...

WOW! what an interesting site! enjoyed reading all the comments! Tito Rolly, i heard 'bout you from Cat, says you are also an accomplished artist? what medium? care to show us some of your work? your profile says you are from Bambang, is that Nueva Vizcaya? I'm from Solano.

rolly said...

Bayi I believe the children of today are more susceptible to commercialism than the kids of the past.

tingaling Precisely! I am more interested in keeping a home than a big cold house with a lot of partitions. That would be too hard to clean.

Samantha What do you need a big allowance for? Wise spending has its merits. We parents didn't just invent it. It has a purpose.

AIM Threeyo Thanks for coming over. I'm glad you liked the site. I have a few samples of my works hidden in the archives. You;ll find it here and here

Sassy Lawyer said...

It's like the big house in an exclusive subdivision, the brand new car, sending one's kids to schools with "names", the designer clothes and perfume, the top-of-the-line PDA... as if people will measure your worth as a person by the possessions you have. Tito Rolly, ang mga taong ganyan mag-isip, insecure about their self-worth. Parang magru-rub off sa kanila yung presyo ng gamit nila. In a way, kawawa naman sila. Still, hindi naman nga dapat gayahin. Ako, nilalait ko sila hehehe

rolly said...

Sassy Ako naman hindi nanglalait. Naaawa lang ako sa kanila kasi mababaw lang sila. hahaha

Anonymous said...

hi tito rolly, both of my kids have cellphones. one is in grade 2 and the other in grade 3. the reason for giving them phones is primarily for communication and not for anything else. my kids are never materialistic (at least,for now thank heavens). i teach them the value of money and how important it is to live within our means. of course, there are instances when i "spoil" them i.e. reward them with toys or probably bring them pasalubong of their favorite food if they get good grades or behaved themselves more than the usual.
i have to agree that mobile phones have become a measure of one's status symbol. the more expensive it is, the better. blame it on peer pressure, media and modern culture (?) perhaps.

joyce said...

hi sir!
one of the sources of irritation between my daughter's father and myself is the way he would buy her things that are not even necessity...they're even very expensive to boot! do you know that my daughter, a 9-yr old grade 5 student, has 3 cellphones? para saan? di ko rin alam...What i only know is this: this act of senseless buying is not teaching her how to value hard earned money. ang takot ko lang, baka dumating ang araw at ako na lang ang makakasama niya sa buhay (di naman sa pinanalangin kong mawala na ang tatay niya), eh di ko makayanang ibigay ang luho niya...eh kamote siya!

Jules said...

thanks for making this article up...
my thought on this:
1. it's better to get a non-camera phone for teens because it's takaw-nakaw so to speak. I have more respect for those who have the means and still stick to the basic phones.

2. don't buy 2nd hand phones from the black market. get it from a friend or a relative. i got a 6210 and it's beyond repair... palagi nabagsak and cannot be repaired by Nokia. i'm thinking of getting 1100.

3. it's funny how Pinoys tend to be phone-conscious... the more high-tech the phone is, the higher daw is the status...tsk tsk.

lechia said...

the amount of luxury depends on the capacity and willingness of the parents. i believe, however, that children who are reared with good values and simplicity will learn their own lessons. sometimes, we need to allow a child to experience the consequences of his/her actions or decisions so that in the future, he/she'll exercise good thinking and ask questions like "do i really need this or that?" or "is it practical or wise to own this or that, etc.? another thing is, before we give them the things that they like, we should tell them that we have worked hard to earn the money spent in every item they acquire. it's a matter of having them realize the true meaning and value of each material thing without being materialistic.

regarding the cellphone thing, we have the same thought about maintaing the old and outmodelled cellphones that we have at present because what we just need is to be able to communicate and send text messages. but lately, like your wife, i have "inherited" a newer model from my second child who was able to acquire a new unit by saving his school allowance plus the cash gifts they got from godparents. my eldest daughter on the other hand is convincing me to buy her another unit because she needs to have the same carrier as her classmates do. she even gave me so many justifications.

speaking of status symbol, i guess that is a rich man's thing or say a social climber's thing. i have been teaching my children that they can earn one's respect, be honored and dignified without the material thing. well, as you said, it really depends on how a child is brought up.

good day and more power, rolly. GOD BLESS

rolly said...

lechia Welcome to my blog. Yes, we have to make children learn how to make decisions in life.

If I had my way, I wouldn't let my kids get new celfones, though. As long as they can receove and make calls and text, that is good enough. However, guess what, my wife's friend from the States sent us four new celfones (I have four kids) making them own two each. sigh!