The Beginnings of Responsibility
On 27 May 2015, at three years, three months (and two days) of age, you became an older brother. Little Sebastian Mateo was born early in the morning. Unlike you, he wasn’t able to join us in a matter of a few hours in the room. He stayed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for almost three days. Your mom and I worried much but we also hoped just as much. When Mateo was finally roomed in, he still had an IV drip attached to his tiny hand.
In the Filipino culture (not to mention the nuances in varying family cultures and traditions within the Philippine setting), as the eldest, a lot is expected of you. Just to mention some, you are expected to behave better than your little brother so that you can give him a good example. You are also expected to take care of him because you’re slightly older and therefore, should know better. A lot more of these expectations you will discover for yourself as you go along.
Son, more than such expectations and trying to live up to them, what I would rather have you learn in your life as you grow, is knowing how to take responsibility. I’m not saying that cultural expectations aligned with sibling hierarchy is utterly wrong. In fact, there is a lot we can learn from such traditions. But I’m hoping that foundational to such traditions would be the way you take responsibility for the things and people entrusted to you, one way or another, in big and small ways.
Now, learning to take responsibility is not easy. It will take a lot of experience before one can even get a glimpse of what it means to take responsibility. That is to say, I do not intend to teach you whatever it is I know about taking responsibility in this post. But as my other posts are intended, I write this to serve as a reminder that one day, we will eventually talk about such things, father to son.
Until then, please always remember to be good for it is character that determines the kind of person we are to be in this world. I love you endlessly.