An Interesting Perspective on the Folly of Separating from the Family to Work Abroad

As husband of a Filipina I get to know hundreds of Filipinos who work in my country and I’ve come across dozens of situations in which it took years before Filipinos who moved to my country could meet the legal requirements for family reunification thereby forcing said Filipinos to delegate the responsibility to raise their children to the children’s lolos (granparents).

I’ve stumbled upon an interesting blog post (https://www.getrealphilippines.com/2012/06/the-folly-of-economic-dependence-on-foreign-employment/)that says some of the things I think about this issue and the article partly says this: ”

Having children, then suddenly finding ourselves unable to provide for them is irresponsible. Seeking foreign employment at the expense of sound parenting and labeling it as heroism white-washes this collective irresponsibility and further adds to the counts of this irresponsibility.

It is irresponsible for one to produce offspring without considering one’s long-term ability to provide for them materially as well as emotionally and spiritually. Foreign employment and abortion are sometimes the results of this lack of planning. Leaving one’s young children to seek employment overseas is different from abortion in only one aspect: with abortion, the social problem ends right there and then; with foreign employment involving young children, the problems just begin. OFWs who “sacrifice” family life and the people who lionise them as “heroes” forget that these absentee-parents are turning loose unto an already dysfunctional society a whole generation of absentee-parented youth. Their “sacrifice” is our society’s sacrifice as well in terms of the burden of absorbing this absentee-parented generation. The absentee-parented generation will be no improvement over a generation that already failed dismally at collectively building a strong state”.

Sound parenting, as the article says, entails much more than just sending one’s children money and being able to put them through college. It entails, as the article says, providing emotionally and spiritually, not just materially.

The negative effects of lack of sound parenting through actual physical presence, not just presence through Skype or Messenger, are nicely illustrated in the “Anak” movie, which I mentioned in a previous article, where a Filipina, upon her arrival at the Manila airport, realizes that the prolonged absence of the mother had driven an irreversible wedge between her and one of her daughters.

The article also talks about lack of planning. Obviously children need material things that is why the Bahala na approach that gets Filipinos to make kids without first calculating the expense is seriously messed up.