Elend Venture had never been the most appreciative of children. His father, Peter Venture, was my father’s next door neighbor, and his childhood friend. I had never met Elend when he was a child, but apparently he was a spoiled brat. He would always throw tantrums when he didn’t get what he wanted, and showed little gratitude for anything he received.
Peter was an OFW. He worked in Saudi Arabia as a contractor. True, he was wealthy, but after his wife died, little Elend was all he had. Strangely enough, I never see Elend visit his father, save for a handful of occasions. Elend wasn’t that smart, but tito Peter managed to put him through good but expensive schools. Elend grew up to be a doctor. He was successful, rich, and had prestige.
On one particular visit, my father and tito were both a little drunk. My father had the nerve to ask the question lingering in my mind ever since I was eight years old. He placed his hand on his friends shoulder, and asked, “don’t you ever feel mad at your son fir never showing any gratitude?”
I froze. I thought this would be a sensitive topic for sure, and feared that they might even fight over it. Unbelievably, he laughed. The words he said next made a mark on me, and will likely influence how I treat my children. He looked at my father dead in the eye and said, “I don’t expect him to. I never worked as hard as I did to be thanked. I worked hard to see him happy. And even if I don’t see him very often, as long as I know that he’s happy, I’m happy too. I’ve raised a good man, my friend. And no amount of thanks could make that any sweeter.”
It’s moments like these when I’m reminded of the two saints Louis and Zelie Martin. They, like tito Peter, raised good children. Daughters who became God-fearing women. It was their example along with my tito’s that proved that a parents sacrifice was more than just sustaining their child or paying for their education.
I’ve realized that a parent’s sacrifice is giving one’s life to make one’s child happy. Striving to make one’s child good. The five daughters of the two saints all became nuns, despite their option to marry or inherit their parent’s business. A parent’s sacrifice is like how saint Louis built an altar in their house, striving to be a good example for their children as a man of faith and dedication. It’s that sacrifice which gives way for the future of their children. It’s that sacrifice that builds the foundation of their child’s future. It’s that sacrifice which distinguishes one as a good parent.
It’s a parent’s sacrifice which allows a man or woman of humble profession, like that of a watchmaker, lace maker, or contractor to leave their mark on this world, not through the greatest of deeds, but the greatest of spirits.