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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, February 20, 2018
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Come to think of it
with Carlos Antonio L. Leonardia



One of the greatest compliments a parent and homemaker can have is having children who prefer to spend their weekends at home.

After all, kids who would rather stay home isn't only the ultimate seal of approval that a homemaker has more or less, succeeded in making their homes as comfortable and livable as they can, it also confirms that the parent has been successful in raising kids that do not need the distractions and expenses of malling in order to entertain themselves.

I don't know if my family is an exception, but my kids never ask to go to the mall and when my wife and I need to go to the mall during weekends, our kids rarely go with us when we ask them if they want to come along. They'd rather stay at home doing their own things and that is fine with us because it costs less when they stay home.

Maybe our kuripot ways have trained them well, and they don't like malling because they know their parents won't buy them anything when we are there. Ever since my kids were young, we never gave in to their requests to partake in any of the pay to play offerings of mall tenants. As a rule, our family didn't do trampolines, toy car or animal rides, or any of the play places. If we pass by toy stores, we would look with them but we'd never buy toys for them, unless there was a valid occasion. Even when we came home from the mall or even from domestic trips, our kids would very rarely get pasalubong toys. My theory is that my children's experiences with malls and crass commercialism haven't been very fulfilling for them so they now see it as a waste of time. I wonder if things will change as my kids grow older but the way things are right now, we have raised homebodies and I am quite happy with that.

We may be admittedly kuripot as far as malling is concerned, but my wife and I have been doing our best to make our home as comfortable as we can. I reckon that we can afford to invest in our home because of our savings from not spending on passing pleasures for our kids when we go malling and that is why they are also comfortable staying at home.

What makes me extra proud of this achievement is that my family neither lives in a mansion nor a gated village. Our home now was originally built in the late 1940's. It was what you would call a fixer upper when we moved in 2004 and we thought it would be a temporary arrangement but we grew to love it and have, over the years, slowly but surely expanded and renovated in stages until it has reached what I would like to think is its final form. This is why my kids' validation of our homemaking efforts is important to me and why it makes my heart swell when they'd rather stay in our air-cooled home than go to the air conditioned mall.

We didn't set out to raise homebodies. I don't even know if I will be successful in raising homebodies because my eldest son is officially turning into a teenager this year and we all know how that stage of humans feel about home. Hopefully what his mother and I have built while we were raising him, both the structure and the values that should keep it together, are enough to keep him calling our home sweet home.

Even if our home is not magazine-quality, we were able to make one that our children prefer to stay in. This is something most parents would like to achieve but it can be quite a challenge. In our case we got lucky. Our kuripotness probably made our kids' malling experience less enjoyable than their peers, so they didn't look forward to spending time in malls where all they get to do is look because their folks wouldn't pay up. That and our successful fixing up of our house, which also requires imagination and luck, allowed us to create a home that was more appealing to our kids than the mall (at least for now), all without breaking our budget.

In today's world where we can't be sure of our children's safety anymore, parents who raise homebodies get a few more years of kids staying home which could equate to extra peace of mind. This is why we try our best to build and make homes that are comfortable and full of love. This pride we have in our homes was difficult to truly understand until I had built my own home and felt the satisfaction of preferring the home we built over other bigger, more beautiful and more impressive homes of other people. Hopefully, that's how my kids feel right now and that's the way they'll continue to feel about the home we built for them, even when they start to outgrow it.

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