By Rudy A. Arizala
My younger brother´s daughter gave me the "good news" of the New Year. She just gave birth to a baby girl, the first granddaughter of my brother and, therefore, mine also. The coming of a newly-born, heralded or not by a star or other signs in the heavens or on earth, is always a source of immense joy and excitement because it is a continuation of the family on earth. A part of the propagation and perpetuation of the specie if we follow the Darwinian theory of evolution. The olds fade away replace by new ones.
Only two years ago, we deeply mourned the passing away of our beloved Nanay, who, if she were alive today, would have enjoyed the coming to this world of her first "apo sa tuhod" (great grandchild).
To parents of the newly-born as well as to the relatives, the baby is the prettiest and smartest child and they never tire of discussing and comparing to whom the baby look like &endash; the mother, the father or the grandparents from either side? The parents love their children so much that they would sacrifice or do everything for them. For the parents love their children with the same pathos that God has in His love for mankind.
Aside from who is the look alike of the child, the name of the newly-born these days in the Philippines is getting longer and difficult either to remember or pronounce. For example, to the given Christian name "Maria", the names of the grandmothers are added and modernized to sound like American names. Thus, the name of a newly-born baby girl these days could be "Maria Dolly Anne" &endash; a combination of the names "Maria", "Dolores" and "Ana". In the past the name "Maria" plus the family name of the father would suffice. But nowadays, we give at least three names to the baby plus the surname of the father.
The only advice I could give with respect to giving of names to a newly-born is: Be sure that the correct name or names of the child are registered in the Civil Registry as well as the names of both parents of the child and of course, the correct date of birth. This is to avoid problems later in getting a passport in case when already a professional or adult he or she would decide to travel or work abroad.
The birth of the first "apo" (grandchild) in our family is added statistics to the 84 million population of the Philippines. Compare this to only 16 million when my brother and I were still in the grade school.
We were then self-sufficient in rice and with respect to other basic commodities. We also attended classes the whole day compared to only half-day session today. This conducting of half sessions instead of full day classes is due to lack of classrooms, books, and teachers.
The newly-born child would be facing when she grow old a more complex and highly competitive world with problems of unemployment, environment pollution, drug addiction, security, terrorism, lack of food, water and many other problems of a highly technical globalizing world. We, therefore, pray that our first grandchild in the family have a bright future and this could be done through adequate good education, solid high moral foundation and unshakable religious faith.
The newly-born child reminds us what Jesus Christ told His disciples: "Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like little children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven."( Mt. 18:3-4).