“What is one big mistake that you’ve made in your life and what did you do to make it right?”
- William Baldwin, Miss Universe 2010 Judge # 2
This question marked the history because of the “Major, Major” answer of Miss Universe 2010 4th Runner up Venus Raj. But are we really smart enough to answer this question? As a human being and sinner by nature, yes, we can. We can really answer this question. Actually, we can also state, not just one, but a lot of great mistakes that we’ve made in our life. Every day, we are committing errors maybe unaware but surely we do. Simple mistakes are okay and bearable but those big ones certainly have such great effects like loss, pain, guilt and even regrets that we can never forget.
I knew a man who had made a wrong decision in his life. He even committed the same mistake even though he had already seen and experienced its effects. That man is my uncle and his father is my grandfather, Tatay. My grandfather died because of stroke. I was too young, then, when that was happened and the only thing I can remember about him was when we were in the van waiting for my parents to come back because we can’t go inside the hospital where he was confined. My mom told me that Tatay had been a great burden to Nanay, my grandmother. He had been a drunkard and a womanizer. That’s why his children had been bitter to him for a long time. So sad, that Tito Ogie had chosen to be like his father. I grew up seeing him when we were visiting Nanay at her house. He and his family lived with her. I saw him drinking, and one time I have been asked to buy a cigarette for him. He even fooled me that I was drinking a beer but actually that was a juice that just looked like a beer. I can’t remember if it’s orange or pineapple juice. It doesn’t matter anymore. He died at the age of 37, too young, because of Cirrhosis, a consequence of a liver disease due to heavy drinking of gin and beer. He knew that drinking alcohol too much can cause death yet he did. He saw…he experienced…he knew the effects but why did he chose to do the same mistake his father had committed?
Another story was of a woman who chose the other side of the road. She is my mom and Nanay is her mother. Mama as I call her grew up with bitterness because her mother was money centered, selfish and never cared for her children. She just worked…worked…worked…and worked and gave money and hire maids but never had time talking and understanding her children. She was too close-minded and her only desire was to gain money. Gladly, my mom didn’t turn out to be like her. She said to herself that when she will have her own family, she will never be like her mother who only thinks for herself. She will never let her children to feel the same bitterness she felt and the same longingness she had for a mother who love and cares. She will be a mother who will not just provide money but also time. Someone who will try to understand her children and will spend time listening to her children’s stories and the one who will answer their questions. I’m blessed that she did and continue to do that up to now. And in return, I promised to do the same to my future children.
There is a common saying that “Experience is the best teacher.” But we don’t need to experience all of the mistakes in this world for us to learn them. We can learn from the experiences of others.
Maybe you’re like my Tito Ogie who imitated my Lolo, but still it’s your choice to do the same or the other. You still have time to make things right. Don’t waste your time. You can never blame other people for your own choices. God gave you a mind to use it. So, use it wisely! Be like my mom who chose to be different despite of her bad experiences, use those hurtful moments as the foundation of your better future. James, the apostle of Jesus, said that “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” May we learn from the experiences of others and let us choose the better road ahead of us.