Oliver M. Tuazon

This article touches on the need to correct the people we love in an affectionate way. It argues that love is not true if we allow our loved ones to wallow in their defects without doing anything to correct them.

 

People change by dint of affection.

 

I heard that six years ago, and it moved me to take good care of the people around me. But I did not understand it more clearly until recently when I heard the story of Mr. Black Sheep.

 

They say that each family has its own black sheep. I find that unfair. It makes parents compare their children subconsciously and label the least attractive child as black sheep.

 

It is true that some children bring ‚shame to the family name.‛ It is a complex issue where much of the blame falls on the child. Might it not rather also be the fault of the parents and the other members of the family?

 

Let’s look at the story of Mr. Black Sheep.

 

He was his school principal’s favorite, i.e., he was always in trouble. Fist fighting was his favorite sport and his favorite hobby, making girls cry. He liked going home early. Well, early in the morning of the following day, normally after a drinking spree with his barkada.  

 

In his worst moment of being “under the influence,” he could barely stand up; he was literally vomiting his guts out. But he felt he had to go home- creeping.

 

The reaction of his father that morning changed him the rest of his life. Instead of the usual reproach, his father helped him up and made him hot porridge and black coffee.

 

While eating, he promised himself, “I will never get drunk again!”

 

I almost cried when I heard the story. Truly, people change not so much with the corrections and scolding we give them, but more with the love and affection we show them.

 

While love is in the will, affection involves much of human affectivity- the realm of one’s feelings and emotions. Hence, for one to give authentic affection, one has to love first, since willing is a much higher human faculty than feeling.

 

I am not saying we should avoid correcting mistakes. It is not just a duty of love, but of justice as well, to correct a spouse, a child, a brother, a sister, a friend, and even one’s parents, if they are in error. But we should learn how to correct people with and out of love.

 

Just like what the great statesman, Thomas More, did. One day, he had to correct one of his household helpers on how to serve during meals. He gave the correction so affectionately that the helper committed the same mistake the next day, so as to receive the same correction again.

 

Of course, we should not repeat our mistakes just to get another affectionate correction. But corrections done with and out of love and real affection are always well received and will eventually transform people.

 

How much are we willing to change when we know that the person correcting us only wants the best for us, no matter how strong the correction may be?

 

 

I am eternally grateful to those who have guided and given me opportune corrections when I was much younger, especially the staff of study centers I frequented in college. I have learned to treasure them until now. They have kept me in check, and helped me become a better person than I would otherwise have been. To them I owe the value of true friendship, that of wanting the best for one’s friend.