The True Meaning of Success

This column will deviate a bit from the usual topics of Go Negosyo and will talk about what to me is a true definition of success in life. On June 15, my parents will be celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary and will be taking their vows in a church in romantic Paris after attending the canonization of Sister Marie Eugenie de Jesus Milleret, the nun who founded Assumption in Rome. Sometimes, many of us define success in its purely material way and I always want to share that success is succeeding in different areas that are equally important in life like marriage and family, spirituality and health. The world normally gauges success in the amount of material wealth and the amount of power or influence we have. To reach 50 years of marriage nowadays is quite rare. In fact as an entrepreneur gains much success, marriage and family tend to take a back seat and temptations do set in.

In being a successful entrepreneur, it is important that your spouse is supportive or oftentimes your partner as well in business, and in a way it is your family that becomes the reason why you want to strive harder. As we look at other negosyantes with successful marriages like Henry Sy Sr., whose wife Felicidad I am told is a devout Catholic, John Gokongwei whose wife Elizabeth has been the influence in his life and still a lot of others out there, we get amazed and inspired at how they have managed to keep a closely knit family and a happy marriage while at the same time being extremely successful in running their business empires.

We are 8 children and all of us are married, and so far I would say we have been mentored quite well, almost all have stable and happy marriages. My father was supposed to be a priest and my mother a nun. They are both devout Catholics and as young kids whenever we watch TV and there was a kissing scene, my parents made us close our eyes. This is the same practice we now do with our own children. God has blessed them with 27 grandchildren with my daughter Isabella being the latest addition.

Today with more Filipinos leaving their spouses to help alleviate the material conditions of their family overseas, the chances of keeping their marriage is much less and this is the social cost our nation has to pay. But these people in a way don’t have better alternatives if they want to see their children get into better schools and move up in life.

My parents’ marriage is not perfect and not all marriages will ever be. But despite my father’s busy schedule when he was starting as a negosyante and as an advocate in many civic organizations, he made sure my mom’s attention was met. As far as I know we are 8 children no more than that (well the truth comes out only when you die and people start appearing, just kidding). I believe the formula of success in my parents reaching 50 years of marriage is that they have spent time in making it work equally to what someone would do with a business. They have a strong spiritual foundation thru these years which have bound their marriage. Congratulations mom and dad for inspiring us to achieve the real true success not just in business but in marriage and family.

Let me share with you what my brothers and sisters have to say:

My parents taught me to always place God at the center of the family. The family that prays together stays together. There is no perfect marriage, both have to believe in the sanctity of marriage and of its vows. Both have to put in their best to make it work. 50 years after, 8 children, 8 in laws, 27 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild are the fruits of their union together. Arthur and I will be turning 25 years this December, that is just half of where my parents have gone through. But what they both taught me has helped my own marriage.
— MARIE

Dearest dad and mom, from my heart to both your hearts united in Jesus, a happy 50th year golden celebration of love and compassion. May God continue to bless and grace our family now and forever.
— BERNIE

My parents’ marriage isn’t always perfect, they have their good days and their bad days as everyone does. But their marriage has always been strong and committed. They have always placed God at the center of their life and our family. They have shown me what loyalty, fidelity and perseverance means. I have seen that love really does bear all things unconditionally. I’ve seen my mom stand by my dad through every challenge in his life. Through jail, through elections, through public service, against any and all odds, my parents have stood together and they always will. They have been an inspiration in this way. It is one constant that I have always known, that they would be together forever.So on their 50th wedding anniversary, my wish is that my dad slows down and spends more time with my mom and our family. Life is short and what is most important is the love that surrounds you day by day. May you have many, many more years together!
— JOHN

My Dad and Mom have been married for half a century! 8 children, 25 grandchildren and 2 angels comprise the Concepcion-Araneta clan. As their 5th child, I am very grateful that I have parents who remain married. It is the value I wish me and all my siblings will follow as it entails unending love despite anything and everything. It is giving of oneself for another. It is commitment. With God in the marriage, how blessed can they be. Dad and Mom, thank you for being great parents.
— CELINE

Dad and mom’s marriage will probably be a template for my own marriage – but with some editing down the stretch. It is evidently deeply God-centered and family first. Dad may have his pendulum swings of temperament but he is such a teddy-bear softie at heart who dotes on his grandchildren a lot. Mom is the ever-protective, overly concerned mother hen who takes to prayer primarily when some of the flock veer off course. One common trait I admire is how they live such a simple and straightforward married life. Two simple living souls with God-centered, family-first roots should be a recipe forheaven.

It is said that no matter how thinly you slice it, there will always be two sides. On the one side is heaven; on the other is … purgatory? Marriage is a continuing and supposed-to-be improving relationship. It should be more than a medium for propagating the species. Since eight of eight of us were ‘propagated’, their relationship must have been great at the start. However, we all tend to lose it all lot and so do my parents now more so then ever late in life. But through the difficulties, cracks, clashes and falls, they have persevered … still together.
— VINA

My parents are wonderful people, as individuals they are unique and together they have become even more special. Their dedication to each others lives and to the commitment they made 50 years ago is incredible. What has inspired me most is their patience for each other and most especially their constant support for each others causes.

My parents are perfect examples of placing God before oneself which Dondi and I try to emulate. I thank God for them and pray that they will have many happy and healthy years ahead.
— LIZA

Being the youngest in the family of 8 and the last to get married gave me the opportunity to learn the virtue of true understanding and selfless love from my parents who have nurtured and constantly guided me to be who I am now. I have always looked up to Mom and Dad with utmost respect because they continue to lead by example. God is always placed in the center of their lives. They have always been caring and sharing to their community most especially the poor. Their sense of love and pridefor our country has given each of their children a sense of loyalty and pride to our motherland. But most of all, they are true to their commitment of loving each other for 50 years.

On their Golden Anniversary, each day is truly a celebration of a wonderful blessing. Looking at each moment with great pride, I continue to pray for you and hope that I too may follow your way.

Happy 50 years Anniversary Mom and Dad. Thank you for being that great example to us. We love you so much.


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