One lazy morning, I found myself trying to remove stains from my son’s White Duck. It was once pristine, when I called it mine 34 years ago. Now, it has yellowed with age.
This had been the coat I wore when my sister wed a dashing Navy Lieutenant in 1980. I kept it in the closet of my parents’ home in Baguio, but was inspired to sneak it out and bring it to Manila to show it to my wife when our firstborn arrived. As luck would have it, this White Duck escaped a fire that completely consumed our Baguio house. Its fate is very much different from that of my other childhood toys, mementos, and pictures.
Two years ago, I gave the White Duck to my eldest son Iego when he needed a military costume for his school’s Linggo ng Wika sortie.
And now, the White Duck has found its newest owner: our four-year-oldElijah has excitedly declared to his uncle’s fiancée that he will be snappily dressed – in what he calls his Duck Suit – to their wedding.
Ask any parent and you’ll know that a coat will be worn by a child only a few times. Unaltered, this Duck Suit has so far served three owners in a span of three decades!
In this world where it is more convenient to buy children what they need, how had the nostalgic in me, who urged me to give them something of myself, prevail?
What made me pass it on?
I passed it on to connect my children to my rich past, a childhood of love and laughter. A history of a life of joys and excitement spent with people I love and admire.
And, I passed it on to my kids with a silent prayer that they will live their lives fully clothed with reason, both of the mind and of the heart. May they find many reasons to celebrate with family and friends as they grow up to be men of integrity.
What we truly value will guide our decisions and translate to what we do. I admire parents who want the best for their kids. They buy only the best for their families. They work really hard to ensure that when they die, their children will have a financially comfortable future. Some of them, unfortunately, work so hard that sadly, a financially comfortable future is all their kids will ever get from them.
This, for me, therefore, is the secret of the Duck Suit: We can discover what we value and then pass these on. The trick is for us to pass on our values while we’re still very much here. And yes, we pass these on not just to our kids, but to everyone we love.
What’s your Duck Suit?
You have a Duck Suit that’s just waiting for you to pass on to others. Your Duck Suit may be a colorful past (complete with scars and life-lessons). It may be a lifestyle of faith (your connection with God on a daily basis). It may be an advocacy you are passionate about (it wakes you mornings and keeps you awake at night).
Whatever it is, it’s neither too early nor too late to give away your Duck Suit. Remember that by doing so, you’ll not just become a significant influence on someone’s life. You’ll also be continuing on your journey of becoming.