“So you want to be an engineer?”
My godchild sat with me outside a refreshment kiosk while he and his father exchanged roles: rummaging from small mountains of assorted used clothes in a row of small specialty shops.
“It’s Father who wants it. I just want a vocational course so I could work abroad much quickly.”
“Do you have anything in mind,” I asked, silently agreeing with his own strategy.
“I want to be a welder. I could work on ships.”
Hmmm! The boy wanted to be a seaman. Most of our countrymen joined international shipping companies, employed in various jobs from the lowliest position up to manning the officers’ bridge.
“You could study Maritime Engineering,” I suggested although I admitted the course could cost them a lot: they were not financially secure.
“I do not want to study that long, Ninong. Besides, I am not good at giving orders.”
“Why not? You’re tall. Your stature will make you stand out.”
“Father is short,” he grinned. “He’s the boss around the house, second only to Mother.”
Come to think of it, most leaders, especially most of the notorious ones were short individuals. Their lack of height was compensated by their high regard for themselves.
“You’re probably right. As they say, for every rule there’s an exception.”
My kumpare might not have overheard our conversation but when he approached us, he related his suspicion.
“My throat is itchy and I continue to cough,” he related. “Have you two been talking about me?”
“You’re paranoid,” I lied, trying to downplay the local belief in such a phenomenon. In some way, the coincidence was often too good to be true. “Your son here is telling me about his plan to be a welder.”
“I’ve been telling him to aim higher. Isn’t that better?”
Frankly, I did not want to side with either of them, though I believed the boy has more sense in choosing his own way than follow his father’s personal ambition.
“Pare, the world has changed a lot,” I said, my preamble did not sit well with him. “Parents should guide their children and not dictate their wishes.”
The boy kept nodding while his father shook his head.
“Your son knows what he wants,” I added, “perhaps you should give him some leeway and support him all the way. He could still become an engineer even if he is working on board a ship. There are online universities via the internet.”
“Now I know why he is eager to meet you,” my kumpare concluded. “He knows that you are the only person that could sway my decision. Well, except for his mother, who also sided with him.”
“That’s not correct,” I disagreed. “You want what’s best for your son. I mean that. But then, he needs someone else to point it out to you from a different perspective. We are all on the same side here.”
“Does this mean Father will let me study what I want?”
“Yes,” my kumpare replied with a smile. “Thank your Ninong for being so persuasive.”
Instead of expressing his gratitude with words, he chose the more modern way: exchanging high fives with me.
Admiring our untypical celebration, my kumpare sighed, “I am really getting old.”