It’s every parent’s dream to see their children becoming not just successful but more successful than they could have ever been themselves.

That’s why in commencement exercises the world over, it’s the moms and dads who are balling their eyes out with tears of joy most of the time, to the embarrassment of the graduates.

The lengths parents are willing to go to in order to give their children a more comfortable life is the stuff of legends, especially here in the Philippines.

We’ve heard stories of farmers selling their last carabao just so Jun-Jun can continue his studies in distant Manila, as well as of bananacue vendors neck-deep in debt struggling to support a daughter in a nursing school.

That must be evolution at play here. Indeed, if society is to move forward, it is only logical that the new generation has what it takes to surpass the one that came before it.

We can’t have it otherwise unless we want a Dark Ages encore anytime soon.

Philip of Macedon may have been a military genius, but it was his son Alexander—aptly called “the Great”—who would go on to conquer the known world for Greece, as far as India.

At the risk of sounding simplistic, civilization is what we get when children better their parents.

Growing children’s passions

Unfortunately, there are moms and dads who sincerely wish their kids all the success in the world, helping them attain it, but only on their own terms.

“Be successful, but be successful our way,” must be some people’s motto. Admittedly, some fathers and mothers have a tendency smother.

Who knows how many law and medical students today would rather take photos of African fauna or perform in MGM Las Vegas with the Cirque du Soleil?

For couple Vince Rodriguez and Niña Corpuz – Rodriguez, one of the most recognizable faces in broadcast news, the happiness and fulfillment of their three children comes first. No ifs, no buts.

That’s why they try as much as possible not to get in the way of Stella and Emily and the things they enjoy doing which is dancing, singing, and gymnastics among others.

“Just seeing them enjoy what they do. Just seeing them develop into passionate and very dedicated individuals, for me that’s happiness. I just want to keep supporting them,” said Vince, who is the head of programming for a local sports and action network.

If these won’t hurt them, and will in fact hone their God-given talents, they don’t see any reason to deny them their support, as would other reasonable parents.

“It gives you a different kind of motivation in life. I mean when you see how your kids are, how they’re growing, what they’re passionate about,” said the father of three, whose 5-year old daughter Maria Stella is showing signs of becoming the next Nadia Comăneci/Lea Salonga.

According to him, while our passions are important, once we have our respective families, we must realize that our kids’ passions are equally so, if not more.

An outdoorsy type, Vince used to run, bike, climb mountains, and missed no chance to take part in sports events wherever there was one before finally settling down with Niña, who recently left her work as broadcast journalist with one of the biggest local networks to focus more on kids. Now, she hosts a daily radio show and owns and designs for Nina Inabel, a fashion line that uses traditional Ilocano cloth called inabel, which means “handwoven.”

And though Vince barely has time now to pursue his interests as a bachelor, he isn’t in the least regretful.

Constantly amazed

So despite their tight schedules, he and Niña move heaven and earth just to find the time to spend with their kids and with each other.

They enrolled their two girls Stella and 3-year Emily Anne in singing and dance classes, and wherever there’s a good show, they make it a point to watch it together. They Rodriguezes have never been movie-goers, opting to watch live musical or theatrical performances.

“It’s not tiring ‘cause you enjoy sharing their passions too … It’s fun. It’s enjoyable. It’s something that’s changed our lifestyle, but I think [it is] for the better,” shared Vince.

For the Rodriguezes, seeing their kids having fun and immersed in their chosen hobbies is a constant source of amazement. It also allows them to know their daughters better.

“It’s surprising to see the types of personalities that they develop. It’s obvious where they take after, but sometimes they’re just completely different people,” he said.

Vince pointed out that while he and Niña enjoy listening to music, their kids unusual love for it is something beyond them.

“We love music but the intensity for the love of music that our kids have I do not know where they got it, but we support it. And now, we enjoy it a lot more,” he explained, noting however that their aunt, Niña’s younger sister Naomi, used to act and sing in local plays.

Superstar kids, superstar parents

She may not be aware of it herself, but Niña, who surprised the entertainment industry when she became an author, is already practicing what she preaches in her book “How To Raise A Superstar” with the way she carries out her tasks as a mom.

In it, Niña asked the mothers of five of the country’s biggest celebrities—actors Daniel Padilla, Kathryn Bernardo, Toni and Alex Gonzaga, and sports celebrity and local lawmaker Manny Pacquiao—to share their “secrets” in raising a superstar, not necessarily in the literal sense, but encouraging a young person to realize his potentials to be able to eventually contribute to society.

“If you look at it at first glance, sure they’re superstars, there’s no doubt about that … But while I was interviewing these moms I’ve realized that away from the glitz and glamour of show business, raising superstars is about raising children,” she said.

According to Niña, superstars are not born superstars. Before they became what they are, they were children first. And like any other children, they needed extraordinary love and support from their parents.

“That’s what these moms gave their kids. They did not think ‘I’m doing this because my kid is going to be famous’,” she explained.

They’re superstars because they have super parents, so to speak.

The secret everyone knew

The #Forever of Vince and Niña began inside a local network’s newsroom sometime in 2000 where the latter was applying as a cadet reporter.

As fate would have it, the future Mrs. Rodriguez was one of five rookies assigned to the program Vince was handling.

Although he found her cute, he gave it no serious thought then since he was in a relationship at that time, and she was as well.

In the office, Boss Vince trained them, made sure they knew the ins and outs of field journalism.

Elsewhere he was the all-around kuya (older brother)—he’s five years Niña’s senior—who would hang out during breaks with these fresh grads, who had yet to prove themselves.

Things changed a year later when Vince found himself single again and in a relationship again, this time with the person he was supposed to be mentoring.

Talk about awkward.

At any rate, they were discreet about it, taking extra care not to draw attention to themselves, and in line with the principles of professionalism, they tried not to allow their feelings for each other affect their work.

There were times Vince unwittingly overdid it. He was especially harsh on the feisty but hardworking Niña in his effort to act unbiased and remain professionally unaffected by his growing affections for her.

“I didn’t want people thinking that I was being easy on her so I’d be really really tough on her, tougher than the rest,” he noted.

Or so they thought. Apparently, everybody knew, even manong guard.

After nearly a decade of going steady, they exchanged I do’s in 2008. And it helped that Vince and Niña are both in the media. Otherwise, it wouldn’t last as long as it has so far. Being in the same industry helps the couple understand each other’s struggles with work and time management.

Eight years on, the Rodriguezes now have a new superstar-to-be, five-month old Luke Vincent, who will soon join his big sisters belt out renditions of the latest OPM hit, read Dr. Seuss with them, or maybe even introduce a brand-new hobby into the family.

Like his elder sisters, he’s blessed to have in Vince and Niña parents who will give him the freedom to discover himself.

“The kids are still very young. They have a lot to look forward to. We just want to be able to help them fulfill their potential, support their passion, help them find what they want to do in life,” Vince said.

Truly, children are divine, little gifts, who may have our button nose or our same high-pitched laugh, but who are entirely their own persons. Parents can only revel in the privilege of seeing these miracles unfold first-hand.

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