You or a family member has decided to work abroad to ease the financial concerns of your family. This is not a unique situation because every day, thousands of Filipinos are deployed to various parts of the world. However, there are enormous challenges and social costs to those who have chosen to be an OFW. What must be your concern right now is what to do to keep your family intact as well as how to maintain the relationship with all members of the family.
As the basic unit of society, God meant a family to be composed of a father, a mother and kids. But with the distance separating you (or your spouse) from your family, there will be more challenges facing you. You will not be able to monitor the changes as well as share the experiences of your spouse and children. It is thus very important for communication to be open and constant. Make use of all available means, via snail mail, phone calls, text messaging, emails, voice and web chats. Used wisely, this is a tool that can strengthen a family relationship.
Keep alive the relationship with your spouse. The loneliness of being on his/her own as well as being the sole parent makes it doubly hard for her/him. Partner with your spouse in bringing up the children. Continue with the nurturing, disciplining and guiding of their growing up years. The children must also be aware of the situation of the family and understand their roles, responsibilities and duties.
Seek the support of friends, relatives and churchmates in this challenging time. Most importantly, remember that any family can only survive the challenges they will face in life if they hold on to Christ and let Him be the center of their family relationship.
- Define the objective and set the time frame of your time away from the family. Discuss this with the whole family so that all of you would know the expectations and responsibilities to keep the family intact.
- Maintain an open communication with all members of the family. Use available forms of communication such as snail mail, internet, phone calls, text messages, etc.
- Always send pictures to each other so as to keep up with the changes happening. This will help you better visualize each other’s lives.
- For the father, resolve to keep the job abroad as temporary. Remember that the family is more important so it is necessary to be together.
- Those who are left behind, usually the mother and the kids, must resolve to keep their part in maintaining the relationship alive.
- Both the OFW and those who remain in the Philippines must continue to trust God and seek the support of family and friends.
- For the spouses, run away from any temptation.
- Hope Away From Home: Help and Encouragement for OFWs by Evelyn Miranda-Feliciano
- Online resources for OFWs : www.globalofw.com
- Connecting: 52 Guidelines for Making Marriage Work by Harold J. Sala
- Making Marriage Work by Harold J. Sala
- The Family You’ve Always Wanted by Gary Chapman
- Practical Christian Living by Bertram Lim
- How to Keep Your Husband Happy / How to Keep Your Wife Happy by William Orr
- The Joy of Marriage God’s Way by Beverly La Haye
- Jesus on Parenting by Teresa Whitehurst
- Raising Godly Kids by Harold J. Sala
- The top 5 destinations of OFWs in 2007-2008: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Hong Kong and Singapore
- The top 5 sources of remittances: United States, Saudi Arabia, Canada, United Kingdom and Italy.
- In 2008, 1.24 Million OFWs were deployed overseas. (Phils in Figures 2010)
- A 2008 UNICEF report has shown that the social costs of labor migration outweighs economic benefits, with family relationships and dynamics the first casualty.
- About 3 to 6 million Filipino children are left behind as parents pursue work abroad. (UNICEF 2008)
What struggles does an OFW family face and how can their family best survive the years of absence? “Abrod” sympathetically portrays this modern Filipino issue. Get practical advice on how your family can stay connected and prosper during an OFW experience.