Six life lessons we learned from Dad—so far

Published June 20, 2021, 1:52 PM

by Denice Sy Munez

Growing up, my dad Dioceldo Sy was not always present. I remember being watched over by our caretaker and our grandma, and only seeing Dad occasionally at dinners and when we would travel together for our annual vacations. He was always busy at work, and it was a sacrifice that he had to pursue every day in choosing to make a living for our family.

Looking back, I am still in awe of Dad’s parenting skills for being able to raise all of us six children, and practical principles that I find myself continuously abiding by as an adult. Now that I am a mother, I frequently contemplate how I can best bring up my son Jake Dean with similar values from Dad that I have come to appreciate more and more as I get older.

Six siblings share the lessons they learned from their dad—so far.

Beyond being my boss and as the founder and CEO of a successful cosmetics company Ever Bilena Cosmetics, Inc., my dad is also, first and foremost, a father. As we celebrate Father’s Day, we would like to honor him by recognizing and acknowledging the powerful life lessons we have picked up from him over the years.

Dioceldo Sy with Dianne Sy-Isla

Frugality is key to success and contentment.
Dad always reminded us to be thrifty and simple. It was essential to him that we learned to be practical in making purchases, such as “no need to go for luxury branded things.” I remember when I was younger, Daddy would always say it’s better to have money inside in a cheap wallet, rather than have an expensive wallet but no money inside. I would get scolded many times when I used to splurge on our credit card for shopping, Uber rides, and other unreasonable purchases, which I have learned from and now regret making. He didn’t only discipline me, but he also showed it through his lifestyle and led by example. He doesn’t buy a lot of things, but only buys what is needed for the home. If you see his room, there’s no clutter! It’s so neat—he would call himself a minimalist. And when we go to the grocery with Dad, he would be on the lookout for bargained items and the most affordable options with comparable quality. I really admire that a successful man like him who can afford to spend extravagantly, he still maintains his values and lifestyle. I’m thankful for the discipline he gave and the example he displayed, it helped shape my principles to choose to be content, not be materialistic, and keep practical spending habits. My friends are often surprised when they see that I don’t yearn for expensive things, and how our family continues to stay grounded. In a culture where luxury consumerism and being materialistic equates to success and happiness, Dad shows otherwise. —Dianne Sy-Isla

Dioceldo Sy with Denice Sy Munez

Be compassionate, and do not think so highly of yourself.
Dad always emphasized to me the importance of staying grounded and never seeing oneself as being above anyone one else. “You only fall hard when you put yourself so highly. When you’re grounded, you can trip, but you never truly fall. And falling hard can be painful, don’t put yourself in that position.”

Success and material wealth are nice to achieve on this earth, but as stewards of God, we should recognize the bigger picture in life which is everything is temporary and that we all have a function of helping make the world a better place in our own way. In his earlier years, Dad worked immensely hard in order to provide for our family. Today, he is driven by the motivation of continuing the legacy of the business for the welfare of employees who rely on our company for their livelihood. He teaches me that we are all human beings. No matter what our stature is in life, and in the end, we will all return to ashes. What matters most is the impact we are able to leave on others, and that includes being a good person, showing love and respect for all, and, hopefully, through our actions, make someone’s life a little happier each day. —Denice Sy-Munez

Dioceldo Sy with Demiee Sy

Forgiveness is the best gift we can give to ourselves.
Dad showed me the lesson of forgiveness for a peaceful and progressive life. He has experienced heartache, deceit, and betrayal in his personal relationships and in business, but I never hear him say bad things about those who have wronged him. Rather, he just forgives and presses on. He chooses to simply work hard and move forward, not being dragged down by the negativity of such unfortunate circumstances. —Demiee Sy

Dioceldo Sy with Donway Sy

Always be genuine in your relationships, and never burn bridges.
Dad taught me the importance of building strong and lasting relationships. There will be many friends that you meet along the way. Some people, you walk alongside for only a season, and others join you for a longer journey. But regardless of the duration that you spend with the person, one must always treat friends well—genuinely and on good terms. One can never tell when a great opportunity comes knocking at your door, whether it be in the form of an old friend from way back or someone you randomly met at an event yesterday. Great relationships open doors. And, sometimes, it is during serendipitous meetings that we come up with new opportunities to do business or investments. Some work and some don’t. And I think this is why I hear my dad say this a lot, “It’s a small world.” – Donway Sy

Dioceldo Sy and Daniel Gabriel Sy

Never stop seeing the opportunity in every situation.
One lesson that I learned from Dad is to always take advantage of every opportunity. This is very valuable to me because to this day, I still see him seeking for more business opportunities and doing great in them. This sets an example for me to work hard in every chance I get and to capitalise on my future endeavours. – Daniel Gabriel Sy

Dioceldo Sy and Kirsten Gabriel Sy

Dreams can only become reality when you put in the hard work.
Dad demonstrated by example the value of good work ethics. He grew up with no hand-outs in life and knows the struggle of starting from the bottom. Because of his humble beginnings, he made sure to teach his children to not feel entitled to anything, but instead, to work hard to achieve every dream. —Kirsten Gabriel


 
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