Parents of the Year Menchu and Judith Sanchez: They don’t believe in spanking kids

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In raising their children, no physical punishment, ‘puro pangaral.’

In raising their children, no physical punishment, ‘puro pangaral.’

By Cristina DC Pastor

For registered nurse Menchu Sanchez, being recognized by the White House for her heroism during the 2012 Hurricane Sandy may be a lifetime achievement. Being named, with husband Judith, Parents of the Year is an equally stunning honor.

“We’re very happy,” she said of the recognition conferred on them by the Garden State Filipino American Association, Inc.

Menchu and Judith Sanchez are proud parents to Jude and Michelle, twenty-something siblings who are respectful children, kiss the hands of elders, and are very helpful at home. “They’re very good kids,” she said.

Jude and Michelle were practically inseparable as children. Menchu shared a story steeped in superstition of how she saved the umbilical cords of her children, wrapped them together in a newspaper with a pencil (in the belief they would be good students), and kept them in a bag. It got her mother worried, she suggested separating the umbilical cords which Menchu did when they reached grade school. Not long after, they began to fight like cats and dogs, chimed in Judith.

Judith and Menchu met in Saudi Arabia in the 1980s where she worked as a nurse for about 10 years and Judith was employed as a medical technologist. They married in the Philippines and immigrated to the U.S. in the 1990s. The family made their home in Secaucus, New Jersey, although Menchu, the middle of three siblings from Catanauan, Quezon, found work as a nurse in Manhattan. When she strategized the rescue of some 20 newborns from Hurricane Sandy during a power outage, she was working as a nurse at NYU Langone Medical Center. She is currently a clinical and neonatal nurse at Mount Sinai.

Judith works for a French company distributing medical devices based in Parsippany, New Jersey. He is a Hotline Technical Specialist. The youngest of eight children from Gapan, Nueva Ecija, his girl’s name has to do with his parents’ religious devotion. They named all their children after biblical characters. Judith’s birthday fell on a date honoring the woman warrior Judith who beheaded enemy soldiers to save her kingdom.

Their children – Jude, 25, and Michelle, 24 – are their pride and joy.

The Sanchezes during a family vacation in Eagle Rock, Hazleton, Pennsylvania.

The Sanchezes during a family vacation in Eagle Rock, Hazleton, Pennsylvania.

Jude, a physical therapy assistant and swimming coach, is a “very respectful and very thoughtful” person, said his parents. His younger sister Michelle, a swim coach, is “kind and loving,” conscious that their parents do not carry heavy grocery bags because of their age.

The children live with their parents, and no one seems to mind that all of them, including their maternal grandmother, are under one roof.

Said Menchu with a laugh, “We said nobody will be living outside of the house until they are married.”

At this time and age, added Judith, “We are just being practical because everything is expensive.” He said the kids can come and go as they please and have no curfew.

The children received no spanking when they misbehaved as kids, which they rarely did. They are raised on the Filipino custom of respect for elders and being polite. When they arrive home, they give their parents a hug and kiss, same as when they leave the house.

“No physical punishment, just words of wisdom,” said Judith. “Puro pangaral.”

Judith believes in instilling in his children wise words they can learn from. One he used to dispense when they were little kids learning to swim was ‘No pain, no gain.’ Another favorite is that of ‘teaching a man to fish’ versus ‘giving him a fish,’ a maxim that discourages handouts in helping others.

The family goes to Sunday mass at Immaculate Conception Church in Secaucus, where Menchu sings in the choir and Michelle plays the drum and guitar. They are active in the church’s Filipino community.

Unknown to some of her friends, Menchu is quietly preparing for a kidney transplant. She is suffering from a rare disorder called ‘IgA nephropathy,’ a condition where the kidney is unable to filter waste from blood to urine. She is looking for a kidney donor with the same blood type (Type 0 positive) — and a kind, generous heart. As she awaits her approaching hospital date, she is sustained by the love and support of her family.

© The FilAm 2018

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