LIHUE — Victor Aguilar, who has had the joy of watching his children grow into responsible adults, believes it takes patience, understanding and love to make a good father.
“Seeing your kids succeed tells you that you’ve done your job and you’re satisfied that you’ve done everything you can do for your kids,” the Kalaheo resident said. “When they’re self-sufficient and on their own, you know you’ve succeeded as a parent.”
He and his loving wife, Priscilla, raised five children — Kimberly, Kevin, Kristen, Christopher and Virginia. However, they aren’t the only ones who call him Dad — Aguilar has also been a foster parent to 38 children over the past 10 years.
“We treat them like our own,” Aguilar said. “We started doing that because we wanted to make sure the kids were provided.”
Speaking from his experience raising children, Aguilar had this advice for other fathers: Being involved in their children’s lives is one of the most important things they can do.
Aguilar strove to be involved in children’s lives both at home and at school, acting as the senior Army instructor for Waimea High School’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program.
As the kids started at WHS, they became involved in the school’s many activities and clubs, including JROTC, with their father supporting them all the way.
“We try to role model and teach them life skills and teach them how to set goals and also how to achieve, live life and enjoy yourself at the same time,” Aguilar said. “All of our kids have different strengths.”
Although Aguilar said there have been challenges over the years, he is very proud of his children and their accomplishments.
“We’ve raised them so they’ve never had any fights or arguments among themselves, so that was challenging,” Aguilar said. “There’s always sibling rivalry, so to keep them working together and supporting each other without hurting each other, it’s always been good to see that happen.”
Fostering children has been a special journey for the family. After Aguilar’s oldest daughter, Virginia, said her parents should be involved in their community, and after hearing requests at their church and on TV, the Aguilars decided to open their home to children who needed one.
“There’s a definite need for them, that they need placements, so that’s always a void and that’s why it’s always good to have people that are willing to step forward and help,” Aguilar said.
Although Aguilar never smiles in his photos, he is still happy that he and his wife have been able to take care of many foster kids, some since they were 1-day-old. Through tutoring, the couple has also helped the children’s grades improve.
They are currently fostering three young girls, and striving to be loving parents by sewing clothing for them, placing them in summer fun programs to keep them active, and helping with their homework.
“They all have different abilities so we’re working with them in the summer to get their grades up so that they can succeed when they go back to school,” Aguilar said.
During his 20-year journey as a JROTC instructor, Aguilar has guided many students toward future career paths and helped prepare them for college.
Aguilar has also acted as the adviser for the Health Occupation Students of America, Remote Operated Vehicle Club and Science Olympiad in addition to being the Kauai Interscholastic Federation air riflery coach.
As he continues working to be a good parent for his children and foster children, Aguilar said he hopes “that they all have a life that has been blessed by the Lord and that they raise their kids the same way they were raised.”