Seven things our kids should remember most about us

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Just when the cam clicked for the shot, he turned his head away.

Whether we realize it or not, we’re always given a chance to make a memory at every moment. We’re more than capable of creating good and bad memories every single day of our lives. It’s all up to us.

Sure, we all have regrets and disappointments. We all have moments of despair, of hopelessness, and brokenness. We all feel like, at some point in our lives, there’s no way out of the impending doom we’re in and creating.

We tend to stress about things that shouldn’t matter all that much in the first place. And, by doing so, we forgot about our important role as parents. Our children’s sole purpose is to replace us.

Life is short and our time with our sons and daughters is going to go by fast. We have to make the most of every minute and create the kind of legacy that’s enduring, even long after we’re gone. There’s a great need for us parents to focus on things that matter, for what’s important.

It’s never too late to make an unforgettable impact with every minute we have with our kids. The following are seven things our kids should remember most about us:

  1. The way we treat their mother or father. Our children have a way of forming their views of love in large part through how we treat our husband or wife. We must show them how to get entangled in a marriage or relationship that makes them feel encouraged or excited to get married someday.
  1. The way we love them unconditionally. Our sons and daughters may not remember every kiss or hug, but they remember hugs and kisses. They may not remember every “we love you” or “we care for you” but they would sure recall that they were loved and that they heard us say it.
  1. The way we encouraged them. Our kids would be basing their sense of identity, capability, and even self-worth, for the most part, upon the words we speak to them especially in those formative years of their lives. Sure, it’s part of our job as parents to correct our kids, guide, discipline them, but even in correction, the words we must have said should be such that encourage, positively reinforce, and carry the message of love to them.
  1. The times we made them feel safe and secure. Our children would be remembering those moments we chased the monsters under their bed or held them after a nightmare, but they would as well remember the times when our temper became the monster they feared. They’re probably going to see us angry sometimes, because that’s part of life, but we must never forget that it’s our mission to make them feel safe and secure at all times when they’re with us.
  1. The way we love ourselves. How we take care of ourselves matter. Our children pick up on our self-esteem, our confidence, and our attitudes toward our spiritual, physical, and emotional well-being. They’re going to model their own self-acceptance, and confidence based on the example we set before them.
  1. The times we gave them our undivided attention. Our children are going to measure love primarily by our attentiveness to them. The times we stop what we’re doing to have spent such a quality time with them would be memories etched into their minds and hearts forever. We should be taking time to do the little things with our sons and daughters because, in the end, they would be the moments that matter most.
  1. The way we handle tough situations. Our kids would look up to us for guidance because they’re navigating a world that they are unsure of. Stressful situations of all sorts could expose us in a way that such could place our character under scrutiny. It is when horrible things happen and hard times roll through that our kids would be remembering most of the way we’ve spoken to them, how we handled and reacted to such things, and how we made them feel safe and protected throughout.

Why smiling is good for a child

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My four-year-old son flashes one of his most beautiful smiles.

Smile is one of the world’s most powerful gestures. It is the symbol that should be rated with the highest emotional content. It impacts our brain, health, and outlook on life—for all the positive reasons.

Smiling could do a lot of good things to a child. We parents must be aware of the fact that a simple smile could make our baby feel safe and secure. By simply smiling at our baby, we’re helping him boost his brain development.

When we’re smiling at a child, it helps in playing a part in bonding and attachment, making him feel secure and safe, as well as allowing him to develop the ability on learning about the world around him and within him. A child would be reading our face and to use our facial expressions as a guide to the world of his own. We must know that when our child gets lots of smiles, it could tell him a lot about his world. It’s when he’s in a secure place feeling safe, and that people around him are responding well to his needs.

It is important to note that, for the most part, smiles are the first building blocks for healthy relationships. And we must know, too, that when the relationships are healthy, they are crucial for our child’s early development. It is through these relationships that a child learns how to think, communicate, understand, interact, express, and show emotions.

To give and to receive smiles are the first steps a child is taking in order to learn how to be social as well as in having good relationships with everyone. Of course, not every single response parents are giving is vital, but the more often parents smile at their child, the better, as each smile a child sees from his parents sends a great message. We should remember that no act of smiling, no matter what the situation is, is ever wasted.

Five simple ways to make a happy child

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We should make them feel like the world is still a beautiful place in which to live, in spite of everything.

All parents just want their children to be happy. But not only that, we also want them to grow up into the best person that they could be. But the big question is: “How much control do we have over our children’s happiness and success for that matter?”

What makes a happy child? What makes him become successful in his chosen field and in life? What could we do to increase the odds that our children would have been achieving these things?

We may try these five simple ways to make happy and successful children:

Help them feel connected. The keyword is “connectedness.” We must make them feel they are loved, acknowledged, understood, and wanted. We must make them feel they are important to us. We must show them unconditional love.

Hug them. Kiss them. Respond with empathy to their cries. Be with them, eat with them, and laugh with them. The more connections we’re making our children with, the better.

We must not be too cynical. We should curb our cynicism. When we’re cynical about just everything, it could take a huge toll on our children’s sense of security, which is considered a crucial component of happiness. Instead, we should make them feel like the world is still a beautiful place in which to live, in spite of everything.

Don’t grant them their every wish and desire. We must focus on our children’s long-term happiness by not putting them in a bubble and grant their every wish and desire. Normally, kids would have their own ways of interpreting for what they grow to expect which the real world doesn’t always work that way.

We should allow our kids to develop such coping skills and resilience they would need to bounce back from life’s inevitable setbacks. We should help them learn in dealing with negative emotions.

Help them find their passion and praise them for it. We should be exposing our kids to a wide range of experiences to see what appeals to them. We should help them develop their ability to totally immerse themselves in an activity they love as that would give them a leg up on happiness throughout their lives.

Make mealtime a positive experience from an early age. When we’re eating with our kids together in a round table, it is important to make sure we raise positive topics to discuss with them. It is through such time when we’re eating healthily, under pleasant, unhurried conditions that would make us feel better in both body and spirit.

Our constant prayer as parents should be for our children to come to know God as He is as much as we did

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If God wills it, so be it.

When my son Nathaniel was walking toward the direction of a priest for a blessing after a holy mass celebration two years ago, he (the priest) was telling my son to try becoming a priest like him when he grows up. Then the priest looked me straight in the eyes as we traded smiles. “If God wills it,” I told him.

I once considered priesthood when I was a lot younger. I took up the entrance exam at the nearest College seminary from where I lived and was interviewed, of course, by a priest who was also the school director.

“What made you consider priesthood?” asked the director priest.

“Because I want to serve God by turning people towards him,” I answered.

“Not only a priest can do that, but everyone can serve God in his own little way,” he said.

“Listen, I want you to think hard about it. I’m sending you home and think hard about it. Come back when you have finally decided to become a priest.”

I didn’t come back. He was right, each one of us can serve God in our own little ways. It has become so clear to me now. God wants me to build a family and to make a domestic church out of it.

I know that if I was in the seminary, I would receive wonderful human and spiritual formation and academic education. I would be taught by dedicated priests who inspire by example as I’m going to share my life with fellow seminarians who are also a source of grace, fellowship, and wisdom.

But while I was considering the priesthood, God knew best than what I should be doing with my life. He made me a family man. I was still called “padre,” but of the family. While the priest is called “padre de Iglesia,” I, on the other hand, was the “padre de Familia.”

If my son is going to ask me about considering the priesthood when he grows up, this I have to say: “If God wills it.” Because I know that while I am my son’s biological father, his creator and spiritual father is the Almighty God. I’m confident that God knows what his vocation should be.

Our constant prayer as parents should be for our children to come to know God as He is as much as we did. God would lead our children if we prepare and encourage them to respond to His call.

If God wills it, so be it.

Some thoughts on family and the role it has to play in our society

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The family should impact the entire society by its positive example.

It has been said that a home that’s filled with the light of Christ’s truth and the warmth of his love radiates joy far beyond its walls. The family, especially in the Christian sense of it, plays an essential role in our baptismal call to be disciples and missionaries. Each member of the family is called to holiness and to reflect this holiness in his or her state of life.

The following are some thoughts on family and the important role it has to play in our society to make it a much safer and happy place for all people to live and enjoy:

  • The family should be such an effective voice for the things that matter.
  • The family should be sharing its faith with other families.
  • The family should become a saving community in such a way that it is communicating Christ’s love to others in word and action.
  • The family should be such that it succeeds in living love as communion and service as a reciprocal gift open to all.
  • The family should be such that it has to receive and transmit the divine love realized in the mutual commitment of the spouses, in generous and responsible procreation, in the care and welfare of the children, work and social relationships, with attention to the less fortunate and the deprived, in participation in church activities, and in commitment to civil society.
  • The family should become an evangelizing community by accepting the Gospel as it matures in faith.
  • The family should impact the entire society by its positive example.
  • The family should be educating children in moral values in such a way that they would grow morally upright and mature.
  • The family should be fostering an environment where children learn skills, morals, and values.
  • The family should create structure and stability in the lives of family members.

Help your kids develop confidence without overpressuring them

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Make your child feel that you care for him by recognizing how he’s grown and learned over a particular thing.

Without self-confidence, your child is most likely to fail in a sense that it is considered an essential ingredient for all aspects of your child’s healthy development. It is also such a key ingredient in which school success may be gauged or determined. But how would you be able to help your children develop confidence without the so much, sometimes unnecessary pressure imposed upon them?

You may try the following tips, hoping these may work out well for you.

BE RESILIENT

Be the person you want to see in your child. Teach him resilience by being resilient yourself. You have to remember that, no matter how hard you try, no one succeeds at everything all the time.

There would be failures, setbacks, criticisms, hurts, and so on. Use these things as a learning stage for him. Offer solutions, and encourage your child about him doing better next time. Because when he does succeed, after a failure or a series of failures, he would take pride of his accomplishments.

BE SUPPORTIVE

When you find out that your child is passionate about something, support him for it. Respect and encourage his personal interests, yes, even if you don’t find them interesting at all. Supporting him, however, does not mean you’re giving him free reign to do it even to the point when it’s already interfering with his other responsibilities like personal care or schoolwork.

CELEBRATE YOUR CHILD’S SUCCESSES

Make your child feel that you care for him by recognizing how he’s grown and learned over a particular thing. Take note of his accomplishments and assure him that you’re always there to guide and to help.

GIVE YOUR CHILD UNCONDITIONAL LOVE

This would explain everything. It’s probably the most important thing you could give your child. When your child feels accepted and loved, it builds a very strong foundation for confidence. You don’t need to be a perfect parent at all, and who is? But your unconditional love would make up for all the imperfections.

Help your child become a better person with these six empowering ways

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When children respect themselves and those around them, it would serve them best in almost everything they do.

Every parent would be very glad seeing their children growing up to be reliable persons and who could do things on their own. There’s that awkward feeling at first like when you realize that your kids wouldn’t need your assistance at all because they’re more than capable of doing it on their own.

Teaching them simple things such as how to tie their own shoe, arrange books, wash their hands, and so on, would one day pay off. They would thank you for that, but it’s you who should be most thankful for having done the right thing. Remember that you wouldn’t be doing such a kind of thing for your kids forever because, whether you like it or not, there comes a time when you have to let go because your kids could try or do it on their own.

But how prepared are you for such a day? Were you able to empower your children just like the way you want them to be? Were you able to send them out into the world with a strong sense of self-worth and confidence? Were your ways of motivating them effective enough to give them the upper hand in both their personal and professional relationships?

You’re not perfect as a parent, but it’s your job to keep your children alive, well-fed, and taken care of. You have got to make them but the best version of themselves. You have to empower them.

Here’s how you could do it better:

HELP THEM BECOME RESPONSIBLE PERSONS

You could start by giving them responsibility. Teach them to accept responsibility for their actions. Encourage them to stop the blame game and start accepting responsibility.

TEACH THEM HOW TO BE PATIENT

Well, the best way to teach patience is to practice patience. Be a model for patience before your children. Engage them in activities that require patience.

GIVE YOUR KIDS SOMETHING TO CARE FOR

It could be anything, maybe a plant or a pet. It might be just an ordinary task but when children start seeing the direct result of their care for something, it would give them a sense of pride nothing else could.

MAKE THEM LEARN THE VALUE OF RESPECT

Chances are, if you’re not teaching your kids respect it would eventually lost. When children respect themselves and those around them, it would serve them best in almost everything they do.

LET THEM BE SELF-SUFFICIENT

I think I wouldn’t find this one hard to implement for my four-year-old son, Nathaniel, as he’s so eager to take things all by himself. When I tried to teach him something, he first would listen and observe. The next thing you’ll see was that he’s doing it all by himself and he just wouldn’t allow you to intervene.

The good thing about self-sufficient kids is that they may be even more capable of helping others around them as their needs they could take care themselves.

TEACHING THEM HOW TO BE GRATEFUL

Naturally, children are materialistic and self-serving persons. But, the good thing is, we could teach them how to be grateful. And from thankfulness flows joy.

Once kids learn gratitude, they become sensitive to the feelings of others. They would be able to develop empathy and other skills along the way.

Be a role model for gratitude. Encourage generosity. Name your blessings.

 

A Prayer for World Peace and Healing

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Lord, heal our land. Make us all but instruments of your peace.

In our deepest, darkest moments, a prayer serves as the source of our strength, joy, and love. We’re living in a very cruel, evil world now. When you try to look around, or watch in the news, killings seem to be just an ordinary thing for some people.

People are being killed just like dogs, or birds. There’s blood in our streets. More hatred. More vengeance. More violence. Human life has become less or not respected at all.

As a writer, I feel privileged to share this prayer I made to all of you, and especially for all of us. May God bless us all. Here’s the prayer:

Almighty Father, creator of Heaven and Earth and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who delivered His own people from slavery and oppression in the land of Goshen in ancient Egypt. The God whom Moses received the Ten Commandments inscribed upon a pair of stone tablets.

We thank you for everything, especially that of your great gift of human life. But would you let us come to know you more and to witness to your goodness as a loving Father who, in every circumstance, gives us what is good?

We ask for your mercy and compassion especially in these much troubled times that we have come to experience. Send us your mighty angels to protect us, our loved ones, children, families, relatives, friends, and all those who walk in the paths of righteousness and worship your name, like a hen covering her chicks under her wings.

Grant us peace and guide us with your Light in such a way that we would never lose sight of you. Shower us your love so that our hearts would be as pure as what you want them to be. Give us courage to continue doing the things that glorify your name.

Heal our land. Make us all but instruments of your peace by becoming transformative agents in conflict management, reconciliation, and healing. Be it may that, through us, we inspire others as well to become peace-makers, protectors of the sanctity of human life, minorities, the upholding of the rule of law, and mutual respect and understanding.

May we all live in free societies and that may each one of us learns to renounce hatred and seek to build bonds of understanding and friendship in this a fractured world that we live in.

May our leaders be enlightened on the importance of the Fifth Commandment, which unequivocally forbids the taking of human life, from the moment of conception to natural death and it should be treated with utmost respect and love.

We ask this through your son Jesus, our savior.

Amen.

Teachers as facilitators of learning and as second parents

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We salute our teachers for planting the seeds of knowledge that guide, inspire, and making us all what we are today. Thank you for helping us grow and learn.

Today is Happy Teachers’ Day. As we celebrate this special day for teachers around the world and for their hard work, we must never forget that one of their greatest contributions is to help young minds learn and grow.

Aside from teaching children to behave and to judge what is right and wrong, teachers play the role of second parents to the students. They take charge in shaping the life of the students under their care. They empower them.

Each child should have a caring adult in their lives. Teachers substitute biological parents in mentoring and making students learn. They are facilitators of learning.

With just the right mix of chalk and challenges, teachers could change lives and inspire so much that they awaken the natural curiosity of the minds of those they were teaching. In other words, teachers exist to make a difference in their students’ lives.

Teachers teach their students how to deal with pressure, approach problems, express themselves verbally, and in accepting mistakes and finding solutions. It is not an easy job, though.

And while their salaries may be higher now than in days gone by, but all too often they’re held in little or no esteem notwithstanding the fact that their duties have broadened by which to include responsibilities far beyond what was asked of them a generation or two ago.

Teaching has become much more difficult.  Good teachers are worth their weight in gold but, clearly, most are not in it for the money. They had the respect of the community.

We are praying for their safety, health, overall wellness, and that they must continue thriving. We are thankful for having them.

We must thank them for shaping the future generation, for giving our kids much needed advice, their sacrifice, patience, dedication, and for letting us parents breathe easy.

We salute our teachers for planting the seeds of knowledge that guide, inspire, and making us all what we are today. Thank you for helping us grow and learn.

The gift of fatherhood is one that should allow Christ to transform our lives

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We should love being a father and to translate such a thing into a reality that makes a difference in the way we live.

Although Jesus Christ, during his brief stay on earth a little over two thousand years ago, did not marry someone and to literally bear children with any woman, he was the head of the spiritual family he was establishing. It’s like a flock of sheep where offsprings (represented by lambs) follow their Shepherd.

Christ plays the role of a dad. He’s there to protect his children from wolves in sheep’s clothing. He’s there to protect the family from predatory animals and from all forms of corruption that may consume or damage it.

Jesus shows all of us how it’s like being the head of the family. It’s not an accident but every dad was chosen by God to be the father of his children just as Christ was especially chosen by the Almighty Father to head his spiritual family—the Church.

Fathering a child is not about being perfect, but to serve what God, who knows all your strengths and weaknesses, wants you to do and to be. Christ was sent into this world for the sinners, for the lost sheep. When we accept Christ and follow him, we are safe and what we’ve lost would be restored.

We should allow Jesus, the Messiah, to transform our lives. We should love being a father and to translate such a thing into a reality that makes a difference in the way we live.

To all the dads out there, including me, raising kids should be such a profound and life-changing experience, changed forever by the living reality of Christ Jesus, as we are all called to seek the Lord and receive the salvation that He brings.

Raising children should be something that invites us to be disrupted by a God who wants to be close to us. A God that says we fit the bill perfectly for His plan for our family and, most importantly, a God for whom the gift of life is one of the greatest proofs of His love.