When my son turned two years old, I noticed that when he’s eating his meal he will spare a portion of his viand and placed it on the lower side of the plate. At first I thought he was going to eat the viand later on but to my surprise, after the meal, he picked it up with his hand and walked towards the kitchen where the wild cat was waiting. I was delighted at the thought on how he was able to come up with such a very beautiful idea, at such a very young age, of sparing a portion of his meal to feed the wild cat.
I found out later that my toddler was not only kind to a cat but also to chickens. It was when, one time, he saw me feeding the chickens at the backyard of our house that he rushed towards me, grabbed a handful of mixed grains and pellets from the feeds container I’m holding, and sprinkled them away to where the chickens were. He even uttered something in a loud voice he can only understand as if to call at the chickens to come to him.
What I saw before my eyes was the unfolding of the truth concerning my toddler. I saw his inner self; that he was content, happy, and comfortable within his own self that he shared with the creatures around him the same level of contentment, happiness, and comfortability through such acts of kindnesses. I am convinced it is one of the greatest wisdom we could ever find.
I think kindness is a character inherent in everyone, innate so to speak; the code of which was carefully embedded in every human being’s genetic framework; that we are originally programmed to protect and to take care of the welfare of our fellow species and also of those belonging to the other species until someone hacked the main control device and changed the code for all of us to self-destruct.
The Creator of this Great Project called on his brightest men to do something about it and it was found out somebody from within is trying to sabotage the whole thing. The Creator’s right hand, no other than the Great Manipulator himself, was the brainchild to such an attempt of toppling down the Kingdom. No one has ever had done that kind of thing before except him.
The Creator, being just and kind, settled the mutiny with a touch of diplomacy. He understands that the Great Manipulator wanted to be like Him, so He sent him somewhere else so he could establish his own kingdom and reign. The Creator knows that the Great Manipulator will be punished in due time, but he could still use the remaining time left for his own self.
Operation Enduring Salvation was launched to save all of those units infected with virus perpetrated by the Great Manipulator. The procedure was to implant the same original microchip into the main control device but this time soaked with droplets of the Creator’s blood. It was very potent that each infected unit who will be exposed to it will be transformed as new.
It should not come as a surprise if you see toddlers who are yet learning everything but already know how to show some acts of kindness. We are all programmed in that way from the very beginning until someone changed the program for us. But the Cure is here to bring us back to what we are originally designed to.
Have you ever had been to a particular situation when your decision making was tested? Was it the greatest decision you had ever made so far? How do you feel after you had made the most important decision in your life?
Decision making is a part of life. It’s a choice you have to make on a daily basis. When you decide over something, you chooses for whatever it will bring you. To be undecided is already to choose to decide by not deciding.
Several years ago, I was asked by a relative of mine if I could donate a bag (around 450 cc) of my blood as she was scheduled for operation and she needed transfusion. Her blood type was O. I have decided to agree on donating my blood even if I didn’t know of my blood type yet at that time.
So we went (there were three of us as blood donors because she was asked by the physician to secure three bags needed for the operation) to the nearest Red Cross office for blood testing and typing. After having known that we were of the same blood type, I started to feel nervous. It was my first time to be taken a blood from a vein of that volume.
The operation was successful and I felt so relieved upon knowing it. I was thankful to have decided and finally gave it a go. It was not an easy decision I was making, though. I had a phobia, to some degree, for blood, by the way. But nothing could describe the joy I felt in my heart knowing I became one of the instruments in saving someone’s life.
It was not the greatest or the most important decision I had made in my life but I know I made a little difference. I was able to conquer my own fear for blood. And, surprisingly, I have already had been donating blood three times since.
Donating blood is perhaps one of the most unselfish gestures that anyone could make for his fellow men. It reminds us of what Jesus had done in the cross for all mankind. He ransomed us with his own blood so we could have life everlasting, just like the way it used to be.
Talking about donating a blood, allow me to share to you a selected story I came across with several years ago by Myron L. Morris, a physician, about a little boy who makes a difficult decision. Please read and try to find out something about the character of the boy through an act of decision during a crucial moment:
Eight-year-old Johnny was very serious when I called him into my office at the hospital and explained how he could save his little sister’s life. Mary, aged six, was near death—victim of a disease from which Johnny had made a miraculous recovery only two years earlier. Now Mary’s only chance was a blood transfusion from someone who had previously conquered the illness. Since the two children had the same rare blood type, Johnny would be the ideal donor.
“Johnny,” I said, “would you like to give your blood for Mary?”
He hesitated a moment, his lower lip trembling, but I had seen many people older than Johnny who were a little frightened by the idea of giving blood, so I thought no more about it. Then he smiled and said, “Sure, Dr. Morris. I’ll give my blood for my sister.”
The operating room was prepared and the children wheeled in—Mary, pale and thin; Johnny robust and almost cherubic. Neither spoke, but when their eyes met, Johnny grinned broadly.
As Johnny’s blood siphoned into Mary’s veins, her pale skin began to turn pink. There was complete silence as the operation proceeded. But Johnny spoke in a brave little voice I will never forget.
“Say, Dr. Morris,” he said, “when do I die?”
It was only then that I realized what that moment’s lip trembling had meant when I had talked to Johnny in my office.
He thought that giving up his blood for his sister meant giving up his life! In that brief moment he had made his great decision.
That was, indeed, a very beautiful, inspiring account of a boy who made the greatest decision in his life by giving his everything, yes, even his own life, for the sake of someone. From out of such a single decision, everything was never the same again in his life and those of his loved ones. It’s about taking risks, but also to think wisely to come up with the right decision.
The decisions you are making at any time, whether great or small, will tell about who you are. Every single day is an endless stream of random possibilities that allow you to decide upon. Just like what I did a little over three years ago: I have decided to become a good husband to my wife and a best dad to my son.
As a parent, you probably may have already had done everything to protect or preserve the innocence of your young child. You tell him simplistic stuff and shelter him, to the best that you could, from the political side of everything. You make it a point that you’re doing it right in keeping the door closed on the adult media world even when you know that, sooner or later, somebody else could push it open.
You will do everything to protect his innocence because you know that, as a young child, he is very sensitive and could be easily impacted by trauma. You believe that his childhood is a state that should be protected, monitored, and be kept safe at all times, so he could learn new things in a proper, slow, and gradual manner, once he’s mature enough to handle them. Yes, no doubt, you love your young child to the point that you want him to have a total protection from people who could do him harm, inflict unwanted pain and harsh reality for his age, and snatch his innocence away from him too young.
But what if this “innocence” thing, which is every child’s right to not know, never crossed your mind? How are you going to know the ways in which you could help ensure his safety and protect his innocence?
Protecting your young child’s innocence is important because it is what will keep him asleep in his bed unmindful of the chaos and noise of the outside world. It is what will keep him smiling after any difficulties or hardships because he could still believe everything will always turn out fine in the end, even when you know that is not always the case. A young child’s innocence should be protected so that he grows up as naturally unaffected by these preventable unnecessary inputs as possible.
Or you could try looking at the situation from a different sense, from a different perspective, if you may. As a parent, there’s no such thing as protecting your young child’s “innocence.” It is not his innocence you are actually protecting, but the child himself. There’s one way you think is best to protect your child, and that’s for people to respect your ability, capacity, and responsibility to raise a child.
To protect and not to protect your young child’s innocence are both important. You will find out that there’s no need for you to try protecting your young child’s innocence indefinitely as no one can truly protect it. But it’s a matter of knowing when to protect his innocence until you don’t. A good parent knows when it is important to protect his child and when it is important not to.
What are you most afraid of? What keeps you up at night thinking to the point of feeling nervous, heart beats faster, sweating, and, sometimes, losing your mind? And then, all of a sudden, there’s this other side of you telling yourself that everything you heard, saw, felt, and experienced could be explained in more or less logical terms. Fear, as you come to know it, is a psychological expedient; while depression, on the other hand, is the result of a chemical imbalance within your system.
But, of all kinds of fears, what are you really most afraid of? Fear has been considered as mankind’s oldest and strongest of emotions. And the fear of the unknown is the oldest and strongest kind of fear. Let me pick one type of fear of the unknown we could discuss about, and that’s death. Because no one who have gone there had ever come back alive (except for Lazarus who was restored to life by Jesus, and that one particular unknown dead man in the Old Testament who was buried in prophet Elisha’s tomb and accidentally touched his bones.)
Are you afraid of death? I do, and I had to assume that mostly all of us feel the same way, too. Most of us are afraid to die because we simply have had too much to live for. Some people are afraid to die simply because of fear for all of those they would be leaving behind: Earthly possessions, fame, loved ones, and the list could go on.
But there are quite a few people who are comfortable to say on why they’re not afraid to die. And some of these people are those who are almost there. They have considered it to be just a natural thing and that you don’t even have to talk about it.
But hey, seriously, it’s also a natural thing for most people to simply feel the fear of death. When you go to bed each night you may sometimes entertain the thought like “What if I don’t wake up?” Or “In what manner or way in which I may die?”
Here’s a sonnet I wrote for a very scary experience I, along with my wife and a two-year-old son, had during last year’s (sometime in the first week of July) boat ride from Surigao City to Cebu City. We were actually on a week-long vacation in my hometown, one of the towns in the province of Agusan del Norte, and took the Surigao route by boat on our way back to Cebu. At the pier in Surigao, the sea was calm and you could never see any signs of impending danger waiting halfway on.
The boat braved a violent sea of strong winds and big waves as it pierced through the dark of the night. There was a time in that night when I thought the boat could have sunk and we would have all gotten drowned. Some passengers were vomiting from sea sickness; others were praying silently, trembling. I was thinking: If I’m going to be drowned, how it would be like to die from drowning?
You may try pondering at my sonnet:
I Always Thought That Life’s A Breath To Hold
The instinct not to breathe underwater is so strong that it overcomes the agony of running out of air.—Sebastian Junger, The Perfect Storm
I always thought that life’s a breath to hold When, all submerged, the underwater scent’s A poison that kills even the most bold Of warriors, declaring a wrath, still went No farther than what he can only keep For himself, and for how long he could last With every moment’s pull towards the deep; The creeping hand that takes away so fast And left with no other thing but finding How he can truly make himself afloat And gains back the sweetest sense of breathing Freely—what else matters most and a lot? While there are lives a drowning it may seem The Sea would keep them all up to claim
That horrible experience has served me many good things since. My understanding has widened and I was able to develop such an antidote, serving as my means of comfort and strength whenever I’m faced with danger or difficulty, to some of my greatest phobias (fear of loss of control, fear of death or the act of dying, fear of the unknown, and so on): None of us could get out of here alive.
I watched my two-year-old son in the deep of his slumber as the boat swayed from side to side. I could hear he was even snoring to some point. He knows nothing at all to all of this. He neither understands what death is nor the stuff the adults in his life were caring about. I pondered: If he’s not worried, why should I be, too?
If your time has come it will find you wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. You shall not be able to avoid her sting. When you know your purpose in life, serving God the way He wants you to, you would have nothing left to worry about. Yes, not even death itself can scare you.
If you’re going to ask me what happiness is all about, then I’m going to give you my personal point of view on the subject matter. Happiness means different things to different people. Some people may think that material things will bring them happiness. While others believe that peace of mind is what could make them feel really happy. It has become more of a personal choice of belief and a lot of people are doing everything, working all their lives, chasing it.
But what really makes people happy? If material things, money, and earthly possessions are what can bring happiness for some people, then why would we still be hearing sad endings of the lives of these very same people we thought to have already had gotten everything they wanted. So there’s a loophole here we are going to find out in that sense, a missing link.
Not even Solomon, in all his glory, wealth, and wisdom, could make himself convinced and declare with great conviction that he was able to find true happiness in the abundance of what he got. Instead, he suggested about the vanity of all things under the sun. All the things in the world couldn’t make him really happy.
So what is happiness all about? Again, if you’re going to ask me what it is all about, you have to allow me to share or give you my personal opinion on the subject matter. The following are what can make me feel truly happy:
I FEEL HAPPY DOING WHAT I LOVE
Writing is my passion and it is what I always love doing. People may not care to read what I have written but I don’t care, it doesn’t matter. But I’m happiest when I know I was able to touch people’s lives, heal those who have been terribly hurt, and encourage personal transformation through my works.
I FEEL HAPPY BEING FREE
I’m going to be specific on this, and that’s personal freedom I’m trying to mean. Everybody needs to have freedom to varying degrees, but to have personal freedom is something else. When you’re free to do what you like and in a positive way, you’re giving yourself the gift of happiness.
I FEEL HAPPY KNOWING MY PURPOSE IN LIFE
Happiness is being where God wants you to be, no matter where it is. When you know you’re doing something for the glory of God, is where true happiness could be found.
I FEEL HAPPY BEING NOT TOO OBSESSED IN CHASING HAPPINESS
You cannot find true happiness in thinking too hard about the things that can make you happy especially to the point of focusing towards something you want to a fault and you’re not already enjoying the whole thing. Happiness is about just going about your life, knowing there are failures and victories you are going to face, and enjoying the whole ride.
I FEEL HAPPY BEING A DAD
The moment I decided to actively, passionately, and consciously participate in the life of my son (that’s when the fatherhood thing finally sinks in upon me), is when I discovered joy. I learned to take care of myself because I know I had a son who needs me now. No words could describe the happiness I felt in that very moment I held my son in my arms for the first time.
I FEEL HAPPY BEING A FAMILY MAN
I feel happy that, as a family man, I could put my family’s happiness before my own. I know that in that way, I’m ultimately having a more joy-filled life.
Waking up early one morning, after having said my morning prayer, I opened my laptop to see if I can scribble something on a blank, white Microsoft Word document sheet, and for what will come out of it. I started thinking of a topic I could come up with and to hit the keyboards which I can as well make as a blog post entry. But instead of typing for what my mind could dictate as words on a particular topic, I ended up wired to the internet and so I proceeded on updating my social media status, checking my emails, and surfing or, shall I say, googling.
I typed on as many different keywords on the search box as I can, one particular topic after another. The internet, it occurred to me, has become a very positive step or tool people could use to educate themselves. Then I came across a poem “God Give Us Men” by Josiah Gilbert Holland, which, in my humble opinion, embodies the virtues and ideals of what a real man should be and all about. The world we are living today needs more men of this caliber or quality so that we can produce more of those who can be best fathers as well. In case you don’t still read or heard of the poem, then allow me to share it here:
God Give Us Men
A time like this demands
Strong minds, great hearts, true faith, and ready hands;
Men whom the lust of office does not kill;
Men whom the spoils of office could not buy;
Men who possess opinions and a will;
Men who have honor; men who will not lie;
Men who can stand before the demagogue
And damn his treacherous flatteries without winking!
Tall men, sun-crowned, who live above the fog
In public duty, and in private thinking;
For while the rabble, with thumb-worn creeds,
Their large professions and their little deeds,
Mingle in single strife, lo! Freedom weeps,
Wrong rules the land and waiting Justice sleeps.
It was so true a say that before God gave us men, He gave parents boys. These boys are every parent’s sons he or she should be training, nurturing, and polishing to become future men of honor and praise. Here are some important pointers to help parents raise their sons to become future men of honor and praise:
HELP HIM HOW TO VALUE HARD WORK
Your son must know it directly from you that work is a gift from God. You will teach him to be proud of doing a trade. You must instill in him the importance of learning to do household chores and that work itself defines mediocrity or excellence.
HELP HIM HOW TO STAND ALONE
Parents must be their children’s generous provider of inner confidence and trust which is to start at such a very young age. Doing so could only sharpen their mental powers in discerning what is right and to stand up for what they believe is right, even when that belief is unpopular or they belong to the minority.
HELP YOUR SON TO BE SUBMISSIVE TO GOD’S COUNSEL
Helping your son to become submissive to God’s counsel is one important mandate of parenting. Yes, as a parent, you can use every opportunity to introduce God in his life.
HELP HIM HOW TO DEAL WITH TEMPTATION
The problem with temptation is that some people are trying to think it doesn’t exist. It may be just a way for these people to ignore what is real. Temptation is real. You must accept the fact that your son is not immune to the enticing power of the evils of this world.
What you can do as a parent is to make your home the very first place in which he could learn what true love is and practice or observe what it is all about. He must be seeing it in you. The love you have exemplified before him is the best antidote to what could sway him in a negative way.
HELP HIM HOW TO BE GENEROUS
Teaching your son to be generous at an early age is highly admirable. You must make your son understand that generosity is one best way to make our world a better place in which to live. He must know that when you give to someone, you help improve his life just the same as you’re improving that of your own.
Generosity is a way for some people to feel good about themselves. It may be because it can make them feeling proud having done something good. You must be your son’s model for generosity. To be generous is to be a gift to someone else, just as parents are a gift to their children and vice versa. It is a selfless act of kindness, love, and doing right.
Helping children to become adept at interacting with others should be every parent’s priority right from the very start. A child with good interpersonal skills, something he was able to acquire or having learned starting at such a very young age, has this awareness of his own thoughts and feelings much more pronounced than in children with poor interpersonal skills and knows intimately about the distinct and different feelings and thoughts of people other than his own self. Because of this special ability of the child to perceive or foresee how others must be feeling and thinking through him, he can more than regulate his words and actions with ease and grace and his sensitivity towards them would be serving him in a positive way.
On the other hand, children with poor interpersonal skills tend to be insensitive or unaware of their own feelings. This results to their having difficulty reading others and may have poor perception or knowledge at how others might be viewing them. Modifying their words or actions according to the circumstances became a difficult task for them to overcome. Here are some important tips to help children develop interpersonal skills:
TEACH YOUR CHILD HOW TO GIVE COMPLIMENTS
Encourage him or her to comment positively on others (unless when there’s nothing in that person worthy of praising). Say something nice to your child and when he return the favor by saying something good about you, too, let him know how it makes you feel happy or good. Train or help him see the bright side of everything. That is one best way for him to have a healthy disposition of life and he will have a lot to be grateful for.
MAKE GREETINGS AND GOODBYES A HABIT
When you’re practicing greetings and goodbyes for your child, you’re helping him or her prepare for introductions and departures. Your child must also be praised for a job well done. On-the-spot requests or demands should be discouraged and, instead, should be replaced with positive reinforcement which is proven to be much more effective.
HELP YOUR CHILD IN FINDING A WAY FOR HIM TO RELATE CAUSE AND EFFECT
One of the most effective and best of ways to help your child develop a theoretical understanding of cause and effect is through storytelling and reading. You as a parent should be able, to the best of your ability, to help or encourage him in the application of those lessons by citing or pointing out how his actions were causing reactions in his own life.
GUIDE HIM IN MAKING CONVERSATIONAL TRANSITIONS
It is of the utmost importance for every parent to help his or her child in understanding the necessary give-and-take of conversation and how to transition; this must be done by carefully discussing his own interests, and then to inquire about something of interest to another person. This method supports the fact that conversation is, actually, an inherently social thing.
CAPITALIZE ON HIS INTERESTS
Capitalizing on your child’s interests, whether it’s a particular hobby, game, sport, character, or skill, is one way to encourage him to become more verbal and socially adept. Make way to communicate well with him, talk to him. Talk to him about how and what you’re feeling, thinking, and you could ask him how and what he feels or thinks, too. Make conversation a way that you can penetrate right through his very core.
With the creation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child or (UNCRC) which was adopted by the UN in November 1989 and with one hundred ninety four countries showing support by signing up, the world was introduced for the first time to a powerful idea that can be used as a catalyst for change in the way human beings should be treating their children. In case you have no idea what are child rights all about or if ever this is your first time to hear on the subject as a parent, then this is your best opportunity to know what are these rights of every child many have thought didn’t exist or even ignored. The UNCRC, consisting of fifty four articles and being the first legally binding international convention to support and affirm human rights for all children and young people under the age of eighteen, should continue to become an instrument that looks after the best interests of children as well as in every decision affecting them. Hence, every child has the right to:
BE CARED FOR
In Article three it was stated that all organizations directly or indirectly concerned with children should joined hands in working together what is best for every child. Examples of these organizations are health service, schools, social welfare, and more.
Each child has the right to be registered, to have a birth certificate, that is, as explained in Article seven.
And that the families who live in different countries have the right to be together and to get to live in the same place, as expressed in Article ten.
Article nine states about the child’s right to stay in contact with both parents, in case they have decided to live apart. Also in Article nine clarifies that a child should not be separated from his or her parents unless it is for his or her own good. For instance, if a parent is hurting his or her child or not taking care of him or her.
Article nineteen says that all children should be protected from violence, neglect, abuse, and that the governments in which these children belong should be protecting them.
In Article thirty two, it says that children should not be allowed to do work that may put them at risk of danger, their health might suffer, or for reasons that prevent them from going to school.
Article thirty three: Children should be protected from dangerous drugs, and from the business of making or selling them in which they may be exploited.
Article thirty four is about the child’s right to protect his own body from anyone who tries to do anything even against his or her will and that grown-ups should be the ones to give them protection.
BE COUNTED, REPRESENTED, AND PARTICIPATED
Article seventeen: All children have the right to information from radio, television, newspaper, and the internet. These media should provide or as a rich source of information in which children could learn and understand. Article sixteen is all about the child’s right to privacy.
The right to meet and make friends with, and join clubs with other children is given emphasis in Article fifteen. While in Article thirteen, on the other hand, is all about the children’s right to find out things, and say or express what they think through writing, speaking, sketching, and other form of creative expressions unless it breaks the rights of others.
Article twelve is for the children to be able to freely give their opinion when the adults in their lives are making a decision that will directly or indirectly affect them, and these adults should be taking it seriously.
FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
Article fourteen: All children have the right to think, and in believing what they want. They have also the right to freely choose and practice their religion. Also stated in article fourteen that parents should be the ones to help their children learn what is right and what is wrong.
Children who are refugees or seeking asylum in another country have the right to special protection. They all have uniform rights as children who were born in that country (Article twenty two.)
In Article thirty, children coming from a minority group should be given the right to learn and use the language and customs of their families as well as to practice their own religion and use their own language.
EDUCATION AND PLAY
Article twenty eight is very promising as it gives emphasis on the importance of education. All children have the right to an education. Article twenty nine explains why education is important: Education should prepare children to live responsibly and peacefully in a free society.
Education should teach children to respect the natural environment. It should be something that will teach them to respect their parents, elderlies, their culture and also that of other people. The purpose of education is to develop every child’s greatest potential, be it in his or her personality, talents, and mental and physical abilities.
Article thirty one should remind as that every child has the right to relaxation, play, and to get involved or join a wide range activities.
REHABILITATION AND CARE
Take note that in Article thirty eight, it says that children under the age of sixteen years should not or prevented from taking a direct part in any dispute or conflict. Special protection and care should be given or provided to children who are affected by an armed conflict.
Article thirty nine says that all children who have or are suffering, in any way, should have a right to take shelter or get help in a safe place, to help them recover.
SURVIVAL AND DEVELOPMENT
The right to life for every child is stated in Article six. Article twenty three: Disabled children, either mentally or physically, have a right to special care and education so they could lead full and independent lives.
All children have a right to be healthy and to be provided with good quality health care. They should be provided with nutritious foods, clean water, and a clean environment so they could stay healthy (Article twenty four.)
It is the Government’s primary duty to help families who cannot afford to provide a decent standard of living for their young children. Every child should have a right to a decent standard of living (Article twenty seven.)
Love and compassion—these two desirable qualities of the human person—are something every parent who practiced them at home can pass on to his or her children. A child must learn them first from you, being his parent; from the way he hears or feels the words and expressions that carry such a wonderful feeling of empathy towards the sender, which is you. Love is a feeling inherent in everyone and it should be natural, effortless, generous, unconditional, and spontaneous.
Compassion, on the other hand, is the most valuable element of a love in action. But although love ranks the greatest, compassion serves to be an irreplaceable pair. The two are like couples especially made for each other, supporting each other, enhancing each other.
The marriage of love and compassion cannot be without a byproduct. Empathy, which is an essential quality of a civilized life, was the byproduct of such a beautiful mergence. But what, in fact, is empathy?
It is an ability of an individual to hear other people’s feelings or, on a much deeper sense, to put his own self in the shoes of people different from him. Because of empathy, the passing on of the just and humane laws became possible. Parents should consider the importance of raising empathic children; it must be their most primary personal and social concerns.
When you empathize with someone, you’re making ways to ensure that that person feels not alone. You’re making him feel the heat of your love—keep that fire burning, the warmth of your presence, that even when the two of you may differ in one way or another yet you are connected. A parent should be his child’s first source of empathy.
Parents can meditate upon the miracle of a child’s birth and growth and it would lead them to the realization of the fact about the significance on why a fetus should need to stay nine months in the mother’s womb and then the time again it will take before he or she can learn motor skills. You, as a parent, should develop sacrificial love to your children. They are not perfect, no one is, but you must be proud of them.
Parenting or child-rearing is a process by which to involve more than just hard work, effort, and self-discipline. Every parent must remember that the benefits of every effort expended would ultimately outweigh all the struggles. Becoming a good parent is a work in progress, along with the child-rearing principles put into practice and the sacrifices that were being made, that can only get better with time.
But how could a good parent becomes the best parent? It takes time, I think. I should be taking time, on my part, as a dad to a three-year–old son, for a walk in the park or a one-on-one talk and answer his questions about God’s creation. I should take time to teach him what is right and what is wrong, and to listen to what he might be saying now for tomorrow he may not wish to talk with me.
Never mind if some people, or the world as a whole, would probably never fully appreciate all of the efforts expended in good parenting. At the end of the day, in the final judgement when all will appear as God views it, all parents who have prepared their children for His kingdom would be rewarded by Him. It would be seen that when a child is brought up in the right way, he becomes more than just worth all the efforts expended.
I came across an article written by Bob Blum, who writes from College Place, Washington, United States of America. The title is “Dear Son” which is a father’s piece of advice to his twenty-five year old son, in a letter form, to help him in selecting a life companion. In the letter, the father hinted his son that a successful married life starts with selecting the right mate.
Blum was able to further convince me by providing in his article with a clear blueprint, the foundational stage, of a successful parenting as a direct result of a good married life. Blum suggested that a good parent should be a good husband or wife first. A successful parent, just like a successful marriage, is not synonymous with perfection.
There will always be problems but these problems won’t go away by running away from them or pretending they don’t exist. Even the best of parents are not immune to problems during the child-rearing years, but the heavy burdens they must be carrying can be made light by God’s power. A good parent should be a conscientious person who takes the time to become knowledgeable in parenting skills.
No family can attain happiness without struggles, effort, work and sacrifices. I know I will be messing up from time to time as a dad, too, but instead of beating myself up, accepting my shortcomings as a part of the growth process is the best thing I can do for that matter. Grateful to have stumbled upon Blum’s letter to his son, which was actually a golden piece of advice or the best of gifts every father can give to a son, I would be using exactly the same letter for my son wishing he would read twenty-two years from now to remind him of me:
You have been in my thoughts a lot recently, especially my thoughts about your seeking for a life companion. I know twenty-five seems old still to be single, but marriage is serious business. Many think marriage just happens, like death, and that you have little to do in the matter. Well, wives are not assigned by fate. They are chosen. And by careful choices the quality of marriage can be greatly improved.
It has been thirty-four years since your mom and I joined lives together. And I am still proud to have her as my wife! With all the problems life has brought and all the negative characteristics we each have contributed to the marriage, we would still do it all over again. I hope this will be your experience, too.
Here are a few observations gleaned over the years that might help you in selecting a life companion.
Marry someone who is attractive to you. Someone you are proud to have as your companion. Someone who has qualities you admire. Just make sure they are the qualities that age can improve, not diminish. Marriage is for a long, long time, and life can play havoc on superficial “beauties.”
The catch here is that your opinion on attractiveness changes over the years. What you think is important at age fifteen is often superseded by your choice at age nineteen. And what you rated as a “ten” at age nineteen would likely get a “six” or “seven” rating by age twenty-two. In fact, some of the most important values you will carry with you the rest of your life will be settled in your mid to late twenties. In other words, son, don’t rush into a relationship. You need time to understand yourself first.
True beauty increases with age. Superficial attractiveness can distract good judgement and leave you wondering (too late), “What happened?”
For now it may not seem very important to have a companion who is skilled in home duties. Your dates (I’m guessing) probably revolve around something “fun.” At present, you likely want somebody who is fun to be with, someone who can enjoy the things you enjoy. It is important to have a friend you can really enjoy. But eventually life will take a more serious turn. Laundry piles up. Dirty dishes do as well. Eating out grows old. Balancing the checkbook becomes a chore. And the yard, garage, and car really need attention. At this point “fun” takes second place to “help!”
Having a companion who can share in these domestic duties is a godsend! Your mother’s skills in this area have made much of the drudgery of life a joy. And much of married life is made up of domestic chores.
If children enter the picture, such chores are compounded many times.
Attractiveness and domestic skills go a long way toward happiness in marriage, but are not, by far, all there is. What makes life fun and interesting is not the mundane routines of life, but its surprises, its unexpected pleasures and challenges. Having a companion who can roll with the punches, who can accept change graciously, and who can adapt to the unexpected with a positive attitude is a great plus.
Life is not predictable. Accidents happen. Tragedies occur. Friends fail us. Sickness comes. These are all a part of real life. And they are something we all must learn to cope with—and conquer.
What is your friend doing to prepare for the unexpected? Does she have a savings account? a first-aid kit? a spare tire and jack in her car? Or does she seem to ignore the need for preparedness? If you have a companion who falls apart when frustrated or stressed, then you will have a heavier burden to carry during these hard times, for you will be carrying them alone.
Also observe what she does to or puts into her body when stressed, when circumstances require a clear, quick, responsive brain. Someday you or your children or your future may be dependent on that brain or that response.
Life can become an adventure with the right companion or a heavy burden with the wrong one—or being unprepared yourself.
Your marriage partner is the first to see you in the morning and the last to see you at night. She will eventually know all your failures and shortcomings, your faults and frustrations. There is little that you will be able to hide from her—nor will you want to. She should be your strong tower, your comforter, your inspiration, and your joy.
Watch how your friend acts around those she is long familiar with, such as parents, siblings, relatives, or old friends. She will likely act the same way around you once you become as familiar to her. Is she compassionate, friendly, helpful, understanding? Or does she display a short fuse with Mom, show irritation with a brother or sister, or talk down to her aunts or grandparent?
How does she treat old people, people who cannot contribute positively to society anymore? Does she ignore them or make fun of them? Or does she try to ease their pain or brighten their day? Someday you will be old, impaired, or unable to be the blessing you want to be, and how she treated all these other people may be how she will treat you. Attitudes stick with us for a long time.
Also consider what she thinks about herself. Someday you may be “one flesh” with her. I appreciate knowing that your mom is concerned for her health and well-being, as well as my own. And she intentionally creates environments to sharpen, strengthen, or equip us for real living.
Meekness—power under restraint—is a rare trait in marriages today. Many husbands and wives are wanting the power position, but without the restraints.
I hope your wife will be a woman of power—someone who can wisely override opposing forces and destroy obstacles that hinder progress; someone who can portray calmness and peace when your soul is in turmoil; someone who can touch you in a crowd and you will know it. That kind of power.
And yet your companion must be able to show restraint, to hold back when everything within her shouts to go forward.
The opposite of meekness is pride. “Look at me! I can do it myself. I don’t need your help.” Pride brought hell into heaven, and it can do the same to a marriage.
THE FINAL ANALYSIS
No one is perfect. The challenge will be to choose these qualities that will be the most important and lasting.
Selecting a mate is something we can’t do well on our own. We just can’t see everything. Taking enough time to get to know the other person is very important, and we should do the best we can to also know ourselves.
To select a mate without the guidance and blessing of God is like driving a car without gas. It goes downhill very well. You can steer, slow down, and even stop when you wish. With enough momentum you can even maneuver small hills. You may think you’re really in control. But the problems hit when there is a serious turn uphill, a real life challenge. With God’s spirit filling the gas tank, however, you can enjoy the whole ride!