Seven things our kids should remember most about us

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

priesthood
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.

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

gift-of-fatherhood
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.

Parenting is the realization of God’s work within us

christlikechild
We should be treating our children with as much kindness and respect as we treat any fellow adult in our lives.

Parenting is about who we are as a person in the first place. It is learning about our flaws, needs, growth, and potentials. It is about our concern, as parents, of our own sinful behavior and how we’re going to make it right.

The apostle Paul has this to say for parents in Colossians chapter three, verse twenty-one: “Do not stir up your children, lest they become discouraged.” Simply put, we should not sin against our children but, instead, treat them with as much kindness and respect as we treat any fellow adult in our lives.

We should be exemplifying from such a perspective that it is easier for them to see love, hope, and inspiration that would move them to action. So that when they emulate us, we’re able to allow God’s work in us through parenting.

Parenting isn’t just merely the bringing up of children to become independent and competent adults, but is something more than that. It is, for one thing, about guiding the children and to lay the foundation by which they would always desire to fully seek God as their father. A parent, therefore, should become a source from which he or she no longer is the man or woman who live in his or her own person, but Christ who lives in him or her.

We should be demonstrating to our children that God’s principle work best for us in such a way that would convince them that God’s laws are worthwhile, and that the divine principles we’re teaching them are for their own good.

God’s work must truly be our own. If we could demonstrate to our children that God’s way work for us, we’re sending them a message that they, too, could accomplish extraordinary things when they learn to cooperate with the grace of God. We must turn their hearts to their true Father in heaven—the Almighty God.

The importance of helping the child to learn who his or her parents are while the child is learning who he or she is

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Every time you interact with your child is an opportunity for you to learn who you are, who your child is, and how you could best meet his or her needs.

Whether you like it or not, as your child grows up, he or she is more than capable of engaging in the process of becoming his or her own person because of a remarkable built-in potential he or she has had since birth. His experience would enable him or her to develop the ability to store the image of his or her parents in his or her mind. He or she would continue to explore the world with a new purpose.

It is important for you to know that in his or her pursuit of something new he or she doesn’t leave the past behind. The experiences he’s or she’s had in previous stages are part of him or her forever.

You should be there to provide structure by allowing your child to express all of himself or herself and by way of teaching appropriate form of self-expression.

With the birth of your baby, it changes your life forever. You would no longer be looking after your own personal interests, but in the interest of giving your child the best foundation possible. You would be changing what needs to, like your sleeping and eating schedules as well as your other usual habits like watching television et cetera.

There are times when you try to resist these changes, but, then, as you tried to ponder on the fact about considering the degree of influence you have over your baby’s growing brain, and the short interval of the first two or three years it takes to form that brain, you made up your mind by realizing what a privilege it was to be such a positive force in your child’s life.

Upon seeing the incremental growth in your infant, each passing day, you would know that all your efforts were worth any temporary loss of sleep or other changes in your life. You would learn, eventually, that what helps shape the neurological connections of infants who are later seen as smart, capable, and competent, are the environmental engineering as well as the direct input from the parents.

The choices of routines you’re going to establish with your baby from day one, and the effect of these routines on your baby’s future is of the utmost importance. You could give your child as much a variety of stimulating experiences as you want.

Unlike most teachers who learn their craft through training and experience, a new parent with a firstborn child has the benefit of neither. You would need no training manual. But you must learn what you could from the experience itself.

Every time you interact with your child is an opportunity for you to learn who you are, who your child is, and how you could best meet his or her needs. And as your child gets older, you would learn through trial and error when to press a point, when to express a personal opinion, and when to let your child come to his or her  own conclusions and learn from his or her own mistakes.

Finding authentic love and communion through fatherhood

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Nathaniel was only six months old when this picture was taken.

It must be learned from the Heavenly Father. God is the Father who takes care of His children. He watches over and guards all of His creation. God has mastered the art of parenting.

He is the Father of the fatherless, to quote from the Book of Psalm chapter sixty-eight, verse five, and defender of widows. God cares so much for His children, so that when everything seemed to go wrong for the human race because of sin, He sent His only begotten Son to save them (John chapter three, verse, sixteen). God so much loved the blemished human beings that He wanted them cleansed through the blood of His Son, Jesus.

God created man in His own image and likeness. Man was called into existence through love and for love. It’s a vocation, a calling inscribed in the humanity of man and wife by God, and so the capacity and responsibility, of love and communion. To love, therefore, is to exercise or express such a fundamental and innate vocation of every human being.

Man couldn’t live without love as each person is called to make such a fundamental commitment—to love. The husband’s love to his wife should be without measure, except that it is truly just a gift of self; just the full, free gift of one’s being. This love that the Almighty Father and the Son give and receive is the Holy Spirit, who could be called their gift, their bond, even their communion.

The Holy Spirit, though, is not being exchanged between the Father and the Son. It’s not that the Holy Spirit has become something that’s traded, calculated, or measured—it’s not something like that. But like the Father and the Son, he, too, is holy, infinite, immense, and eternal.

Man and wife, called to live in a communion of love, were created by God to unite them as one in their common humanity. Their union in love should mirror in the world the communion of love that is in God.

A connection between human experience and the design of the Creator for human action must be fully established. To understand love is to understand the Creator’s design for his created order through an experience that everyone shares. To experience love is to experience fully the laws of nature.

All created things are connected. In the case with humans, the circumstances of their birth reflect that of the mechanics of the universe. And there’s such a great yearning for every human being for connection. A man, therefore, would find his understanding deepened when he is drawn, by imagination and observation, to patterns of interaction and connection.

He (a man) must become sensitive to the energy flow between different forms of life—the interactive energy between different things that helps define and shape each element—and the interaction that includes them both in the experience of dynamic connectedness and unity of all things.

This relational perspective should help shape man’s personal view of parenting as a dynamic relationship of a father and son’s love for one another, the husband and wife’s love for one another, the Church and Christ’s love for one another, and for everyone’s love for one another, where there’s perfect unity in difference, and one which is infinitely fruitful.

Fatherhood is such that makes every man become a living witness to the Creator’s design for marriage and family—in what was a union in love and mutual self-donation in welcoming new life as a fruit and sign of love for one another—every single day of his life. He must encounter love, experience and make it his own, and to participate intimately in it.

Eight simple ways to renew your marriage

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This picture was taken when me and my wife were just dating several years ago.

When a man marries a woman, he commits himself to a process by which he would as well be sharing it with his wife. They would never continue to be the same man and woman but would grow and modify themselves into the best that they could be, discovering new ideas as well as to develop new gifts. The couple should come to embrace each other’s differences and similarities, that is, by way of honoring their differences and in the appreciation of similarities.

Marriage is the very foundation by which families are being built. A strong marriage produces healthy families that produce well-mannered and productive children. It’s sad to hear about some broken marriages resulting to broken families. But some things are not meant to be and God alone knows why.

There are ways in which you could revive or refresh your dying relationship with your spouse. As a couple, both of you are more than capable in creating a new reality for your own selves and in your marriage. All that’s needed is for each one of you to have that energy, imagination, and dedication to renew your vow, but you may as well try these:

BE AN ACTIVE LISTENER

It’s always a wise move to understand what your partner is saying and feeling. When your partner has a concern to express, entertain what such a concern is all about by discussing it with her and to offer what best you could do about it.

When you’re listening to your partner, whatever his or her concern, you’re giving your partner your undivided attention. Never interrupt with him or her, stop being judgmental, don’t respond defensively, and try listening with new ears. When you have these qualities, even what your partner isn’t saying you could also hear.

HAVE A GOOD SENSE OF HUMOR

Laughter, as we all know, is the best medicine. When someone is laughing, his or her mood changes immediately. Laughter is one best way to take away the gloom out of a person by raising the spirits, quelling fear, and stopping the tears of sorrow.

You don’t even have to become a stand-up comic to bring laughter into the relationship. But as long as you’re helping each other to see the comedic in everyday living and to be amused by life’s many foibles, then that’s it. Laughter, with its ability to mitigate pain, acts as a buffer against hard, trying times.

CREATE SOME PERSONAL SPACE FOR SELF-RENEWAL

Take a break. Life could be too busy so that it leaves you physically exhausted, emotionally irritable, and spiritually depleted. Try spending at least twenty minutes of your precious time each day to recharge your battery.

Spend it praying, reflecting, meditating, reading the Bible, and simply just to be alone and quiet. It is during these silent moments that you’re searching your heart out for what could rejuvenate it. Once you’re able to find that peace within you is when you become more responsive and focused on your partner.

SOLVE PROBLEMS TOGETHER

Usually, when there’s an emerging crisis in marriage, couples are pulling apart instead of pulling together. Take such a trying time as an opportunity for you to empower your relationship by introducing ideas and developing solutions that strengthen the marriage.

Remember the old adage that says: “United we stand, divided we fall.”  There’s strength in unity and togetherness. As long as couples solve problems as a team, they would make it through.

MAKE ROOM FOR EMPATHY

It is best to try putting yourself in your partner’s place. Try to understand your partner like, for example, when she’s not feeling well, don’t respond harshly.

When your partner is edgy or irritable, don’t pass judgment quickly but be more tolerant. Later, as you try to gain insight into your partner’s mood, you would be thanking yourself for not acting harshly which could have ended up to a dispute.

KEEP LOVING

The most challenging part is how to keep the love alive when you’re ignored, pushed aside, held back, rejected, and hurt. It could be done through persistent effort. Don’t stop loving.

Remember that the heart keeps beating even in the damaged body. It has to be the same with how we should love. We should never be losing faith in love despite all of life’s disappointments.

THINK POSITIVELY

Whenever you had a fight or a disagreement with your partner, instead of getting angry or hating your partner, try thinking of all the things that you loved about him or her. That’s called the “right attitude.” There are no perfect relationships and that quarrels or disagreements happen.

It has a lot to do about how to deal with such a situation though. It’s all up to you and you have to decide whether you would allow such a thing to destroy your relationship or not. Thinking positively would place your relationship in the right track.

DO A LOT OF THINGS TOGETHER

You’re a couple so you’re supposed to do a lot of things together. Have fun together regularly. Solve problems together. Cry together. Laugh together.

Engage in fun activities together. Walk together in the park. Run together. Watch a sporting event together. Attend a concert together. Go to church together. There are a lot of things in which a couple could do together. It would make bond stronger each time.