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.

A personal insight into the dynamics of fatherhood

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FATHER AND SON. Nathaniel was only a little less a year old in this picture.

The family is considered as the basic unit of society from which the foundation of the nation is structured. There should be laws acknowledging the father and mother to jointly exercise parental authority over their legitimate children who are not emancipated. Every parent should know that parental authority is both a right and duty.

Such an authority should be natural and essential for the governance of the family. It should be natural in a way that is flowing from the responsibility of procreation and education of the offspring. It should as well be essential in such a way that no family goals are attainable without it.

Child rearing is the process by which parents prepare their children for adult social life. Children should be raised to honor and respect their parents. Every parent should know that there’s no such thing as perfect parenting and that child rearing should be individualized depending upon the nature of the child.

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There’s no child reared without some problems, so that the notion of a “problem child” should be a falsity. Children with problems are what every parent should be figuring out to fix, instead. Both parents should be playing active roles in child rearing.

Fatherhood, for instance, is a lifetime responsibility, so that once you become a dad you don’t stop from being one. A dad should not be rearing a child so that he or she may continue to be a child but, rather, he should be raising sons or daughters in such a way that they would be able to properly take their place in the adult world.

When my wife was pregnant for the first time with our son Nathaniel, she experienced a lot of physical changes in her body. There’s this morning sickness during the first few weeks of her pregnancy she had to endure, increased appetite, sleepiness, and many more. She even gained weight.

I knew then that life would never be the same again between us with the coming of our first baby, but we had to face the music by making some adjustments. A well-balanced diet, exercise, and rest are vital to her having a healthy pregnancy. I knew, too, that, as a couple, we have to be ready to embrace the new role and status as mom and dad from being just husband and wife.

Nathaniel’s birth has given me a greater feeling of satisfaction and joy. I came to love my wife even more; our bond of love was strengthened by our common interest and responsibility toward our child. For me, fatherhood has become one of the most maturing of experiences. There’s so much of a depth of emotions involved in it as well as that of a powerful train association.

While this may be the case with me, I knew that it won’t always be the same with other dads out there. The dramatic changes to occur with the arrival of a couple’s first child may result to marital conflicts to some. It could also be a source of depression, confusion, impatience, and suicidal instinct, to many, for one reason or another.

To become a dad is never easy. But what’s making the transition to fatherhood even more difficult is the lack of preparation or, if there’s any, it was too little for such a very important, life-changing role. Another one is drastic change of role from non-parent to parent. It should be gradual, allowing the subject a period of slowly increasing responsibility.

Becoming a dad is to assume greater responsibility in the character building of the child as he grows up. His words should carry more weight than that of his wife since he is considered as the pillar of the family. The father is the commander-in-chief, so that he should be seen, more effectively, keeping his constituents under control.

A dad should be getting more involved in child rearing and one who should be showing unconditional love to his wife and children. Fatherhood, for him, should be the taking care of the child not only that he or she may survive physically, but that for his child to find a place for himself or herself in the community of persons. He should know that each of his children has a right to a fruitful and happy life in accordance with his or her human dignity.

Parenting should be a joyful experience

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Me and my son Nathaniel. This picture was taken two years ago.

Can you have fun being a parent? The answer may not be what you would like to hear, but this is what I’m going to say being a parent myself: I’m having fun being a parent.

Of course, parenting is hard and raising kids could drain you both in the emotional and intellectual aspects of it. As a parent, you’ll have to meet your children’s needs, whether you like it or not, and they could be so demanding. Parenting begins while your child was still in the womb.

I’m a realist, but I’m also an idealist at the same time. I agree on the fact that parenting, to some degree, could lower the emotional well-being of a person. I also agree that for one to become a parent, he has to master the art of maintaining a household despite all the hustles and bustles it has to bring.

When I became a dad for the first time, I honestly felt like I’m being caught in a trap of mixed emotions. I felt nervous, anxious, and yet joyful. How would I be like raising a child? I have heard it many times from other parents that it’s not going to be easy.

It’s been almost four years ago today since I became a dad. And now I discovered why fatherhood or parenthood is such a very beautiful experience anyone could have or go through.  The point is not about having it easy or playing it safe. Sure, you could spare yourself from all the hardships raising kids may bring, but you’re going to also miss out on some of life’s greatest joys.

So when I hear people say that parents are miserable beings, I could only smile. They had no idea how parenthood could be such a rich source of joy, deep meaning, and purpose for every person. It could put anyone to be in touch with a whole other sensitivity which is nothing but good. It makes one feel more than he has ever felt. He feels the vulnerability of what he’s gotten into, but at the same time he would not be trading it for anything.

Why you should be proud being a parent

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PROUD FATHER. Celebrating fatherhood with comfort foods and a beer.

While biology is what will determine whether a person can be a mom or a dad, the society, on the other hand, may play a very important role in dictating how one should be acting accordingly as a father, papa, dad, mom, or mama. Nevertheless, it is God alone who can make a parent truly a parent; he or she should be someone who can reflect God in himself.

Parenthood is not about assuming the easy task. It is about taking charge for what’s considered as one of the most important jobs in the world. Becoming a parent is to willingly accept such a heavy role of giving, guiding, providing, and sacrificing everything in order for the family to grow and flourish.

A parent is someone who can make mistakes, failed at times, and knows how to nurse some wounds. But, most importantly, he or she could rise from a fall, correct mistakes, and heals his or her own self and that of other people as well. There are, of course, lots of stumbling blocks along the way and many a storm to weather at on a daily basis.

But the rewards are great. Parenthood is all about experiencing the joy and pride of being chosen as one of God’s stewards for His earthly families. You couldn’t be more thankful than being given the opportunity of becoming one.

Watching your children grow from infancy to childhood and then to adolescence is, indeed, a truly fascinating experience. Parents have to face the challenges, play different roles, so that parenting becomes more of a puzzling yet rewarding journey. You’d surely be filled with joy and satisfaction to see your children grow up and ready for the challenges of life.

Raising kids is a way for you to learn to understand and appreciate more of God’s love for you. It is through such a wonderful process that you’re taught to become humble, tactful, considerate, and teachable. Such a role should further make you become a loving, faithful, trustworthy friend, and man to your dear wife.

New year, new hope, new beginning

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I’m seeing the year 2016 as a time and place where hope could rise.

What does 2016 have in store for all of us? Some people might be viewing it as more of the same while others see it to be something much worse. Will there be more natural calamities in 2016 than the previous year?

Will there be lasting peace, prosperity, and harmony among people regardless of age, race, or creed? Will a meteorite from outer space strike the earth and finally destroy it? Will there be more fear, uncertainty, war, destruction, and confusion?

These are but just few of the many questions we could ask for what 2016 can bring for all of us. Of course, while horrible things could happen to people, even the good ones, I’d always love to see the bright side of everything. On this first day for the rest of 2016, I’d like to echo to all of you what I’m taking to heart about the lyrics of the song that goes, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.”

This year will also mark my fourth year of fatherhood. How time flies by so fast and my toddler would be turning four this coming August. Parenting has taught me a lot while, at the same time, knowing I have a ton of things to contribute to my son that makes life important, healthy, and enriched. Alongside many good things which have happened in my life in the last three years are some which are anything but good.

There are, of course, hurdles encountered along the way but their presence only served to motivate me towards becoming a better person, moving towards a better place. Yes, in a place where love is a great force to reckon with in transcending selfishness and where faith in myself could bulldoze the “what ifs.” It is a place where peace could enfold the heart like a warm blanket and where joy is taking on as many faces as humanity.

And just like an unstoppable wave of light that pours over the horizon, I’m seeing the year 2016 as a time and place where hope could rise. It’s going to be a new year, new hope, new beginning. Happy New Year to one and all.

Three years and counting: Fatherhood amid the spilled milk of everyday family life

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Nathaniel was admitted to the hospital for the first time in this picture.

As the year 2015 is closing in two days, it’s also the best time to recall the happenings of the entire year which are now stored as memories in the memory bank of everyone’s mind. The good memories would be forever cherished and missed, while the bad ones most people would try their best to forget. The following are my fair share of some of the good, the bad, and the ugly happenings of my life in the past three years:

August 12, 2012

Nathaniel, my firstborn son, was born. I have waited outside the labor room area for almost twenty-four hours, tired, hungry, and sleepless. I was so worried and nervous at that time about what causing all the delay for my wife to deliver a birth that I lost my appetite. But the joy upon seeing my son for the first time is priceless and that it’s all worth the sacrifices I’ve made and been through.

January 01, 2015

Nathaniel was hospitalized for the first time due to seizure caused by a high fever: the time was 5:45 in the morning. It was so sudden and quick it didn’t even cross my mind about him to suffer from it because a few hours before he was very jolly and alive watching the fireworks exploded in the night sky welcoming the New Year. He stayed for three days in the hospital and he recovered soon after.

July 20, 2015

Nathaniel was hospitalized again due to seizure caused by a high fever. This was the second time my son was admitted to the hospital. Like the first time he was hospitalized, it was so sudden and quick and there was no sign it would lead up seriously to that.

December 30, 2012

Nathaniel’s christening. He was finally a Christian from that time on. I thanked the Lord Almighty for that and asked Him to guide my son all the way.

August 12, 2013

Nathaniel turned one. It was a joyful moment and my son was obviously enjoying the party. It was held in Jollibee, a popular Filipino fast food restaurant.

Sometime in June 2014

My laptop malfunctioned. Later I found out my Email address was hacked and I can’t access some of my accounts online anymore. Trying hard to recover the lost accounts but to no avail. I’m losing clients as a result. Contemplating on starting over again from scratch and it must be soon.

If I’m going to list down one by one about the happenings my life has been through in the past three years, it would take a book for all of you to read. But this post has been cut short to take note only some of the most important of events, not that other events are less significant, so you would still have a lot of time to spend for other things considering that the New Year is only two days away, which usually keeps people busier than in any other days of the year. As you can see, 2015 was a not-so-friendly year for me but I cannot turn back the clock and try to prevent the ugly things from happening; I must live with it without losing enthusiasm and faith in myself.

The past three years handed me the experiences I would surely need along the way, especially in the fatherhood and parenting aspects of them. I was taught a lot in as much as I had this great need to teach my own son. And one thing it has taught me about was that one of the best ways to grow closer with my son is to accept my failure, if ever I fail, as a parent.

Fatherhood is like a mushroom sprouting off the stony ground

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It’s an act of self-discovery…the mushroom is letting me take a glimpse of such a pattern lying beneath the surface of my awareness.

When I became a dad for the first time a little over three years ago, my idea of fatherhood was based upon the definitions of other people. But that has changed gradually over time as I came to embrace a new thought about it. I had this feeling about fatherhood as something I need to fully understand the dynamics of what actually parenting is all about.

It should be something that allows me to see what’s happening beneath the surface. I had to understand the pattern as I believed it has a pattern to follow in the first place. Until one morning, I saw a mushroom sprouting off the stony ground.

Looking closely at the mushroom, I saw a picture of this tiny plant in three dimensions. I can think of how it came to exist and the purpose it may be serving. I can think of all the created things whose patterns are reflected in me and in all of life.

Fatherhood is like a mushroom by which there is a pattern explaining what is and also suggesting what causes it to grow and change, and proposes what can be done about it. It’s an act of self-discovery, but also to involve speculating or wondering what’s going to happen next sometimes. The mushroom is letting me take a glimpse of such a pattern lying beneath the surface of my awareness and to strongly influence how I would think and feel about my spouse and my child.

It’s about understanding the subtleties and complexities of living organic processes and the nature of things. It is about uncovering patterns or pieces of patterns that advance our understanding of everything, from the way a mushroom fully blooms overnight to the way stars give birth to galaxies. Because to uncover the pattern in the natural world is to get insight into what is true and as a learning platform needed for the next discovery.

How to raise emotionally healthy kids

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One of Nathaniel’s best of poses.

If you’re one of those parents who wonder what more they can do to protect their children from others and from their own selves, then relax as everything is going to be just fine. There’s no such thing as a perfect parenting and all you can do is learn from your mistakes and to come out with a better version of yourself next time around. You will make a lot of mistakes and you’re going to fail, at times, as well but you have to regroup and continue what you are best at.

As a parent, you had this strong desire of wanting to make sure that your child gets his emotions across and that you’re going to hear, validate, and value him as a child. You feel like you have to re-evaluate your life and to get rid of some things in your life so you have more time for your kids. I hope the following tips on how to raise emotionally healthy kids can help:

SPEND TIME WITH YOUR CHILDREN AS MUCH AS YOU CAN

Make your child feel how important they are to you by spending quality time with them. There is nothing that will nurture a relationship like togetherness.

EXPRESS YOUR AFFECTION OFTEN

Saying the words “I love you” every single day is not enough. You have to express it in action as well. Expressing your affection could mean a lot of things in a lot of ways. A simple way of caring is one of them.

HEAR WHAT YOUR CHILD IS SAYING AS WELL AS WHAT HE’S NOT SAYING

Encourage him to express his thoughts, emotions, and ideas. As a parent, you should be the very first person to know what’s going on inside your child and you should have the best knowledge of and about him.

BE INVOLVED IN YOUR CHILD’S LIFE

Invest a huge chunk of your time getting to know your child and to know what he’s doing and who his friends are. Make your child’s basketball games and other activities, for example, a family affair.

BE A GUIDING LIGHT

Your child needs guidance and he needs to experience life to learn from it. If you as a parent failed to set boundaries for your child he will grow up with little regard for the law and others. A child who is protected from disappointment will grow into adults who can’t handle life.

It is your duty to help your son or daughter to think through his or her actions and to experience, within reason, the consequences of his or her actions. When the behavior requires discipline, then you have to make sure the punishment is appropriate to the action.

HELP DEVELOP YOUR CHILD’S SELF-WORTH

More often than not, parents tend to focus on mistakes their kids are making. It’s easy to notice what they do and comment on that all day long. While it is acceptable to point out mistakes and misbehaviors, if that’s the majority of what a child is hearing from you, he will grow up thinking there’s not much right with them.

Parents should help their own children to build on strengths instead of putting emphasis on their weaknesses. It can be done by looking for what parts your child is doing well and comment on that as well.

HONOR YOUR MARRIAGE AND YOUR SPOUSE

A strong marriage is vital to producing happy children. Both you and your spouse should be working on your marriage together relentlessly. Try to keep it playful and fun also.

HELP YOUR CHILD DEVELOP HIS HABIT OF HAPPINESS

If you’re the kind of parent who had a positive outlook of life, then you’re helping to pass that along to your child. Responding positively when your child is enthusiastic about something is also one of the ways to do it. You have to encourage your child to talk about the good things in his life.

It is good to remember that happiness is a feel-good emotion strongly tied to self-esteem. When you’re feeling good about yourself, it generates from the sense that you are doing the right thing and making good decisions.

HELP PROMOTE OR BUILD FAMILY TRADITIONS

There should be time for a family to worship together. The connection to God helps to connect families. Set at least a day each week as family day. Celebrate birthdays, holidays, and other important events involving your children and spouse. Celebrations are equally valuable and as a means to unite the family.

THE VALUE OF FAMILY MEALS

Make the most of your family mealtime talking about interesting topics like, for example, your plans for the day. Encourage each member of the family to share. You should be doing that in order to keep in touch with what your kids are doing, what they dream about, who their best friends are, what their favorite subject in school is, and so on and so forth.

Knowing your kids in this way is vital to their well-being. Some studies suggest that a lack of connection in families can help to perpetuate some of the teen violence. But the key to raising emotionally healthy children is in making sure that your kids are first and foremost in your life and for them to know and feel they are.

Reflections of a father

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Sharing a precious moment with my then two-year-old son in this painting-inspired photo.

To become conscious is to undergo a never ending process of self-awareness. It gradually takes place, though, in the way you learn to observe your own actions. You learn to make distinctions between your behavior and the results you so desire.

This kind of awareness becomes the tool that allows you to take notice of the discrepancies directly or indirectly taking you into account. You will become the more of the self-reflective kind of person. To change the way you react to other people, according to you, should base from the information and insight you’re being fed up with.

You learn to discover that, as a way to react better to such a rising need, becoming less-absorbed and less preoccupied with fears are the main ingredients. You feel like you’re chasing after such a strong desire for you to change, from the inside out, which opens your door to a more conscious way of how you can relate to and with others. But then, deep inside, you were able to take into consideration about the realization of a fact that information alone is not enough to transform you into the conscious person you want to see in yourself.

You begin to realize that life, indeed, is short. Everything is temporary and permanent, at the same time. What is going to come has already been happening a long time ago. What you’re experiencing in your life today someone else is going to experience the same in the future.

It’s like a cycle, all that you’re going to experience constitutes to what is both defined as beauty and temporariness. In that sense, one of the most beautiful things you can experience is to evolve. You will know that you are still on your way to discover something new about you.

It dawns upon you, as you went to reflect on your son’s childhood, that his childhood is no different than the one you had although it has to be different in many a way. But overall, it’s the same transformational process a person must undergo before everyone’s eyes and to remind them that time is, indeed, precious. You can only reflect on how your own father felt the same way about you as you took your journey to manhood.

You will be keeping in mind, too, just like what your own father may have done, that such a beautiful time, when you’re at the center of your son’s universe, won’t be forever. But you can only reminisce the time you were given such an awesome privilege and responsibility of raising children. There’s no way you can fail, if you’re a conscious parent, to appreciate such an opportunity offered before you.

This matter of natural hierarches and leadership

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Hierarchies are a natural occurrence in the basic social structures like family, schools, and teams.

The moment your son is able to identify the persons he considered important in his life, interactions of groups and the formation of social hierarchies will be slowly comprehended and stored into his young mind for further processing and interpretation. One best way to accept and understand hierarchies, from a parental perspective, is to recognize their natural occurrence through basic social structures like family, schools, and teams. The child’s relationship to his parent is crucial to the development of such a kind of awareness that requires the child to totally submit to parental authority.

Which does not mean a parental dictatorship should be established also, depriving your child the freedom he deserves to enjoy, and leaving no room for him to make his own decisions and personal choices matter. But it is, rather, all about making your son recognize the fact that you have the final say in important matters, being the commander-in-chief of the family, and the one to make decisions regarding his well-being. Still, your child has every right to complain and explain whatever it is he thinks can be good or bad for him and you have to deal with that kind of thing like a true diplomat.

Once a parental authority is weakened or lost, it is difficult to gain it back. That’s why it is important to take every little opportunity seriously that contributes to the establishment of natural hierarchies. By simply allowing your child to have too much power to call the shots, you’re on your way to getting ignored or even ousted.

A child has the tendency, when you let him, to push boundaries further and further and it will take longer a time for you to bring his reasonable behavior back. As your child comes to like what his newly acquired power or control can do for him, he then experiments to try leveraging such a power for power’s sake. The outcome is easy to predict, learning from history in the politics of nations can also be true in how the family can function as a political unit, social chaos takes over when every interaction is marked by manipulation.

The importance of having a strong leadership in the family should not be taken lightly. Of course, it does not always mean, for a father trying to establish an authority figure, implementing strict rules, rigidity, and punishment. Leadership can be defined in many ways but, as a father who governs a family, it is about how you treat your own sons and daughters including your wife and the way you solve problems together.

It is about clearly supporting and articulating, through your words and actions, the values of the family. You have to consistently make your constituents feel your love and compassion. Most importantly, a good father and as a leader is one who has a positive attitude and conveys his belief in his sons and daughters without pressuring them.