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.

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Understanding one of our most noble of jobs as parents

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Nathaniel is trying to put the boxing glove on in this picture.

Last night, I came across a beautiful quote on the way parents should raise their children from L.R. Knost which said: “It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.”

Most of us want to see our little ones learn how to endure and that’s not a bad thing. But while it is realistic to say that we have to equip our children with the tools needed to prepare them for all of life’s crap, we should not also forget that the main thing we should have instilled in their persons and in their minds is for them to find a way to stay awesome, to be always hopeful and positive, and to be messengers of love and compassion.

Children’s hearts are very delicate organs. Life experiences could twist them into curious shapes. When a child is exposed to a harsh, cruel beginning, it will serve him wounds that may fester and swell as he goes throughout life. When left unresolved or untreated, this emotional baggage he has had acquired through bad experiences will become a burden he could impose upon anyone to carry.

We should not force ourselves to raise the grown-ups they’re going to be in our children when they’re still in the process of learning everything yet. Instead, we should raise our kids as they are by letting them be. Life may be terrible so that we had this great feeling of raising them with the tools to get through all of it, but whether we like it or not they will come to experience such a thing.

Life may be hard. We should, therefore, stop acting like someone who makes it harder for them. Our children will come to see themselves through our eyes. It is important that we radiate back positivism and hopefulness. Great parenting starts not merely in the way a child behaves but from the way parents do.

Four insightful approaches to help your child become the best that he could be

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Nathaniel took time to pose for the camera as he and his cousin Yana enjoyed riding a toy car inside the mall.

In raising kids, it is important for parents to know what to do to become a good parent. They must be good role models in the first place, of course. Aside from unconditional love and complete nourishment they can give to them, children also need sufficient attention and stimulation which is to start from the day of conception and onward.

The parents are responsible for everything that contributes to the development and growth of their children. What it is they can do and provide for them, it must be their best. There’s no settling for anything less in here. After all, it’s your children’s overall well-being that’s at stake.

But there are times, for some parents, when what they think was the best they can do for their kids is actually not good enough. And as children begin to encounter people outside the family, the situation may even become worse especially if the people that they were mingling with are the wrong ones. How are you going to remedy all of that as a parent and bring your children back into the fold?

Let me remind everyone that parenting is about the responsibility of teaching children and to equip them with everything they need to have to grow into the best adults that they can be. It involves a lot of nurturing to be done on your part as you come to find ways channeling their natural energy and curiosity into positive, useful, productive, motivated, and desirable learning experiences. These are just what a good parent does and, he probably might yet be asking the good Lord at some point of his life, still not enough?

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Nathaniel and Yana could be seen enjoying the carousel ride so much.

The point is not why parents fail at parenting despite doing what they think is the right thing to be done. But failure to accept a failure is one such of a thing. Most parents fail to recognize the fact that failure, as well as making mistakes, are a natural part of the process of life, growth, and learning.

One of the main objectives of this writing is to help parents encourage their kids to freely enjoy doing their personal best instead of being the best of everything. You are going to build their confidence by simply beginning to show interest in affirming their individual worth as a person without making comparisons between them and others. You have to parent your children in such a way that you’re learning to lean towards them than away from them. Conscious parenting, if I may call it.

Approach # 1

KNOWING THE DIFFERENCES, SEEING WHAT CONNECTS

You may find it a little easy to understand about the phrase “knowing the differences, seeing what connects” is often misunderstood in a lot of ways by most people. One thing is common though, senses are involved in here. This is the basics of parenting and you can’t be a good a parent without using this insightful approach in the first place.

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My three-year-old was all smiles as he rode the wooden horse in a carousel ride.

If you’re going to paraphrase it, it conveys a very powerful message: What’s making you different from one another is why you are connected together in many ways. Connection is the way how all things in creation are programmed to do and you can’t do something about it. But as a parent, your connection to your sons and daughters is simply unquestionable and perhaps one of the keys to unlock the door of successful parenting.

People may differ a lot from other people but they all share the same need for love, respect, encouragement, mercy, compassion, hope, and many more. Each person is unique and to further support about such a fact, no identical twins are truly alike. Twins don’t share the same fingerprints and even their irises differ in some ways.

Each child is designed to feel such a strong sense of desire for connection as he continues to undergo the different stages of growth and development. Failure for your child to evolve successfully through these stages of development could pose a major problem he will encounter in his adulthood. Conscious parenting is to simply meet your child’s needs as he tries to venture through each of these developmental stages.

This can be possible if you’re eager to walk the extra mile that leads you to develop a sense of awareness about the unique needs of your sons and daughters. You are tasked to participate in your child’s point of view, whatever that is, and to turn it into something he can draw a lot of strength from as he connects back to you.

In overcoming failures, you must say to your child that failure is a natural thing. No one goes throughout life unscathed. Each person, at some point of his life, is nursing his own deficiency and defeat. As long as there are parents who are willing to meet their children’s need and to honor and value each one of them as a separate person, is why these children have already thrived.

Approach # 2

KNOW THAT FAILURES ARE ONLY TEMPORARY

People who were able to overcome obstacles and difficulties of life have one thing in common: Inspiration. It might be a goal, a person, or an advocacy. It was very unlikely for anyone to possess such a kind of courage, determination, and perseverance in surviving an ordeal without having something or someone he can draw a lot of strength from. He probably may have failed so many times already, but the fact that he keeps going yet is truly amazing.

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Displaying one of his wackiest of faces.

Parents like you, and anyone else, are not perfect. If someone claims he is then he was absolutely lying because, in the world that we’re living in, there’s no such thing as perfection. Everything is all about taking the chance to either improve or deteriorate.

You should be the first person in your child’s life to successfully convince him that failures are only temporary. You should instill a sense of optimism in his young mind. But how can you teach him about such a thing?

Optimism is something you will not get instantly and infuse into your system so things could go as smoothly as you have wished. It has to be learned and earned through proper practice. Your children must know that failure is real and that it is not something to cause such a so much worry. People learn from their mistakes and every failure is an opportunity to improve.

It is your duty as a parent to take delight in your child’s high performances but avoid criticism when he otherwise performed them poorly. Instead of criticizing, engage him in an intentional dialogue that aims to preserve his own sense of worth. Bear in mind that every time you walk that extra mile for the best interests of your kids, you are doing it all right and well as a parent. Be proactive, intentional, and dynamic in your approach.

Of course, it has to start from you. You cannot convince your kids to listen to your advices if your attitude is, in itself, questionable in the first place. You’re the role model, in case you forgot. You had to set a good example through you that would remind your sons and daughters anywhere they go and wherever life may take them that optimism is a tool that enables anyone to overcome failures.

Approach # 3

ENCOURAGE AND SUPPORT THEIR SENSE OF SECURITY

One of the best ways to keep children motivated is through the encouragement their parents are fueling out of their young, curious minds. Young children, and most particularly toddlers, are naturally curious or inquisitive. They are very eager to know everything that catches their attention.

As your child goes to explore the things around him, make sure you’re there at his side to accommodate his questioning. And he will have a lot you need to give the right answers or explanations for. Giving him the opportunity to inquire and explore and you’re there serving to encourage his questioning, he will continue to observe and wonder, and connects to you in a stronger way possible throughout life.

But it’s not always about your child asking you tons of questions you need to provide with answers, you as well have a duty to fulfill by asking him questions. You have to consciously interact through him in a positive way. By asking him simple questions about the ordinary things of everyday life, you’re on your way to discovering what he’s really thinking about. His current level of reasoning will give you a clue about the machinery of his consciousness.

Give your child enough space and time to explore the things around him but see to it that, while you’re giving him the green light, you’re there ready to support, protect, and guide. Exploration can also make your child to blindly take the wrong, dangerous turns if you’re not careful enough.

Conscious parenting is allowing your child to experience new things in such a way that you’re also connecting with him as he learns to express his unique self through the relationship both of you were establishing. If you’re helping your sons and daughters, in your own little but honest way, to develop the basic skills of asking questions, investigate, and draw conclusive truths, this interaction and connection happening between you and them, it makes sense to think you are the conscious parent your children deserve to have.

Approach # 4

BUILD THE RIGHT RELATIONSHIPS

A few days ago, I came across a quote by which I forgot the name of its author. The quote says that love is not about energy or an abstract ideal but the quality of a right relationship. Do you agree with it?

I can agree with the message the quote is trying to convey. But love, which is about building a relationship with the person other than your own self, can also be considered energy as well as an abstract ideal. You may or may not be aware of it, all things in creation builds relationships with each other. It was made possible through connections and interactions. That’s how things must function in default.

Husbands and wives enjoy the privilege of having the convenience of a long-term commitment. It is through such a bonding and interaction that they feel healed for whatever wounds each of them must be carrying from the past. Think for a moment how you can relate it well, in your experience as a parent, with the way you’re building your relationship with your children.

As a parent, one of the most important things you can do is to support your child’s eagerness to learn how to learn. Motivate him to learn to explore new things but also keep the learning process emotionally safety. And when all has been tried and done and things don’t work out in your favor, a good, determined, and conscious parent knows what to do to increase the chance of success next time.

The not so seriously taken Ten Commandments of parenting

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My son Nathaniel was only six months old in this picture.

It has been said that a passion for parenting is an indispensable complement to informed and smart family leadership. As a dedicated parent, I’m sure you may have already been engaged passionately with your own brand of child rearing just so you could see your son or daughter reach his or her potential as a social being by learning from your own experience and from what the experts in the field may have to say or suggest. Yes, families are dynamic systems that may differ in one way or another and in a lot of ways, but there are core commitments that should define how effective the family has become.

When your son, for example, reaches boyhood, one of the most important of things to consider is that you, as a parent, are ensuring how socially and emotionally healthy man he has become. In other words, you’ve got to transform the course of your son’s boyhood in the most productive and positive way possible.

But the big question mark is “How?” Well, there’s no surefire formula towards achieving it but whatever you had which you think is best could be all worth a try. The following are the not so seriously taken Ten Commandments of parenting which could help parents to help their son or daughter build the expressive and social skills that would make him or her become a happy and successful adult:

YOU’VE GOT TO BE SHOWING EMPATHY

Showing empathy before your children is very important. Empathic parenting is for the parents to see each child as the unique individual that he or she is. Recognizing the individuality of your son or daughter is one way to provide an acknowledgement that he or she hungers for.

Empathizing could also mean standing in the best possible position to respond to your child’s emotional needs. It is also about showing respect that the way your son or daughter expresses himself or herself is telling you something important about who he or she is. Empathy should be something that secures parenting decisions for that matter.

YOU’VE GOT TO BE MAKING TIME

Sure, life will have to change when you have children. It will never be the same again as your sense of time, too, will have to change with it. But yet without time all of your intentions will come too little.

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One way you could be demonstrating other people’s importance in your life is through making or spending time with them. When you are giving time to your son or daughter it’s equivalent as saying he or she is important to you and that he or she is your priority. Some parents are, sometimes, falling into the mistake of trying to fill their children up with tangible gifts, special experiences, and privileges, when, in fact, none of these things could replace the need for their time.

Making time with your son or daughter could also mean attending to him or her and to try to carefully notice what he or she thinks and says. In that way, you could respond to him or her in a way that will make him or her feel understood and important. When you make time, you’re more than simply doing something with anyone you consider special or important.

YOU’VE GOT TO BE WILLING TO TAKE ACTIONS

This is what parents should take into consideration when it comes to taking actions concerning their kids: that, in most cases, anticipatory action is more useful than reaction. A parent should be one that is proactive instead of being just reactive. When a parent is more than willing to do what is necessary just so he could raise his children well, is one of the key commitments he should be making being a parent.

However, the hardest part of taking action is in the acceptance of the fact that a particular intervention is needed or required. Timing is also another important thing to consider. The parents must know when to act, at least most of the time. You have got to get involved, as a parent, when your son or daughter is unable to resolve the problem by himself or herself and when the situation is already hurting him or her.

YOU HAVE GOT TO STAY POSITIVE

Having a positive outlook, as a parent, is something your children could learn a lot from and benefit from simultaneously. But how could you get positive in troubled times? When the going gets tough and things don’t just turned out right for you?

Well, getting positive is all about having to remain optimistic in the face of difficulties or resistance to change. Every child, just like the rest of Homo sapiens, cannot accomplish all things, but yet is one that is so capable of improvement. You don’t have to compel someone to achieve amazing results through the sheer force of your will just so it could be termed as “positive.”

As a parent, to stay positive is to maintain a problem-solving perspective of whatever challenges your child is facing. You have to feed your child with words of encouragement and not to let your own emotional ups and downs become a defining element in the way you interact with your children. You have to put in mind that your son or daughter is watching your reactions to their efforts carefully.

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YOU’VE GOT TO BE INFORMED

While ultimately you, as a parent, have to accept the responsibility for making decisions in your kid’s best interest, effective parenthood is when one has to consider different ideas and perspectives. This could be learned and accomplished much by embracing the plurality of perspectives available. Parents should be seeking useful information from both formal and informal sources.

YOU’VE GOT TO TEACH

As a parent, you don’t only have to provide for your child’s basic needs which include food, clothing, shelter, emotional necessities and many more. You had to be, most specially, a teacher. This was so because you’re going to be imparting not only “what” but as well the “why.” The moment you explain not only what you want your children to do but why is to build their social and self-awareness.

YOU’VE GOT TO BE A MODEL

Someone once said that the best way to teach is by example. It has been found out that a parent who is polite, considerate, expressive, and sincere would most likely teach his children to speak in the same way or manner. Mistakes are unavoidable and when you make mistakes before your children, don’t hesitate to apologize. What’s more interesting is that you could turn these mistakes into teaching opportunities.

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YOU HAVE GOT TO COLLABORATE

One of the key ingredients of families running smoothly and with a high degree of cooperation is through collaboration. With or without yourself knowing it, you are collaborating directly with your child when you involve him in clarifying your goals and expectations. Parents should be taking time to ask their children to help define those expectations until both of them arrive at a common destination.

YOU HAVE GOT TO PERSEVERE

Yes it is so true a phrase that not everything works the first time you try it. Perseverance is very important factor in parenting and it is very closely related to the commitment of time. So that, sometimes, when the going gets tough, it is more important to try longer than it is to try harder.

YOU HAVE GOT TO KNOW YOUR FAMILY’S CORE VALUES

Every family needs a compass, most particularly a moral compass to live by. Knowing what these core values are is very important as they interweave with all the other nine commandments of parenting. You have got to take a look at your family’s interests, strengths, and expressed values.

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.