Just My Thoughts, MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY

My Thoughts on the Elections

Do not become the very person you despise. I was writing a Facebook status but realized that my thoughts couldn’t be contained in one line. But don’t worry, this won’t be very long either.

The 2016 elections have certainly brought out our values and our character as individuals. I appreciate our freedom to speak, share our opinion, express ourselves. What I do not appreciate is how careless some people have been in how they’ve used that freedom.

Don’t get me wrong. I am grateful for the passion displayed by many Filipinos in the past months. I am grateful for the education. I have quietly read articles that have been shared by friends who are passionate about the elections. I have quietly read comments and discussions. I even liked some posts when I felt like I could relate to what they were trying to say. I love my country and I have been conflicted about who to vote for for the past few months as well. I read, I watch, I pray, I talk to people and seek their opinions, I listen, I learn, and I am forming my own opinion.

I understand that many are angry and are discontent with our current government. I understand that many are appalled by certain presidentiables. I also understand that people will believe what they want to believe, and those strong in their beliefs want to convince others that their beliefs are right. But do we really need to be rude? Do we really need to insult or look down on other people because they think differently from us?

I don’t know about you, but my ears tend to ring and my mind tends to close when I feel judged or am called names. Maybe other people engage and try to defend themselves, but I usually get annoyed and then check out. Either way, if we want people to listen and see our point of view, being aggressive may not be the way. It may catch a person’s attention, but to what, really? That our candidate is better? Or that we’re acting like jerks? That we’re encouraging people to think? Or that we’re being arrogant and feeling superior? Don’t get me started on the words I’ve seen used and the attitudes displayed in the comments section. They seriously shock me.

Like I said, I appreciate most posts because they educate me. They make me think. They give me perspective. I myself do not feel offended because I do not believe I am one of those some die-hard supporters of a couple of presidentiables are targeting, but others will feel offended. By all means, share your opinions and beliefs, but could we please keep the peace and respect one another? Could we care about people and our relationships more than pushing our opinion? Could we bring back the H in IMHO?

Let’s agree to disagree. We may not all have the same presidential bets, but I believe most of us love the Philippines and want what’s best for our people. Not one of us knows that for sure anyway. Let’s put our trust in the One who does know. Let’s cast our cares on Him. I know it doesn’t help with making the decision of who to vote for, but for those who believe in God’s sovereignty, power and goodness, it’s a good reminder to stay calm and just continue to pray for our country.

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picture grabbed from a friend’s social media post. I do not own the picture, nor do I know who the original owner is. But I agree with its message.

Use your right to vote. Make sure you are at peace with your choice. God bless you. God bless the Philippines. 🙂

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, Philippians 2:3

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance. Psalm 33:12

Homeschooling, Just My Thoughts

Still, Why Homeschool?

I still encounter people who ask why we homeschool, as if it’s a step backward or a step in the wrong direction. Well, I’ve written a few articles about the perks I’ve experienced so far. I’ve also actually written about why we homeschool, but it’s not like I can just direct people to visit my blog to read my answer so I wouldn’t have to go into detail. So here’s the short answer. I found it while I was reading up on some quotes.

“True education does not consist merely in the acquiring of a few facts of science, history, literature, or art, but in the development of character.” – David O. McKay

While it used to be that academics was the only important thing, the only thing that mattered in a young person’s life, it is no longer so. At least for us. We are after the building of our children’s character. Danae is 7 and Noelle is 4. They are like sponges, absorbing and learning everything they are exposed to. We’ve been to regular school and though it had its benefits, we didn’t like what happened to our eldest child’s character, even to her vocabulary and her behavior. While they are in their formative years, we want to build strong Christian values in them, and the best place for that right now is HOME. We are not perfect role models for our kids either, but we are more willing to take that risk than to knowingly push them into an environment where unnecessary exposure to many worldly influences at too young an age is inevitable.

We are aware that we cannot protect them completely, which is why we do more than just protecting at this stage. We are EQUIPPING them for the world. We want them to grow up prepared — prepared to stand up for what they believe in, prepared to say no to ungodliness, prepared to love God and love others even when it is difficult, prepared to go and make disciples for Jesus. This is our hope, as we do our job as parents and as we allow Jesus to transform our children.

I am a pastor’s wife and maybe some might think it is most convenient and most affordable for us. The latter may be true, but let me just tell you that there is nothing convenient about homeschooling. While there may be perks (relative to how one perceives it of course), it is not easy. It takes hard work, planning, time, effort, discipline, tons of patience, creativity, and a great deal of LOVE. Who better to love a child? Who better to labor for a child? Who better to teach a child, fueled by that great unconditional love and the immense desire to help them know and love Jesus, than his or her own parent?

I think that even if I were not in ministry, I would still homeschool my kids. There’s just no getting around that hope, that love, and that desire to help them know and love Jesus. 🙂

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6

Blessed is the man
    who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
    nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree
    planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
    and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
    but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
    nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
    but the way of the wicked will perish.

Psalm 1:1-6

Just My Thoughts, Parenting, YOUTH MINISTRY

Back to B.A.S.I.C.S.

Because it’s the love month, I promised my victory group that we would be talking about relationships. Last Saturday, I taught them about the basics that I believe would equip them to make the right decisions when it comes to relationships.

BOUNDARIES. If you don’t set the boundaries, there is no guarantee that the boys will set them for you. We have the power to draw that line. At Danae’s young age, we are already teaching her this. DRAW THE LINE OF RESPECT. Do not let others cross it. If you do, like letting a boy kiss you or be rough around you, you are allowing them to disrespect you. Teach them to respect you. If you yourself cross it, you are disrespecting that person and yourself. Learn to respect others and most importantly, respect yourself.

“Everything is permissible” — but not everything is beneficial. 1 Cor 10:23. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with chatting for hours. Nothing wrong with spending so much alone time together as “best friends.” If you’re already in a relationship, there’s nothing wrong with holding hands. They are NOT SIN PER SE, but if not done with great care, they CAN lead to sin. Make a decision to live well within those boundaries, not pushing them and hiding behind the technicality that it’s not a sin. Make a decision right now, so that when that time and that situation arrives, you already know what to do or what not to do.

ACCOUNTABILITY. You are accountable to God. No one can make you do anything, therefore you cannot blame anyone else for your own actions. “I had no choice,” “He was so persistent and insistent,” “I couldn’t break it to him” are mere excuses. You always have a CHOICE TO SAY NO. If you don’t like him, tell him. Do not lead him on. If you do like him, think before you act. Nothing “just happens.” Where you end up is a result of choices that you make. Stop blaming others. Take responsibility for your own actions.

Be accountable to people you know care about you and want to help you. If you’re struggling with something, seek help. Having accountability partners does not mean you’re giving them permission to lord it over you. You’re giving them permission to check on you, to give you a different perspective, to give you godly counsel, to pray for you. We can’t do everything on our own. We need the help of those who may know better.

STANDARDS. What is your vision? Do you have a vision for your life, your future? Without vision, people cast off restraint. Prov 29:18. If you don’t have a vision of the kind of man you want to be married to, the kind of woman/wife you want to be, the kind of family you want to have, the kind of marriage that you want to have, the kind of life you want to live, then you won’t have serious standards. Whatever looks good, feels good or seems good will be okay with you. Your standards get compromised once the guy is good looking or seems kind. Sometimes, even when it’s clearly a bad idea, because it is presented to you and because it is what’s available, you allow such things or people in your life. Get a vision. RAISE YOUR STANDARDS. Uphold them.

IDENTITY. KNOW WHO YOU ARE in the eyes of God. Not who you think you are, or who others say you are. If you know who you truly are, who God made you to be, it’s easier for you to make decisions. You won’t be easily swayed by the influence of others. You are the daughter of the King of Kings. You are a princess – precious, special, highly esteemed, admired, accepted, respected, loved. So act like it.

CHARACTER. Part of our identity is our personality, which God made different in each of us. Some are meek, gentle, soft-spoken. Some are loud, funny, talkative. I am one with a strong personality and I may rub some people off the wrong way. In the past, I hid behind my personality, using it as an excuse for my behavior. But God has been teaching me that I cannot do that anymore because CHARACTER IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN MY PERSONALITY. Yes, I am still the same person, but now with more wisdom and hopefully grace (haha).

Being exposed to boys and relationships, or even being in a relationship is a time of testing. Times of testing build our character. Being victorious over temptations builds our character. Giving in to them can too (not that I’m encouraging you to learn the hard way, because trust me, it is hard). Such mistakes remain as failures when we don’t learn from them. When we blame others for our mistakes, we get stuck. We’re not able to move forward. But mistakes become lessons when we take responsibility for our decisions, get up, make the necessary changes, and move forward.

SECURITY. Where does your security lie? Is it dependent on the love of a man or of any man? Is it dependent on the acceptance of a certain group of friends, your parents’ approval? Or is it dependent on the love of God for you? This is our prayer for our girls every night, that they will be secure of God’s love for them. No woman/boy/friend/man can complete you. One incomplete man plus one incomplete you, still makes an incomplete him and you. Only God can make you whole. Never enter into a relationship to fill the void. GOD’S LOVE IS MORE THAN ENOUGH to fill it, if you just allow Him to.

Security also means your safety. It’s better to be safe than sorry. It doesn’t matter if others think you’re overreacting or bordering on legalistic, because of your high standards and self-imposed boundaries. What’s more important is that you GUARD YOUR HEART AS IF IT’S A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH, because it is.

Motherhood, My Kids, Parenting

How well do you know your child?

Because Danae’s 6 and Noelle’s already almost 3, their personalities are more evident than ever. It definitely showed during our recent trip. For one, well this one’s not new at all, they’re both witty and funny. Years ago, Danae at age 3 exclaimed as we landed in Manila probably from Cagayan de Oro, “Thank you Lord!,” which made people behind us chuckle. Last month, Noelle exclaimed with her normal loud voice as we landed in Singapore, “I made it!”, which made everyone around us LOL. hahaha. It caught me by surprise how everybody turned to us and laughed. Noelle wasn’t too happy about the response but later on she would recount that “she made everyone happy on the airplane.”

We walked quite a lot in Singapore. Although Danae at times complained that she was tired, she was more a trouper than Noelle was. When Noelle didn’t feel like walking anymore, she really wouldn’t walk. She’d stop in her tracks, slump her shoulders, make her adorable complaining face, and whine “I can’t.” I must say though that Noelle is quite easy to lead because she prefers to hold my hand almost all the time. Danae, of course, would much rather be free to move around.

Danae enjoyed all the shows, while Noelle got bored quickly. Danae was willing to try some of the rides. Noelle wasn’t. She would much rather EAT! Which makes it even more surprising that she was willing to go on The Luge with us! But both definitely love love love the water. Noelle came alive when we allowed them to play in the fountains at Universal Studios.

Both girls are relatively manageable when traveling, but Noelle really has her own mind. She’s picky when it comes to bathrooms. She won’t use it if she feels it’s dirty or stinky. She’ll say that her pee is “not coming out.” She would also tell me to flush the toilet first even though it’s clean. But thank God they didn’t mind me using baby wipes on them after they did #2. I’ve finally conceded to using them. I totally refused to do so before because I preferred washing them with soap and water. Yay me!

After I got them dressed when they got wet in the fountain, Danae easily slipped on her wet shoes, while Noelle just refused to! Squeamish much? Thank God we rented a stroller. It didn’t matter much that she was barefoot, except when it was time to leave the stroller. Guess who had to carry her.

Even with clothes, Noelle is so picky! Danae will almost always comply with what I prepare for her. I cannot force Noelle to wear anything she does not like. Sometimes it’s understandable, but many times it’s just not. Even while it was drizzling, she didn’t want to wear her rain coat! The stress is coming back to me! Hahaha.

It definitely teaches me as a mom to be flexible, to know which battles to pick and which ones to let go. Did I mention that Noelle is quite a messy kid? Danae’s not a neat freak, but at least she was willing to clean up when she was little! Noelle even drew on my mom’s wall, which Danae never did! On the other hand, it’s fairly easy to talk to Noelle when it comes to things she wants, except maybe when it comes to food haha. She can cope well with not getting what she wants right away while Danae more often demands instant gratification. My kids are walking contradictions! Probably just like their mom. Haha.

It just goes to show that each child is different. Danae and Noelle may have their similarities, but they have different personalities. It teaches us parents to be attentive and engaged, else we would assume that what worked for one will work for the other, which may not necessarily be true. There is really no ONE formula in raising our kids. We must constantly learn and be open to learning — learn about our own children, get to know them, spend time with them, talk to them, play with them….and be open to learning other ways of nurturing our relationships with them, of teaching them, of guiding them.

The more I know my children, the greater my capacity to anticipate situations and prepare myself to deal with them as they come. The more I know my children, the greater my capacity to understand them and to communicate with them. The more I know my children, the more I learn about myself. The more I know myself, the more I know that I cannot do this on my own!!! I need King’s partnership and we need the wisdom, the grace, and the love of God for us to be able to raise these precious girls. 🙂

My Kids, Parenting

Danae got me!

We were reviewing for Danae’s first achievement test last week and came across examples of polite expressions in her English book. The exercise was for her to choose the proper response for a specific situation. Things like how to respond when someone thanks you. Should you say “Whatever!” or “You’re welcome!”? The most interesting scenario was of a child who broke something by accident and was sorry for what she did. The choices of the parent’s response were “What did you do??? You broke it!” or “It’s alright. Just help me clean it up.” Danae of course knew the right answer but then told me “You always do that!”

Hahahaha! I knew she would call me on that. I heard myself as I was reading the choices with her. I laughed out so loud. She really got me there!

What a way to get rebuked. The things we know are right, are oftentimes different from the way we act. I’m the type who overreacts first before being rational (well mostly when it comes to my family). It is in my knowledge to respond calmly in situations like that but it has yet to translate into action. I was reminded to practice what I was actually preaching. Now, to help Danae to also respond right, I have to set the example. I have to step up and be more mindful of my actions. As they say, kids do what we do, not what we say.

Motherhood, My Kids, Parenting

Ten Times Better Already

We named Danae after Daniel of the Bible. He’s one of our favorite people, along with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They had great faith and courage, and were ten times better than their counterparts. But before I continue, this blog is in NO WAY AIMED TO MAKE YOU COMPARE YOUR KIDS or other kids to ours. We are not claiming that our kids are ten times better than their friends or other kids. We are, however, claiming that they ARE ten times better….than their parents!

For one thing, Danae is so much more mature than I or King ever were when we were her age (5 and a half). Noelle’s vocabulary is more extensive than mine or King’s when we were her age (2 years & 5 months). They are both articulate, smart and very confident.

I know I performed in school quite often (a pre-school play, field demonstrations and the like), but I was never comfortable in front of many people. I wasn’t comfortable with even a few. In grade school, they would get me to join declamation contests, and maybe because I was pushed, I’d agree. But I never won anything because I really am not much of a performer. Sure, I can speak. But that’s it. Now that I’m older, I am way more confident than I was, but Danae was BORN confident and fearless. Unafraid of almost anything. Adventurous too! I thought at first that Noelle was timid, but she’s pretty fearless too. I saw that when she almost jumped from the boat to join King in the water (Coron) and when she danced with us on stage in front of hundreds of people (Victory Alabang Leaders’ Night). I guess it just took a while for her confidence and fearlessness to come out.

I’m amazed at how expressive Danae is. I thank God that she trusts me and can freely share things with me, without any fears of being judged or being reprimanded (though there are times that I do reprimand of course). I guess that attributes to her confidence and fearlessness too. It doesn’t take much to draw things out of her and she can articulate her feelings well. That’s God’s grace right there. I’m so grateful that she and Noelle need not be caged because of insecurities and fear of rejection, like I was when I was young.

I’m amazed at how my girls take on food. Well, Noelle eats almost anything so it’s no surprise that she eats almost any vegetable. But I was surprised at how receptive she was to the idea when I introduced malunggay capsules in their diet. She doesn’t care if her food turns green. She’s the one who reminds me and is excited to put the green powder on her food! Eeew right? haha. Danae is a bit like me, somewhat picky when it comes to food, though she eats most vegetables and is eating those that I only started eating a few years ago. I still don’t eat onions to this day and Danae, if she sees them, doesn’t eat them either. She does eat them unknowingly when I feed her (hehe). I wasn’t planning to give her malunggay capsules since she drinks milk (Noelle doesn’t but needs calcium), but she was also interested. I knew putting it on her food wouldn’t work but I was surprised that she wanted to try swallowing the capsule. I thought she’d have a hard time, it being her first time. She didn’t! No struggle at all. While 33 year old me, still struggles with tablets sometimes!

I’m tempted to say that I know these things are so shallow, but they’re really not. They mean a great deal to me. I am grateful that as early as now, their communication skills and eating habits are already good. As early as now, they are already confident and fearless. As early as now, they are getting to know and learning to love the Lord. My girls are a handful and are very strong-willed. I see so much of me in them, which makes me fearful of who they will become. But seeing that as early as now, they are already ten times better than me, gives me the hope that they need not make as many mistakes as I did and that THEY WILL DISCOVER THEIR GOD-GIVEN PURPOSE & DESTINY EARLY, and FLING THEIR LIVES TO IT.

Just My Thoughts

I CHOOSE CONFLICT 2

“I’ve always been like this.”

“This is my personality. This is me. Take it or leave it.”

“If you’re not used to it by now, then you don’t really know me yet.”

“People keep telling me this over and over again. They misunderstand me.”

Ever heard these things come out of your mouth? Well, they’ve sure come out of mine. People used to complain to me that I’m too frank, offensive, and bossy. Frankly, I didn’t care if I hurt anybody with what I said. To me, I was telling it as it was, how I saw it, and if you can’t handle the truth, then you’re weak. That was my personality before, and I always hid behind it. I used it as an excuse for my awful behavior, as if it were acceptable, and I expected my friends to tolerate how I was. If they couldn’t, then it was they who misunderstood me. I was impatient, prideful and self-righteous.

When I was younger and clueless, when I did not personally know the Lord yet, I chose conflict because I thought I cared enough for my friends, knowing that the truth is what will help them. But I didn’t care enough to change how I said it. I convinced myself that “that is how I am” and perpetuated my own foolishness.

But isn’t character more important than personality?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying having a personality is a bad thing. God made us each different from the other. I still have my personality. I am who I am. I’m still a strong, loud, frank, straight-to-the-point woman, but God is continually molding my character. He’s teaching me, especially through discipleship, that I can and should use my strengths or my personality the right way. Because of my personality, I can be honest when I counsel or give advice, but because of my hopefully growing character, I can relay it in a loving way and keep our conversation confidential. Because of my personality, I can teach, but because of God’s work in my life and character, I can teach a group of people from experience. Because of my strong personality, I can also discipline my kids effectively by giving them the rod and by talking to them, but when I am in a teaching moment with my kids, I tend to lose my patience. I can’t very well tell them to accept my behavior because it’s my personality to be loud and impatient. I have to exercise the character God wants me to work on (humility & patience) — I have to apologize too and do better next time.

In any kind of relationship, conflicts are sure to arise. There are times that we do need to pick our battles, meaning not everything should be argued about and sometimes we need to compromise. In the times that we feel that it is necessary to “fight” for something, we need to learn to fight clean.

That’s why our character must override our personality. We must give more importance to building our character than protecting our personality. If we can choose to engage instead of to ignore, if we can choose to be involved instead of to be indifferent, if we can choose conflict over comfort, then we can and must choose character over personality.

We can’t after all be touched by the Lord, and remain the same.

Just My Thoughts, Marriage, Parenting

I CHOOSE CONFLICT!

Being married and raising kids is a tough, tough job. But the way I see it, we spouses and parents, have two choices when we see our family members having trouble with something or doing something we don’t agree with or when we see that they’re about to make a big mistake. Do we engage or do we ignore? Do we talk about it or do we avoid confrontation?

Even though it’s exhausting, exasperating, dumbfounding and confusing, I’d rather engage my husband and children in conversation than not show them that I care about what they’re going through. Even though it takes more time and energy, my husband and I would rather teach our kids ourselves than let them learn everything on their own. We’d rather they hear it from us and learn from our wisdom and experiences as much as possible, than let them learn the hard way. Even though I am at risk of feeling burdened and heavy, I’d rather carry my husband and children’s burdens with them than risk making them feel alone and abandoned. Even though most of the time it means we will end up in an argument, I’d rather talk to them than pretend that an issue does not exist. Even though it takes harder work, I’d rather be involved in every aspect of my husband and every aspect of my children’s lives than be oblivious & passive. Even though I am prone to make mistakes, I’d rather do something with my God-given responsibility and gift than do nothing at all.

I CHOOSE CONFLICT OVER INDIFFERENCE ANY DAY.

YOUTH MINISTRY

FRANTIC and FRUITFUL FEBRUARY 1

The month began with a plan. We wanted to hold a party for this home for orphaned kids called My Father’s House. We, the youth staff and I, could have taken the easy route — organized, planned and executed everything ourselves — but we didn’t. We wanted the youth involved. We did not want to just bless the orphaned kids, we wanted our youth in Alabang to step out of their own worlds and give of their time, energy, and talents. We wanted them to learn from the experience, and even teach each other during the whole process. We wanted to give them an opportunity to bond with each other and with the kids of My Father’s House.

We called the event LOVE IS IN THE HOUSE. It was a post-valentine party held last Saturday in My Father’s House’s grounds and the theme was LOVE. We put up 6 teams (Food, Program, Games, Logistics, Music & Dance, Documentation) and gave the volunteers their respective assignments. We can proudly say that everything we did for My Father’s House was the hard work of our youth — from planning, to marketing, to cooking (special thanks to Chef Len Santos-Ding for opening her kitchen to us), to packaging, to setting up, to marshaling the games, to distributing the prizes and gifts (special thanks to Victory Alabang and Cong. Ruffy Biazon), to dancing and singing, to just sitting and spending time with the kids. We made sure that during lunch, each table had at least one of us there to talk to the kids. I even saw some of our youth helping the little kids cut their chicken and feeding them. It was truly a heart-warming sight.

We did not allot time for a full preaching because we didn’t just want to tell the kids that God loves them, we wanted to show them by serving them. They were blessed by our efforts, and we were blessed by their smiles, their joy in singing to God, their excitement in participating in the games and in winning prizes, their gratefulness for our visit. I even got a couple of random hugs from the kids!

We also asked the kids ages 11 and up to make a drawing of what God’s love means to them. The top 3 were asked to explain their work. One boy’s simple but beautiful work said that he is a son of God, and I guess he felt that was enough to explain that. Another boy’s equally beautiful work said that God loves us because He gave us a “home.” I was touched when I saw it. He explained that God created the whole world for us. One little girl’s work was more intricate and we were intrigued by her drawing. She explained that even when we make mistakes, God still loves us. We gave her the grand prize, a gift certificate from Yellow Cab, courtesy of Ms. Faye Bonifacio.

I believe our party was a success! We got the youth involved — they did the work, they served others, they built relationships, they learned, they shared, they taught, they gave. We got to bless a wonderful bunch of kids and we were blessed by the whole experience as well. What a great way to spend the last weekend of the month. I am so proud of our youth and their work! Plus it was my first time to organize an outreach like this haha! On to the next project, woohoo! 🙂

Just My Thoughts, Parenting

CONTACT!

EYE CONTACT

When Danae was born, I was mesmerized. I could not take my eyes off her and she loved looking into my eyes as well. We would hold our gaze for minutes at a time, especially while she was breastfeeding. It was like communicating to each other how deeply we loved each other, silently. No words could fully express how we both felt anyway.

Ever since, maybe also because of the mommy books I read then, I felt it important to have eye contact with my child, most especially when we would speak to her. It  is more sincere and it makes more impact when we tell her that we love her, that we’re proud of her, or when we give her instructions that she needs to obey.

We taught our kids early, and are continuing to teach them especially because Noelle refused in the beginning, to look into a person’s eyes when they apologize. A blurted out apology is unacceptable because it does not hold true. A proper apology teaches them to take responsibility for their actions. You hurt or disrespect someone, you look into their eyes to let them know how truly sorry you are. It’s hard but it’ll teach them to think twice before doing or saying something hurtful, and to teach them to humble themselves — something that is still difficult for me to this day. It’s another story though if the other person doesn’t want to look at them when they’re trying to say sorry. We just make sure that our girls do their part. They are being trained for something they will need to do, hopefully not often, when they’re grown up.

Eye contact shows my children that I am serious about something I’m trying to teach them, and it teaches them to pay attention. It shows them that I am listening to them and am interested when they’re communicating with me. It shows them also how sincere we are when we’re the ones apologizing to them. It fosters our deep connection with them when we express our love, joy, and gratefulness.

I’ve always disliked it when people do not make eye contact when spoken to. It feels like either they’re hiding something, or they’re lying, or they’re not listening, or they don’t care, or they’re prideful, or they’re insecure. I want my children to be sincere, trust worthy, humble, secure, and respectable human beings. I know teaching them eye contact will help.

PHYSICAL CONTACT

The other day, Danae told me that her classmate kissed her on the lips. Appalled, I asked her why she let him. She explained to me that it wasn’t her who kissed him, but he who kissed her.

Teaching opportunity once again! I told Danae that when her classmate/s kiss her, they are not respecting her. When they try it again, she should stop them. It will teach them to respect her, and they will eventually understand that they must not treat her that way. Overreacting, am I? I don’t think so. I say train them early so it won’t be so difficult for us parents and for our kids when they’re faced with such challenges during adolescence and adulthood.

This actually applies to all ladies. We have the power to say NO! If you want to be respected, set the boundaries. The men will take their cue from us. If we tolerate it, then they’re going to keep doing it. If we don’t, they will stop. This way, you weed out the boys from the men. This way, we know who earns our respect as well.