Funny Fridays, My Kids

Eeeew….

One time last month, Noelle and I were eating breakfast together, while the two other girls were still asleep (I love one-on-one moments with my girls).

Noelle: How come I’m the only one in the family who doesn’t like sauce?

Me: Yeah, there are people who like it, there are people who don’t. Remember my old blog about our preferences in eating our hotdog? We’re all different. You ate yours without bread, nothing on it. Danae ate hers with bread and just mayo. I ate mine with bread and just ketchup, since they didn’t have mustard (and I would have much preferred tomato ketchup). Daddy ate his with bread, ketchup and mayo, but he likes everything.

Noelle: What do you mean he likes everything?

Me: Like if there was pickle relish, he would be okay with putting pickle relish.

Noelle: Eeeew.

Me: Haha. But that’s what makes Daddy a good missionary. He can do those things. He can eat anything.

Noelle: I can’t do that. I’m picky.

Me: Hehehe yeah. But, Noelle, what if God tells you to go on missions?

Noelle: (smiling and without batting an eyelash) I’ll bring lots of food.

Hahahaha. We got a laugh out of that one. But more so, I was blessed hearing that she is still willing to obey God despite her unwillingness to eat certain food. Ready to go for God, despite her reluctance to try the unfamiliar. God bless her heart. ❤

My Kids, MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY, Parenting, THE BRAINY BUNCH

It Makes No Sense

Just a while ago, Noelle was whining because she wanted to get the ball from the box. My condition was that she finish her dinner first.

Noelle: I want the ball now. (whining and crying)
Me: You need to eat first.
Noelle: That doesn’t even make sense!
Me: Well, it doesn’t have to make sense to you. You just need to obey.

As soon as the words left my mouth, I thought of Noah who did not complain, but obeyed God when he was told to build a huge ark when there was no obvious need for it. He obeyed though the task seemed daunting, even impossible. He obeyed even when the rest of humanity misunderstood him. He obeyed though it seemed ridiculous, even when people laughed or criticized him. He obeyed even though he himself could not wrap his brain around what God was planning to do.

That’s the kind of attitude we should have as God’s children. We don’t have to understand everything. We just need to TRUST in His goodness, His love, His perfect will, and OBEY.

This is the account of Noah and his family.

Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.

Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high. Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubit high all around. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you. You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.”

Noah did everything just as God commanded him. Genesis 6:9-22

Just My Thoughts, Motherhood, Parenting

Rules Rules Rules

Rules. What are they there for anyway? To keep us from doing what we want to do? To limit us? To contain us? To make us into robots? To make it hard for us?

I remember hating that policy required me to hand the guard my driver’s license to allow me passage into a village. Eventually, instead of always getting angry, I learned to accept it and comply with it. When I matured (ahem ahem), I learned to appreciate the policy because it is what I would want the guards in my village to do when outsiders enter. It is a rule that is meant to keep the home owners safe from criminals and the like (well, at least supposedly).

There used to be no law in our country regarding seat belts. Our cars had them but they were rarely used. I never liked them because they felt constricting. But I had to get used to it when the law required the driver and front seat passenger to wear seat belts. I’d rather obey than deal with police and the hassle of “paying” for my offense anyway. Then I learned to appreciate it because of its purpose to save lives. I appreciated it more when I had children.

Growing up, I did not like the rule that my parents gave me about boyfriends — have none till after I finished college. Well, I was happy to comply up until I was 14. It was a different story when I turned 15. It was not until I became a Christian that I appreciated the reason behind that rule, but sadly partly because I already learned the hard way.

You see, rules are there to PROTECT us, not to harm us. We may not like them sometimes and we may think they’re unnecessary, senseless, or too much, but obeying them is for OUR OWN GOOD.

Just as I did many times when I was younger, my girls resist, complain, even negotiate about the rules. Rules like no sitting or standing on the glass table top. Or no opening of the door when a stranger rings the door bell. Or watching only Disney Jr shows and only after school/homeschool. Or brushing teeth and washing up before going to bed. Or cleaning up. Or taking turns and sharing. Or losing a toy or a privilege when they fight about it. Or accepting the consequence of a bad decision.

We remind them that rules are not for us parents, but for them. It’s for their own good, for their welfare, for their protection. They are necessary and they need to learn to appreciate them. We don’t make rules just to make life hard for them. On the contrary. We make rules so that they won’t get hurt physically. So they can be protected from bad influence. So they will learn good hygiene. So they will learn to treat people right. To teach them discipline and responsibility. We make rules so that they will learn to obey their parents and God as early as now, so that obeying the laws of the land and obeying God won’t be so hard when they grow up.

We give and enforce rules because WE LOVE OUR CHILDREN and WE LOVE GOD. We constantly lay the foundations, the bases for our rules — love for God and obedience to Him, in response to His love for us. Our hope is that they will trust our love for them, being assured that we desire what is best for them.

We, God’s children, are the same. Sometimes we whine and complain to God about how hard it is to live a Christian life, which we know is not just a bunch of dos and don’ts. At the heart of these “rules” and boundaries God gives us, is LOVE. His perfect love. He wants us to be inside the circle of His blessing, with Him, because He knows how bad it is outside of it. He does not want that for us. He loves us too much. That’s precisely why He gave Jesus as a sacrifice to take all of our sins and die in place of us on that cross — so we don’t have to spend eternity in sin, separated from Him. And because death could not hold Jesus down and He rose again on the third day, we too can have life — life as God intended for us to have, life to the full!

Because of this NEVER STOPPING, NEVER GIVING UP, UNBREAKING, ALWAYS AND FOREVER kind of LOVE (the Jesus Storybook Bible), we can TRUST GOD completely. We can trust that His ways are higher, therefore infinitely better, than ours. We can trust that His will is what is absolutely BEST for us.

Rules. Love them or hate them. They’re intended for your good.

My Kids, Parenting

Danae Learns Responsibility

One afternoon two weeks ago, Danae told me that they made something in school that involved cutting. The first time she shared her story, she just said that they made something. By evening, before going to bed, she told me that somebody cut her hair after making the craft. Curious, I asked her who it was. When she said she didn’t know, I immediately asked if it was her. And it was! She told me that when her teacher asked, she said it wasn’t her.

I wasn’t angry that she cut her hair (because thank God it wasn’t noticeable at all), but I told her that what she did was wrong. She shouldn’t have lied to her teacher about it, and she needed to apologize. She cried her eyes out. She didn’t want to apologize because she was afraid that her teacher will get mad (her words). She said she lied because she was afraid of her teacher. She was so upset that for the first time, she said that she did not want to go back to school anymore. I comforted her and assured her that I will be with her when she apologizes, that we will not do it in front of other people, and that her teacher will appreciate her honesty. After much talk, we settled it and she agreed. I did my part in accompanying her the next day and making sure that it was only her teacher listening, and Danae did her part.

What a great opportunity for our child to learn responsibility. Now we know for sure, that she will not cut her hair again OR lie about it again. We made her own up to her responsibility by letting her face her fear, admit the truth, and apologize for her mistake. She is only 5 but she is already starting to actually learn the value of honesty and integrity (also that lying is unacceptable in our family), learn the reality of actions and consequences, learn the power of her family’s love and support, and learn the freedom that forgiveness (asking for it & receiving it) and grace bring.

That day, my daughter acted like an adult. That day, my daughter made us so very proud.

My Kids, Parenting

DANAE’S FIRST MOVIE DATE!

Danae watched Gulliver’s Travels yesterday with her cousin Javi and his grandparents, as she was invited the other night. It was her first time to watch a movie in the theater without us. I did not hesitate because I knew she would be in good hands, and I was pretty sure the movie was safe for kids. Danae wanted to watch it, too, so it was perfect.

I got her ready by early afternoon, got her bag ready with water, a towel, and a wallet with money. I reminded her not to eat ice cream because she was coughing and no juice because she had water in her bag (we try our best to keep her from taking too much sugar — she’s active enough even without it), but she can buy snacks. I also reminded her to be careful while watching the movie. She asked me if there’s kissing. I didn’t know if there was but I told her that she knows what to do if there is. She’s quite aware about emotions and relationships even just by looking at two people, for some reason. She almost always knows when a kiss is about to happen, and she either calls me to tell me or if I’m right there, I already notice her getting ready to cover her eyes, which she has been trained to do ever since. (For a previous blog explaining why we train our kids to do this, click here.)

When she got home, she told me that she didn’t use her money. Apparently wowo Panser and wowa Monette (lolo & lola – grandpa & grandma) treated her to a snack as well. I asked her about the movie and she told me there was kissing and that she covered her eyes. She even told her cousin to do the same. I’m so proud of my little girl! We were not there, but she was responsible enough to cover her eyes. She could have thought “mommy and daddy aren’t here, so I’m gonna do what I want! I will look!” But she didn’t! She obeyed us even when we weren’t there! We stand by our decision to teach our kids to protect themselves with the things they watch, read, and listen to. We hope and pray that this will be their lifestyle as they grow up. I am truly amazed by God’s goodness and my daughter’s maturity! 🙂

Just My Thoughts, Parenting

SOUND FAMILIAR?

I’ve taken note of these conversations in the past months because they made me think. Campus missionary Francis Villanueva’s great preaching at youth service yesterday about LUSOT, LAKAD & LAGAY, pushed me to finally finish and post it.

Me: Nae, don’t stand on that chair. Your sister will copy you. (a constant line in our household)

Danae: Oooh o-kay. I don’t want to be an “ATE” na.

Me: Why?

Danae: ‘Coz Noelle always copies me eh.

It really struck me when I had this conversation with Danae months ago. Don’t we feel pressured at times to be on our best behavior because people are watching? But that is the reality. People are watching and emulating us. So we can either choose to not care and do whatever we want, or be responsible and set a good example.

At a party last August, Danae tore up the package of a yoyo and just threw it on the floor.

Me: Hey Nae, are you supposed to do that?

Nae: It’s okay mom, everybody did it.

Me: Pick it up. Even if everybody is doing it, if you know it’s wrong, don’t do it. Even if everybody does it, it doesn’t mean it’s right.

Kids at Danae’s age can reason out like this already. Even though we started her early, teaching her to throw trash only in the trash can at age 1, she still came up with this reasoning. It definitely reminds me of what Ms Jenn Punzalan said at the EN10 pre-con, that if it is that important, it is worth repeating. Doing our part in keeping the earth clean is very important to me, and therefore it is worth repeating, teaching it to our children over and over again. And it definitely reminds me of our nature as humans. We can easily be influenced by our environment, our culture. Let’s stand for what we know is right and back it up with action.

When we arrived from marriage boosters one night last August, Danae told me she watched something.

Danae: Mom, I watched Chicken Little.

Me: Oh yeah? Where?

Danae: On Disney channel. I changed it. (smiling mischievously)

Me: Ok, you’re gonna get the rod for that.

Danae: But mom, you were not here.

Me: You know the rules. You’re not supposed to change the channels by yourself. You need to obey even when Daddy and Mommy are not home.

Do we obey traffic laws only when there are cops or MMDA present? Are we honest with our business affairs or school tests even when no one is watching? Do we choose to do what is wrong even when we know what is right? Do we keep doing what is wrong, waiting for someone to point it out to us before we stop?

In Cagayan de Oro last month, in Coron last July, in Boracay last February….

King: Bible time!

Danae: No, only at home!

Me: We read the Bible not only at home, but wherever we go.

I think she finally got it since she didn’t say this the other night in Tagaytay. We must form the habit of reading our Bible daily. There are no vacations in connecting and communing with God.

Parenting

VISUAL, are you?

I believe I am a visual person. When I see something that catches my attention, I most probably will remember it for a long time. So you can bet that some of the obscene things I’d seen in the past are still in my memory, though I choose not to actually picture them in my head. I wish I did not get exposed to such things and have to go through that, but I did. I guess in this case, my memory loss or the slowing down of my brain (which I totally blame on giving birth and epidural hahaha) is a good thing.

And that is why guarding what our children watch is so important to me and to King. We want to protect our kids from things they see that could harm them. We do our best to monitor what they watch on TV and in the movies. At home, they can watch most of the shows on Playhouse Disney unless the content is about Halloween or anything scary, and very few shows on Disney Channel and Nickelodeon. They are not allowed to switch channels by themselves because of the possibility of accidentally switching to a channel that is totally not safe for any kid, such as channels that carry shows with violent or sexual content. We choose the movies that they watch in the theater, making sure beforehand as much as possible, that it’s safe, meaning no kissing scenes, no witchcraft, no foul language, no violence and anything we deem too mature for our children. If not, we’re ready to cover their eyes.

When Shrek came out, we watched it with the kids. We didn’t realize they’d be showing a lot of trailers of movies that aren’t kid-friendly! During the first trailer, King’s hand was over Pablo’s eyes, mine were on Danae’s and Noelle’s. Imagine how tiring that was! Danae was on my left on her own seat, while Noelle was on my right in her stroller. It was practically 2 minutes long. Only 2 minutes, but it seemed like forever for my unfit arms! After that first one, I asked King to bring Pablo and Danae out while the movie wasn’t starting yet. That was a good 10 minutes. After the movie, we also realized that it was funnier for the adults and too mature for the kids.

Recently, Danae came to the knowledge of a certain Justin Bieber and since has claimed that she loves him. She told me that she saw the video on YouTube and that there’s no kissing, only Justin’s face very close to a girl’s face. She even showed me, putting her forehead to mine. A few weeks ago, King left his laptop on at home while we were out on a date. When we came back, Danae told us about this new Justin Bieber song that she learned. After a while, I asked her where she got it coz I’d never even heard of it. She said she saw it on Dad’s laptop, and then King told me that he saw on his Google search the word “Jasten”. She did that by herself! We already told her that it’s not safe to just click away on the computer, and that not all shows on YouTube are okay for kids. Not all shows or videos are okay for adults, for that matter. She was disciplined for that, and since then has not been allowed to watch anything on YouTube unsupervised.

I know my daughter. She’s very perceptive and impressionable. And her memory is exceptional. But she’s only 4, for crying out loud!!! I don’t want her mind to be filled with unnecessary thoughts of boys and such. She’s already very curious about weddings and marriage, and we’ve recently been hearing the word “boyfriend” in her monologues. As you can see, we cannot shield her from EVERYTHING she hears or sees from people around and in places we go. But we still want to do what we can to protect her. It doesn’t matter to me if people think I’m overreacting or that I’m too strict. I don’t buy into the “it’s okay, they’re too young to understand it anyway” thing. I am a firm believer of NOT UNDERESTIMATING A CHILD’S INTELLIGENCE, even a child Noelle’s age or younger. Having said that, I am also a firm believer of NOT OVERESTIMATING A CHILD’S EMOTIONAL MATURITY. There are things we think our children are ready for, but they may really not be, even if we properly explain it to them or even if they seem to respond the right way. I choose to not expose my kids to certain things because I know what I went through — the impure desires that got stirred up from watching romantic shows, movies, videos, and reading romantic stories, also the foul language and bad attitude I picked up from all sorts of movies. I do not want my children to suffer from the same mistakes I made, whether from neglect on my parents’ part or from my own unwise decisions. It is just unnecessary to allow them to be subjected to that kind of torture. Torture???? Yes, TORTURE. You see something, it plays over and over in your head, you don’t know what to do with it, you can’t get it out of your mind, it affects your thoughts, your speech, your dreams, your behavior. Adult minds are not immune to this, more so young minds.

We are teaching our children to protect their minds and hearts by being careful with what they watch, what they read and what they hear. I only learned to do this at age 24 when I gave my life to the Lord, and am still doing it now at age 33. We want them to form this HABIT as early as now, so that it will, sooner than later, become a strong CONVICTION and a consistent LIFESTYLE. We pray that our girls will live pure and holy lives before God. That’s why we named them Katina Danae and Katrin Noelle. Katina and Katrin mean PURE. We claimed it then, we claim it now, and we claim it tomorrow and each day after that. 🙂

Parenting

EN2010 (pre-con): Discipleship@Home

There were quite a number of sessions before EN2010, and King wanted me to attend the international staff meeting Wednesday morning, the day before the conference. I had to wait for Danae’s class to finish, pick her up, get the kids and everything ready, then proceed to ENLI building in the Fort. In other words, I missed the staff meeting. But King relayed Ptr Jim Laffoon’s message to me and I couldn’t agree with him more when he said that we need to be careful with technology, be careful that it does not take over our personal life, our priorities. It’s so easy to be so absorbed in the internet, facebook, our phones, etc. That convicted me and made me decide to turn on my computer for blogging & stuff, as much as possible, when the kids are asleep or when I know it will not interfere with my priorities. I don’t like that often Noelle has to literally pull me away from the computer when she wants me to just sit with her. She and the rest of my family should come first.

Anyway, we were able to drop the kids off at my in-laws’, and I attended the afternoon break-away session of my choice: Discipleship@Home. Who’s Discipling Your Kids? I picked up a lot, listening to Ptr David Houston, his wife Sandy, our Ninong Ptr Paolo Punzalan, and his wife Jenn. Awesome, witty, funny, real people who are imperfect parents just like us, who know what we’re dealing with, and who make a whole lot of sense. Our Alabang senior pastor, Ptr Ariel hosted it, and he and his wife Shirley are also one of the couples we look up to especially with regards to parenting. Some of the things shared, I already knew. On one hand, it encouraged me all the more to keep doing what we’re doing, and on the other, it reminded me of the things that we have forgotten and that we should be doing. Still some were somewhat new, and it’s always great to learn from people who are wiser and more experienced than myself. Let me share the points that struck me the most.

Life is in the power of the tongue, and it is especially powerful when the father speaks it to his children. Dads! Your kids need verbal affirmation from you, just like how God affirms His children. Even if it’s uncomfortable for you, do it anyway. Your kids will not even know that you’re feeling awkward, and they will definitely appreciate it, whether they express it to you or not.  And dads! Don’t give all your energy at work. Save the best for your family, so that when you get home, you won’t be too tired to engage with your wife and with your children. Pray for your kids and speak destiny to their lives. Be the one to put them to sleep. The quality time you spend with them will have a great impact on them. King is an expressive dad who makes time for our kids, but I still immediately downloaded these to him. Fathers have such a critical role in the lives of children, and we want to do right by ours.

We need to say our instruction ONE TIME and back it up with consequence when disobeyed. This is of course based on Biblical discipline and our instructions are those that are best for our children, not those that harm them. Many times we wait to get angry before we take action in disciplining our kids. I’ve experienced this a lot. We need to discipline them right away the first time they disobey. That way, we’re still moving patiently, IN LOVE, and NOT OUT OF ANGER. We need to be consistent, no matter how tiring and taxing, and believe that discipline will bear the peaceable fruit of righteousness. I say amen to that and I believe we are improving. It’s very timely too, because Noelle is also a force to be reckoned with hahaha.

Discipleship happens at the dinner table. Let’s eat with our kids! It can be stressful especially in my case, I have a 1-year old who won’t stop calling me until I look at her and acknowledge what she’s doing or take care of what she needs, a talkative 4-year old, and then a husband who wants to tell me about his day. Trust me, it can get crazy! But if we let other people feed them so we can eat in peace (which I do sometimes for valid reasons, but not usually), how can we teach them table manners? More importantly, how can we teach them to pray, or not to waste, or to share? There are many teaching moments at the dinner table, from etiquette to prayer, to being thankful, to generosity, to quality time, to family, to God’s Word and so on. Let us teach and disciple our own kids.

If we fail to point them to God, we are missing what really matters. Ms Jenn shared this story about a mom who gives demerits to her son whenever he does not get a perfect score in his quizzes or tests. That’s a bit extreme, but I know I too have a tendency to over-emphasize the importance of grades, of answering tests correctly. I realized that when Danae had her first set of long tests this week. I felt bad because I felt like I pressured her about knowing the right answers to her test, since we already went through them. I saw her face when I showed my disappointment that she wasn’t able to answer me when I was reviewing her. Thank God it didn’t stick! I really do not want her to be pressured to do really well in school just because she wants to please me. My kid is smart. I want to trust in her abilities. I want her to enjoy test days as she enjoys ordinary school days, and not dread them. But what really matters is she learns to do the work, learns to ask God for guidance & wisdom, and eventually she learns to be excellent — to be excellent not in fear of Mommy’s wrath, but to be excellent as an overflow of her desire to please God.

We need to let little boys be little boys. Let them be active! The first thought that popped in my head was, “What if my little girl is LIKE a little boy?” Haha. Danae is super active and she can definitely run with the boys, but I guess the answer to my question is the same. Let her be her. As long as we give her boundaries, guide and discipline her, I believe it’s right to let her be herself, be who God made her to be and not make her conform to what society thinks a girl should be.

Two other points that Ptr Paolo & Ms Jenn gave were that the relationship is more important than the rules and that it has to be in you before it can be in them. Click here and here for their blogs that beautifully capture these points.

I really enjoyed this pre-conference session because it is a serious subject, one that is very close to my heart, but the speakers made it light and fun. I did not feel condemned for my mistakes, but convicted to correct them and encouraged to keep at it. I love what Ptr David said about restoration after the painful discipline. We embrace our kids, we wipe away their tears, we forgive them, we assure them of our love, because that is how our Father deals with us when we repent of our sins as well. Thank God He forgives me for all the mistakes I make, that He loves me unconditionally, that He gives me hope and grace to be a better mother. 🙂

Parenting

God’s Word to a Child

Attending the 8am service today and hearing Ptr Jun’s preaching about the authority of God’s word in our lives reinforced my plan to share about what our daughter Danae has been learning these days. As much as possible, King and I read the Bible to our girls (though Noelle doesn’t really sit and listen yet and Danae gets distracted a lot still) before bedtime. We believe that we are sowing God’s word into the hearts and minds of our daughters whether they understand it already or not, whether they listen attentively or not, whether they stay awake for the whole thing, including processing and prayer, or not.

But teaching them about God does not begin or end at Bible time. Every situation is a teaching opportunity. An ordinary moment like a ride in the car can turn into a teaching moment when we teach our kids to be thankful for what we have as they see other kids selling sampaguita or begging for money in the street, when we teach them to pray even for a mere parking space, or when we teach them about helping others as we bring friends to the bus/fx station or straight to their homes. A hilarious instance like when Danae did not listen to me during Family Camp, kept walking on mud and fell like I said she would, became a teaching moment on listening and obeying right away. There are countless opportunities to teach our children.

When Danae says that she does not love someone, either a friend or family member because they’re not being nice to her, we always remind her that the Bible says that Jesus wants us to love others (John 13:34). When we hear her complain because she wants something that a friend has even though she already has one that’s a different version, we remind her of what she learned in Kids Church — “Do not compare. Be happy. (Exodus 20:17)” When we discipline her and she says that she will obey, we remind her to let her “yes” be “yes” and let her “no” be “no” (Matt 5:37). Let’s just hope and pray that she never says “no” to obeying haha.

We’ve taught her the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17), but for some reason, only the first 5 has stuck with her. Before, every time she would see a statue or a bust, she’d point it out, say that it’s an idol, and remind us that God said to not make idols. She says “Oh my gosh” a lot but months ago, she heard someone say “Oh my god” and started copying it, jokingly even, knowing that we disapproved. Now she knows not to take God’s name in vain (or disrespect His name). We also have the R word, which is respect. All we need to say is “remember the R word?” and she immediately quotes the 5th commandment, “Respect your parents.” Though of course sometimes, it takes her getting the rod before she actually does it.

I find that it’s easier to go to the Bible to explain to Danae why something she is doing is wrong, because she accepts it as the truth. It actually matters to her what God says, and she actually wants to obey God and make Him happy. In other words, God’s word already has authority in my little girl’s life! I’m so amazed because I was nowhere near her maturity when I was her age. Of course she’s only 4 & 1/2 and acts like it a lot, but we can see that the Word of God is already at work in her life. Wow. 🙂

My Kids, Parenting

LIFE LESSONS FROM RAISING TWO PRINCESSES

When Noelle turned 4 months old, she already wanted to drink from my glass, and she would stare at food like she wanted to eat. I let her try drinking from my glass, which she was able to do, but she coughed up most of it. When I fed her with a spoon, she still didn’t know what to do with it. She didn’t even suck on it. After a doctor’s visit, I confirmed a lesson that we could apply in our lives. Even though Noelle wanted to eat and drink already, she wasn’t ready for it yet. Much like us, there are things that we want and want now, but God can’t give to us yet because we’re just not ready.

One evening, just recently, while I was helping her drink her milk, Danae was asking me if she could do something. I think I told her to finish her milk first. She has this habit of grunting and tsk-ing when she doesn’t get her way, which she did. I found myself saying “di ka kasi nag-oobey kaya ka nafu-frustrate.” Think about it. The reason why we get frustrated with life is because we do not obey God, and we’re so insistent on our way, forcing things to happen how and when we want them to.

Many times, we tell Danae to obey first before she can get what she wants. There’s nothing we enjoy more than seeing our girls happy and having fun. But sometimes they need to obey first before they can enjoy the things that make them happy. Why? Well, I can’t give my children chocolate first thing in the morning, without having breakfast first. I can’t allow them to watch tv or play computer games when they wake up, buy every toy they see in the store, let them make a mess and not clean up afterwards. Those would not be good habits to form. I can’t let them leave the house or go to sleep without brushing their teeth first. I can’t let them run around outside the house without the supervision of a trustworthy adult. I love them too much. God is the same way with us. He wants us to obey Him first, seek His kingdom first then all these things will be added to us. He loves us perfectly and knows best after all.

When Danae was around two, I heard her say when she was sitting in the corner after a rod, that she’s bad. That really broke my heart because we never said that to her and we never meant for her to feel that we thought she was bad. Right then I prayed with her and let her declare that she is a good girl. I remind her every single day that she is a good girl, despite the many rods that she gets. Now she knows it well. I wanted her to declare herself that she is a good girl so that she will remember and believe that she is good. When she believes that she is good, she will act according to what she believes. Isn’t that the same way with us adults? Sometimes we make mistakes and condemn ourselves. We start believing the lie that we are no good, unworthy, ugly or unlovable, and start acting out those beliefs. Then the cycle starts again. I say declare that you are good, that you are a new creation, changed by God! Declare it, so you’ll believe it, and then live it.

Danae is 3 and a half. The things that we discipline her for are the same things that she does over and over. It’s pretty tiring, so aside from telling her that we give her the rod because we want her to learn and we want her to learn to obey because we love her, we tell her to remember the pain of the rod. If you don’t want to get the rod because it’s owie, obey. It’s that simple. But of course, she’s only 3, so she does them again. She only remembers the pain when it’s already time for the rod. She doesn’t remember it when she’s in the middle of disobeying. If only we adults would remember the pain of disobedience too. Sometimes we act like 3-year-olds and forget God’s discipline, committing the same offenses over again. God disciplines us because He disciplines those He loves. Discipline is always painful, so let’s remember the pain!

King taught Danae this “catch phrase”, which we remind her of every time she gets the rod: REMEMBER TO LISTEN AND OBEY RIGHT AWAY. Listening, after all, requires obeying, or else it’s just hearing, and delayed obedience is still disobedience. But it doesn’t end there. I added something to that as well. When she says that sentence, I ask her “without?”, she says: WITHOUT WHINING, OR SHOUTING, OR MAKING DABOG. She must learn to obey without complaining. Can’t we all learn from this? Say it with me. REMEMBER TO LISTEN AND OBEY GOD RIGHT AWAY WITHOUT COMPLAINING. Good job hehe. 🙂