Just My Thoughts

Public Speaking Workshop

Last month, our group of pastors wives had a basic public speaking workshop led by our church mate, Tisha Timbang, who is a member of the Toastmasters Club! To be perfectly honest, I am terrified of speaking in public. I get too nervous even when it’s just a classroom setting, and I’m the student and not the teacher! Maybe it brings me back to when I was a child and my teachers would choose me to represent my class in elocution contests. I don’t know why I ever agreed to any of them when I was never really good at it and I never placed, let alone won. Maybe I could speak English well, but that was it. Always awkward, always nervous in front of a crowd.

Dont get me wrong. Now I love teaching, especially alongside my husband (he makes me feel more at ease in front of other people), and I consider it a privilege to be able to do so. It truly is a testament of Gods grace, because even with my awkwardness and my anxiety, He uses me anyway.

There are two important things that I learned from our guest speaker, Neb Perez, on day 1. (Wasn’t able to attend day 2 because Gianna was sick that week.) The first one is pretty basic. At first it didnt make much of an impact on me, but the more I thought about it, the more I got it. He said public speaking is for the public. Pretty obvious. But what he was trying to teach us was that when we speak to an audience, it is for their benefit, not the speaker’s.

As speakers or teachers or victory group leaders or with whatever speaking/teaching opportunity you and I are given, our focus should be the people, not ourselves. What they need to hear, and not what we fear about how were going to appear. How they can understand the topic better, and not what would make us look smarter or more skilled. Knowing our audience is key. Of course Ned also said to stay true to who we are, to talk how we normally talk, which is liberating for me as I have zero acting skills. Our main goal is to make sure our audience understands what we are trying to say. Its not about showcasing our talent or our amazing life, or impressing them with how much we know or how fast we can talk or how eloquently we speak. It’s about informing them, sharing to them, teaching them, influencing them, inspiring them, imparting to them. We cant stay in our own heads either and just go on and on until we finish what we have prepared to say. We need to make eye contact, observe, connect with, and in our case minister to, the people listening to us.

I also realize that when we get feedback, we must still have the public in mind. To enable us to set aside our egos and focus on their needs. When the focus is off of ourselves, it enables us to receive critique, not reject it. We need feedback to continually improve in getting the message across to people, clearly and correctly, especially when the message we carry is Gods Word and the work He does in our lives.

Ned also gave us 4 questions to ask ourselves before speaking, to adjust our mindset. He said that the moment you think you don’t need to ask yourself those questions is the exact time you need to. For me though, it wasn’t so much the questions he gave, but the practice of checking oneself. In other words, heart-check. What a great reminder to realign ourselves with what God wants us to do right before we actually do it. Remind yourself why you’re speaking. Remind yourself who its for. Remind yourself who gave you the ability and the opportunity. Remind yourself to whom the glory belongs.

In one word, HUMILITY. Public speaking is a privilege and a big responsibility. It may be earned based on your skill or your story, but definitely it is still God who places you there. Definitely it is still God who gave you your abilities. Definitely it is still because of God that you have a story to tell. Let’s remember this well and remain humble. Public speaking is just another tool. Jesus is still the goal. Jesus in you. And Jesus through you.

 

10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:10-11

 

 

 

Family, Just My Thoughts, My Kids, MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY, Parenting, THE BRAINY BUNCH

Culture of Generosity

We were peacefully watching a movie early last night when some kids came up to our gate. I asked our helper to go out and see what they needed. My curious girls ran to the window to take a look too.

Danae ran back to me, telling me that the kids are hungry. She excitedly said that we should give them the extra can of cookies we had. I just nodded and gave her the can. Our helper handed it to the kids outside as my girls watched from the window.

I read somewhere that we shouldn’t always give out compliments or be generous with our “good jobs!” to our kids. I can’t remember exactly why but I suppose it’s because it might teach them to be complacent or lazy, thinking their mediocre work is great. I suppose also that it may teach them to seek praise for every little thing they do, and as a result, they will not have the drive to do anything unless they are praised.

After what Danae did, I chose not to say anything. I believe that we have always encouraged generosity through our words and actions and have applauded it as well. But today, I wanted to teach her that her act was not extraordinary, and that in our family, it should not be extraordinary — it should be normal.

About 3 hours later, of course, I had to at least acknowledge what she did. It wasn’t right not to. There was no need to gush or make a huge deal out of it. I just gave her a hug and told her she did a good thing. She just smiled and went back to what she was doing.

Giving encouraging words is normal in our family. It’s our culture. I understand the concern about our part as parents in promoting mediocrity and a lack of motivation, when we over-compliment our kids. But I think that deliberately withholding praise is not the key. Excellence, hard work, and joy can still result from encouragement, if done truthfully and with a sense of normality. Our kids get used to being praised, and they also get used to constructive criticism and correction. It’s a matter of balance. The true key, though, is teaching our kids that we do not do things to seek praise from men, but to serve the Lord.

Our hope is that our girls get used to giving and sharing, whether they’re thanked for it or not, whether they are applauded or just hi-fived or not acknowledged at all. That even though nobody notices, they know God sees and that is enough.

Because excellence, hard work, joy, kindness, service, love are an overflow of the fullness of Christ in one’s life, generosity, exercised with wisdom, should be, will be, if it isn’t already, our family’s culture too.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 2:23-24

He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done. Proverbs 19:17

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:35

The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:45

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

We Weren’t Invited!

Some time last year, we were looking at pictures of a party posted on Facebook.

Danae: Aww, how come we weren’t there?
Me: Oh because we weren’t invited, love.
Danae: Why?!
Me: It’s okay, babe. We don’t always have to be invited.
Danae: But why? Did they forget us?
Me: No. Of course they haven’t forgotten you, but remember, not everybody will be invited to everything.

Danae was a bit bummed, but she quickly let go of it. My theory is she didn’t see either me or King feel bad or offended by it — something that we have learned through the years.

It’s true that with parenting, more is caught than taught. Our children pick up so many things from us, both good and bad. Because we spend the most time with them, our influence is just massive. It’s up to us to be responsible and conscious of what we pass on to them. Will we let them get our fears and insecurities? Or will we teach them, encourage them to respond better by getting over our own fears and insecurities?

Will we reinforce their feelings of rejection by showing them our disappointment or self-pity? Or even through the occasional disappointment, which of course everybody feels sometimes, will we comfort them and teach them to battle rejection by showing them acceptance and understanding — that it’s okay to not be part of every party that each of our friends will have?

Will we teach them to feel entitled, that they or our family should always be invited? Or will we teach them to be grateful for the events that we are privileged to be part of?

Will we teach them to hold grudges or harbor ill feelings towards other people? Or will we help them understand that not being invited does not mean we are unloved, unwanted, unimportant, unappreciated or forgotten? That not being invited does not diminish their value?

Will we teach them to find security in the love and acceptance of other people? Or will we teach them to be secure in their identity in Christ?

What do we want to pass on to our children, and what would we want them to pass on to theirs? Let’s be aware. Let’s be responsible. Let’s be deliberate.

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:4-9


Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6

Homeschooling, My Kids, Parenting, THE BRAINY BUNCH

Perks of Homeschooling — Opportunities

Sparks Homeschoolers have had a tradition of putting up a bazaar during the Christmas season for the last 3 or 4 years. This year, they had the opportunity to do it in a commercial place called Soderno, a big tent open only on weekends for food and bazaars in Molito Lifestyle Center.

King and I also decided to take the opportunity to join so that Danae would learn a thing or two. It was my very first time to experience the whole thing as a seller, and I enjoyed it! It wasn’t a really busy place like other bazaars, so it wasn’t so stressful for me. Danae actually enjoyed playing with her friends and sister, while I manned our booth haha. I was able to teach her some about money, math and work. I learned a lot myself, and it was sort of a dream come true as I have always wanted to own a “sari-sari” (convenience) store. King always tells me it would never work because my kids and I will be the top customers haha.

I was so impressed by the older kids who manned their own booths! Watching and listening to them made it more fun for me. I loved talking to the other moms there as well. I loved that some of our homeschoolers showcased their talents by jamming with the acoustic act in the food area, and then they had their own jamming session in our area.

If not for homeschooling and for Sparks, this wouldn’t have been possible for us. We are grateful for the opportunity to teach, to learn, not to mention earn. We will definitely be joining again next year. Maybe then I would be ready with some of my own creations. 🙂

Danae in front of our booth. One of the very few times that she was haha. :)
Danae in front of our booth. One of the very few times that she was haha. 🙂
Danae and Noelle's booth! We sold all kinds of things -- toys, stickers, pouches, awesome notebook and notepad covers, hand sanitizers, colognes, hand washes, and bags. :)
Danae and Noelle’s booth! We sold all kinds of things — toys, stickers, pouches, awesome notebook and notepad covers, hand sanitizers, colognes, hand washes, and bags. 🙂
Our beautiful notebook covers, created by my friend Donna Gaddi. :)
Our beautiful notebook covers, created by my friend Donna Gaddi. 🙂
Sam Battung's booth! She sold their own creations, from little trays and accessories to arts & crafts kits and little knick knacks. :)
Sam’s booth! She sold their (they are a family of very creative individuals) own creations, from little trays and accessories to arts & crafts kits and little knick knacks. 🙂
Andee and Julia's booth! Julia sold ballet-themed items, consistent with her being a ballerina. Andee sold other cute bags and wallets. :)
Andee and Julia’s booth! Julia sold ballet-themed items, consistent with her being a ballerina. Andee sold other cute bags and wallets, her mom’s creations. 🙂
Elise's booth! She and her mom sold Christmas bowls and plates, among other things. I actually bought some from them haha. :)
Elise’s booth! She and her mom sold Christmas bowls and plates, among other things. I actually bought some from them haha. 🙂
Matthew's booth, with sister Micah modelling! His mom sold shirts and accessories. :)
Matthew’s booth, with sister Micah modelling! His mom sold shirts and accessories. 🙂
Spring's booth! She and her mom sold framed art works. :)
Spring’s booth! She and her mom sold framed art works. 🙂
Spring and Sam's Grandma's booth! She sold quilts that she herself made. Told you they're a family of creative individuals! :)
Spring and Sam’s Grandma’s booth! She sold quilts that she herself made. Told you they’re a family of creative individuals! 🙂
Chuck's booth! He sold his mom's creations called Scentiments -- body oils and room sprays. :)
Chuck’s booth! He sold his mom’s creations called Scentiment — body oils and room sprays. Really great fragrances. 🙂
Yela's booth! She, her sister and mom sold shirts, colognes, credit card holders. :)
Yela’s booth! She, her sister and mom sold shirts, colognes, credit card holders. King bought little hand sanitizers from them. 🙂
Amber's booth! She sold stickers and notepads. her tattoos were my kids' favorite. Danae still has one on her clavicle, which she put over 2 weeks ago. :)
Amber’s booth! She sold stickers and notepads. Her tattoos were my kids’ favorite. Danae still has one on her clavicle, which she put over 2 weeks ago. 🙂
Trey's booth! He and his partner Joaquin, sold his awesome HASHTAG shirts. :)
Trey’s booth! He and his partner Joaquin, sold his awesome HASHTAG shirts. 🙂
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.

Just My Thoughts, Parenting

DAYUHAN KA BA SA IYONG SARILING BAYAN?

This was how I felt when the Luceros decided to visit Luneta Park after a children’s party last night. I was pretty excited because the last time I was there was around 10 years ago when I attended the Jesus Revolution. The last time I was in front of our national hero Jose Rizal’s monument was probably when I was in grade school. Aside from an opportunity to spend time with the family, little did I know that it was an opportunity to be “re-educated.”

I did not realize that many people still really hang out in Luneta. They, lovers, families and barkadas alike, were having picnics, complete with mats, food, drinks, and games. I think I rarely did that with my family when I was very young, and I’m sure I never did that with my friends growing up. The fact that Luneta is actually where Rizal was executed, never made an impact on me until yesterday. It’s such a historical place and event that we ought to take pride in it and teach our kids about it. I was pleasantly surprised to discover, too, that they regularly show the reenactment of Rizal’s execution. We must catch that one of these days. The fee is only 50 pesos.

We saw the dancing fountain, with all its lights and music. It was no Belaggio, but pretty nonetheless. It was my first time. I was surprised to see Concert at the Park there too! I felt like a total ignoramos, I tell you. I’d seen it broadcast on tv before, but I had no clue that “the Park” was Luneta. We were able to sit and watch a performance by the Magsaysay High School Chorale. They were awesome! Anyone can catch the fountain and the concerts for free. You get an important piece of history, some entertainment, and a dose of Philippine culture and good old Filipino fun.

So why did I miss all this? Am I that citified? Sadly, yes. Though I’m not the type who can’t rough it out in a 1-star hotel, motel or resort, that’s just it. Staying in such places is already roughing it out?? Not that anything’s wrong with that, since I know people who really prefer to visit and stay in high end spots. And don’t get me wrong, I love being able to enjoy such luxuries, even if we’re just “riding along.” But I believe it has somewhat hindered my sense of adventure to discover and experience the beauty of our own country, the beauty of our own people and culture. It may have kept me trapped in my comfort zone, thinking that it’s not worth my time or effort. Sure, I understand that going to public parks can be a hassle, especially with kids in tow — running into too many people and all kinds of people, seeing a lot of trash left all over by undisciplined people, having no decent nearby bathroom to use, the possibility of getting pick pocketed — but it shouldn’t stop us from educating our kids about their country, their history as Filipinos, by exposing them to such places.

Even though visiting Luneta didn’t really make a historical impact on them yet, my kids enjoyed the trip, especially because all their cousins were there. If we visit such parks often enough, I’m sure they’ll pick up the history and a love for their own country, not to mention learn so many other things — from throwing trash properly and having a sense of ownership, to not looking down on others who are less fortunate and being thankful for what they have. I don’t want my children to be ignorant. I don’t want them to be foreigners in their own land.

Just My Thoughts

Instead of critiquing me, why don’t you teach me?

My heart is just bursting right now. I have mixed feelings about a lot of things. It’s one thing to be the one receiving criticisms, judgments, doubts and the like, but it’s another thing when it’s directed at loved ones. It’s more hurtful and I feel quite helpless. But putting myself in my loved ones’ shoes, these are the questions that enter my mind. Is it human nature? Is it a disease or like a virus? Is it normal? Does every institution experience this? Must I accept it as it is? Where is the support? Where is your faith in my potential? What happened to taking risks, allowing mistakes? What happened to grace and humility? What happened to working as a team? What happened to valuing each team member? What happened to mentoring? What happened to being personal? When was the last time you asked me how I was? What happened to honesty & openness? What happened to unity & family? Why do I feel alone in this? Instead of showing me that you know better, why don’t you put yourself in my shoes first? Instead of just telling me what you see wrong, why don’t you help me? Instead of critiquing me, why don’t you teach me?

Then it dawned on me. I have asked these questions at one time or another as a wife and as a mom. Hahahaha. Sigh. I guess it does exist in every institution. But I do not accept it as it is and I do pray for change, for growth and progress. Thank God for His support, for His faith in me, for His mercy, for His grace, for His humility, for His love. Without Him, I wouldn’t be able to survive, much less thrive or succeed. I am somewhat sad, hurt and disappointed, but I am hopeful. “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” Psalm 118:8



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. 🙂