I vividly remember Nathan’s first day in highschool. That was four years ago. I said goodbye wondering if he would even survive his first hour. Nathan spent most of his gradeschool years in homeschool and some years in a small Christian school that had a population of 300. The school we enrolled him in for highschool, Ateneo de Manila University, had 40 students in a class, and 600 students for the 1st year alone!
The first few weeks of transition was not easy at all. Nathan would often plead with me to pull him out and homeschool him again. He was in a culture that was very different from what he was used to at home and in church. But Paolo and I were convinced in our hearts that he had to stay in that big school.
There were many days when Nathan would tell me he spent his lunch break in the library because someone brought an “adult” magazine to class again. He constantly faced the pressure to drink at parties and to give answers out during exams. A few times he was the topic on his classmates’ facebook thread and was being falsely judged as self-righteous because of how he stood by his convictions. These things went on for a while until I think, his classmates got used to him. And soon enough, he learned how to relate to the world while not being swallowed up by it.
As his mom, I am amazed at how Nathan remained strong and steadfast in the midst of temptation. He could never have done it on his own. God’s amazing grace in his life, our training, reminders and prayers, his spiritual family… all these things played a part. When Nathan spoke in Ignite, and declared that “My relationship with God is more valuable than any of the temporary pleasures that this world has to offer,” it dawned on me… THIS IS IT! This is what Paolo and I have been building in his life all these years, and we finally get to see it! It brings us great joy to see that our son really loves God and has a personal relationship with him! (If I boast, I boast in the Lord!)
I can never emphasize it enough… we need to make this our priority! Deuteronomy 6:5,7 says ”Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength… 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.” Our number one goal as parents is to direct our children to God. And when they have their own relationship with Him, when they love Him above all else, when they submit to His Word, we can be confident that they will ultimately choose to do what honors Him, what pleases Him, not self, not man.
Nathan started college this week. Though he’s starting strong, we want to make sure he finishes strong. Our job is not done. We need to keep nurturing his relationship with God. We need to remind him to put God first in everything. We need to keep him connected with his spiritual family. Though a good foundation has been laid, we need to keep building.
Psalm 127: 1 Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.
To read Mom the Builder (part 1), click here.
I finally got to watch the “controversial” segment from a comedian’s concert that supposedly offended one of the nation’s most respected broadcasters. I must say, I was appalled. Now I understand why it stirred up a lot of negative reactions from different groups. What made me more sad was the fact that the audience in that concert was laughing hysterically at every joke that guy was making… jokes that not only made fun of someone, but humiliated that person, and made light of something that shouldn’t really be a laughing matter such as the idea of gang rape.
I had a discussion with my children about this incident and made sure they knew that it is never right for us to have fun at the expense of others. We love to exchange jokes, we love to laugh at our mistakes, but it should never be in a way that is offensive to anyone, never in a way that makes fun of the appearance of another, never in a way that puts down another. Everyone is God’s creation and we should treat each one with respect. Ephesians 5:4 says “Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.” Ephesians 4:29 says “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” These are two verses that should guide us in the way we joke around.
That comedian obviously overstepped his boundaries. Well, I’m sure we all have too, at some point or another. Let us allow incidents like this one to help us evaluate our speech… have we used our words to build up people around us or humiliate them and tear them down? Also, what jokes are we laughing at? Not because everyone’s laughing at it means we should be laughing too.
Let’s start in the home. Do we allow teasing or name-calling among our children to go on for the sake of fun? Do we make fun of other people’s weight and size? Do we tolerate foul or indecent language? Or do we teach our children to use their words to encourage one another? And what about you? What kind of speech are you modelling for your children? I hope it’s one worth emulating. Remember, God will hold us accountable for every word that comes out of our mouth.
Summer is over and a new schoolyear is about to start. For most moms, they are breathing a sigh of relief. For them, the end of summer means they have their lives back and have more time for themselves as the kids will be in school most of the day. But as for me, and other homeschooling moms, I breath a sigh of panic and apprehension. Panic because I still have yet to complete our books and the lesson plans we will be using for the next ten months. Apprehension because once again, I face the fact that the education of our kids is in my hands and if I foul up, I wonder how they will turn out.
I think now is a good time to remind myself why we homeschool, why I choose to be their teacher than send them off to school, and why all the sacrifice is worth it. I love this article by Christian Homekeeping which clearly articulates some of the reasons why we chose to homeschool. While I don’t want to claim that homeschooling is the best and only way to educate our children, it is for these reasons we chose that route for our children in this season of our lives.
If you are a homeschooling mom, or considering to be one, or are just curious about it, you may want to read on and check out this blog. Have a great day!
But there is a kind of building that I do that is intangible…it cannot be touched, it cannot be seen, but it’s still as real… In fact, I won’t even be able to see what I’m building right away. I am building what’s inside my children… their faith and their character.
Proverbs says that “A wise woman builds her home…”
I can spend a lot of time building a business or a career, or my blog, or a name for myself. But I cannot neglect building my home, building my children.
What am I building in my children? Their education? Their musical talents or athletic ability? Their bank account? Of course all these things are important and I won’t deny that my husband and I spend a lot of time and money building these things in our kids. But at the end of our lives, what do we really want to see in our children?
I want to be a wise builder. I can get too preoccupied on the temporal and forget to build on what is eternal. With the limited time and resources I have, I need to constantly ask myself: What do I want to build in my children?
Jesus tells us what the two greatest commandments are: Love the Lord your God and love your neighbor. These are what I want to essentially build in my children: a love for God and a love for others.
If my son ends up competing in the Olympics and brings home the gold, but does not love God above all else, or if my daughter lands a role in Broadway but does not love others, I would have failed at building. To the world, this would sound like a success, yes, but, not to God. And not to me too. Because I have decided to live by God’s standards, not the world’s. My building code is God’s word.
What about you? What are you building?
Don’t we all wish that our kids would just take our word for every situation in life? When Nathan was two years old, he was very fascinated with the electric fan. Everyday, he would go near it and slowly extend his arm to try to touch it until he would hear us tell him firmly “No, don’t touch that!” We repeatedly told him, reminded him and explained to him what could happen until one day, while I was cooking in the kitchen, I heard a loud cry and saw Nathan with blood dripping from his fingers. If he had just taken our word for it.
We tell our child not to run on that slippery floor, and yet he does and falls. We tell him to study more and he doesn’t and he fails his test. We tell him to stay away from a particular girl and he doesn’t and that relationship gets messy. We tell him not to spend his savings on that gadget and he does and he realizes the waste.
I like how Julie Hiramine, founder of Generations of Virtue, puts it: sometimes our children choose “experience over knowledge.” I couldn’t agree more. Our children can be spared from a lot of pain if they would just listen to us. But reality is, they will not always do as they are told and they will just have to learn the hard way. The important thing is they learn – whether through the easy way or the hard way.
What do we do when our children choose experience over knowledge? It is so tempting to turn our backs and say “I told you so. You should have listened to me in the first place. Now you deal with that.” But our children must know that we will stand with them through the ups and downs of their lives. We need to walk it out with our children even in the situations where the mess is brought about by their own disobedience. We need to comfort them in their pain, help them face the consequences of their actions and process the lessons they can learn from the situation.
While we don’t want our children to disobey, we can still benefit from their disobedience by using the situation to teach them the important lessons they have to learn and allowing it to strengthen our relationship with them.
I was really looking forward to attending the seminar of Ms. Darlene Sala, a pastor’s wife, author and international conference speaker, along with other pastor’s wives. I knew that she would have so much wisdom to share about marriage, family and ministry.
Over lunch, I asked her what one advice she could give us about raising children. And this was what she said: “If I had the chance to do things over, I would play with my children more.”
The simplicity of her answer caught me by surprise. But I think I get what she was talking about.
Though we know that parenting is not all about fun, I think all moms can agree that we can be so uptight sometimes. We get so stressed over our to-do list and ignore our kids who just want to enjoy a few minutes with us. Sometimes keeping the house neat and tidy is more important than allowing our kids room to play around and have fun. Other times, it’s keeping ourselves neat and tidy that gets in the way. We don’t want to wrinkle our clothes or mess up our hair when all our child wants is some playtime on the bed or floor. We just tend to take life too seriously.
If you ask my daughter Janina about one of her most memorable trips, she would say it was when we brought her to Hong Kong when she was 4 years old. Ask her why, and she would talk about the “Captain Hook” game she played with her dad in the hotel room. Dad was Captain Hook and she was Jane and Captain Hook put her in a sack (blanket) and carried her around the room. It wasn’t the theme parks, nor the shopping, but it was playtime with dad that stuck with her.
Two words I want to remind us today: Relax and play. When was the last time you laughed with your kids? There are tons of things we can do with them: play dress-up, make up songs, hide and seek, shower in the rain, play pranks, blow bubbles, role play, water balloon fight, pillow fight, dance together. There are no limits to your imagination. Don’t worry if you look silly. Just have fun with your kids.
This is a picture of what unforgiveness does to us. God wants us to live a full life, to soar to greater heights, but we allow the hurts and offenses of the past to weigh us down.
We have one life to live… forgive. God wants us to enjoy life and build memories with the people He has put in our lives. How many birthdays, anniversaries, reunions have we missed because of the hurt and anger we’ve nursed in our hearts all these years?
As we enter the Christmas season, it is a good time to check our hearts. Have we harboured unforgiveness toward someone? Now is a good time to let go. Forgiving will not make the person who hurt you right, but it will make you free! Free to receive everything God has for you! Free to be who God wants you to be!
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you
I have a confession to make. My four-year old son Joaquin is confused about Christmas. He was out with me grocery shopping and was excitedly admiring all the Christmas decors that adorned the supermarket when he exclaimed “Santa is the king of Christmas!” I was shocked at his statement. I felt like my child blurted out some kind of heresy ! (Okay, okay, I’m over-reacting, I know. He is, in fact, only 4.) Of course I couldn’t just let that kind of statement slip, so I corrected him on the spot and said that it’s not Santa, but JESUS.
This incident reminded me of one important reality… that it is easy for our children to miss out on the real PERSON behind Christmas. Everywhere you go, the Christmas spirit is in the air, decorations of Santa and reindeers and evergreens are all over, but nowhere will you find Jesus. Only very occasionally do we see the nativity scene on display when it is really the birth of Jesus that we celebrate. Without Jesus, there is no Christmas. Without Christmas, there is no salvation for mankind.
There are only 48 days to go ’til Christmas. Before the season gets really busy, before I bring out the decors and shop for presents, I need to spend time reminding and explaining to my children, especially the younger ones, what Christmas is all about.
For ideas, check out this blog.