LEARNING A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT

As I write this blog, I am listening to Janina practice “The Climb” on the guitar. She started her lessons today. A few years ago, she took piano lessons. I always enjoy it when I’m doing my stuff at home and at the background is one of my kids practicing on the piano or guitar. Paolo and I have always wanted our children to learn to play the piano or the guitar or whatever musical instrument that our children will take a liking to.   I remember reading about it years ago that learning to play a musical instrument engages both hemispheres of the brain. Playing an instrument involves art and math. It involves emotion and logic. It develops both the left and right side of the brain.  Playing a musical instrument also boosts your child’s memory.

Playing the piano improves fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination in children. It helps improve their concentration. It teaches them discipline and encourages them to persevere and stay at a task. It also boosts their self-esteem and confidence when they know they have considerably mastered an instrument and can play before an audience. Daily music practice will also give them something to fight idleness.

Not all kids will show interest in learning a musical instrument, and you should never force your child, but if your child seems to want to try it, then let him.  Music lessons can be costly but if you look hard enough, I’m sure you can find something that will fit your budget. And there are always free lessons on YouTube.

Our children may never become  concert pianists or go professional but we want them to reap  the benfits of music lessons that go beyond classroom education. Plus it always refreshes our souls whenever we hear our children play their music.

Psalm 150:3–4 (NKJV)

3 Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; Praise Him with the lute and harp!4 Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!

EDUCATE YOUR HELPERS

While we were homeschooling this morning, a bird all of a sudden flew into the room. While Janina and Ryan squealed in delight at the sight of the bird, I started to freak out and called the helpers to catch it. I guess Joaquin picked up on my reaction and was acting nervously. So I tried my best to remain calm while frozen in one corner waiting for the bird to be caught because I didn’t want to pass on my fear to him. It was quite a funny sight as two of our helpers ran to and fro with their towels desperately trying to trap the frightened bird. After a few minutes, the chase was over. And the bird was caught.

birdI saw Joaquin curiously watching from the background and I knew he wanted to hold the bird but was unsure. The older one of our helpers then said “Takot si Joaquin sa ibon.” (Joaquin is afraid of the bird.) She didn’t say it just once, but twice or thrice. That’s when I told her to stop and explained to her that saying things like that does not do anything good for the child. I was glad she understood me right away and she started to tell Joaquin “Kaya mo yan Joaquin!” (You can do it Joaquin!) After a few more coaxing from all of us, Joaquin finally held the bird. The helper saw for herself the result of positive encouragement.

As much as our helpers are a huge blessing to us, we need to recognize the bad habits they bring with them into our homes. Because they live with us, they have constant interaction with our kids and can therefore have some influence on them. They say things to our children that are commonly said where they come from like “May mumu dyan (there’s a ghost there) or hindi ka na love ni mama mo (your mom doesn’t love you anymore.) A lot of them don’t mean any harm, they just don’t know any better. It is part of our responsibility to educate them and make them better at their jobs.

FATHER’S DAY

Today, I want to honor 2 special men in my life.

First is my dad, who showed me what it means to love unconditionally. I knew that no matter what I did, he would always accept me and stand by me. I thank him especially for the legacy of faith that he left with us. In good times and in bad, he held on to God and I think that is the best thing a father could impart to his children. I wish that he was still alive. I would very much want my own kids to see for themselves how a great person he was. He was a very funny guy, I know he would always be making my children laugh!

The second person I want to honor is my husband, Paolo, the father of our four children. Honestly, and I am not just saying this because Paolo is my husband, but I have never really met anybody who has had more determination to become a great father than Paolo. Even before our first child was born, he did all he can to equip himself to be a good dad. He read books, he attended seminars and met with other dads! He has really embraced his role as father and has put his family on the top list of his priorities. As busy as he is with work, he makes it a point to be there for the kids- for their games, recitals, for wrestle fights on the bed, for ice cream take outs, for movie dates, for laugh trips, for serious talks and discipline… He imparts godly values to the kids by living them out.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads reading this!!

GOODBYE SUMMER, HELLO HOMESCHOOL

I love summer! I love vacation. I love going out of town. I love late nights and sleeping in. I love not having an agenda for the day but just to laze around with my kids. But these things have come to an end. At least for now. Goodbye summer.

Hello homeschool. It’s been a while since we last homeschooled. 3 years to be exact. But now, we find ourselves again in this season where Paolo and I feel that the kids have to be taught at home by us, mostly me. I’m nervous, yet excited. There are a lot of adjustments to be made, but it seems that all of us are up to the challenge. We’ll see. 🙂

FROGS

While I had to go out for some meetings, I sent the kids to Marikina Riverbanks. This is what I came home to.

FROGS

LESSONS FROM THE PARENTS OF MOSES

We all know Moses and  how he led the Israelites out of Egypt. The plagues, parting the red sea, the pillars of fire, manna from heaven, water from a rock… we love to hear those stories. To a lot of kids, Moses is a Bible hero, who did a lot of mighty exploits for God. But last Sunday in church, the spotlight was on Moses’ parents. Not a lot of us realize that beginning with very important decisions that his parents made, God’s plans for his life was set forth in motion.

Hebrews 11:23 (NIV) reads:

23 By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.

One inconspicuous verse, but one that is so packed with major parenting principles.

By faith. A lot of the things we do as parents that really make a difference in our children’s lives are those that are done in faith. Discipline is an act of faith. Homeschooling is an act of faith. Going against the world’s standards and setting a higher standard for our kids is an act of faith. Moses’ parents were not afraid of the king’s edict. By faith, they did not fear men, and what men could do to them. There will be certain decisions we will have to make that might not win the approval of man. But by faith we do them anyway, trusting that God is able to accomplish His purposes in my child’s life.

Moses’ parents hid him for three months. Moses’ parents protected him. Our children are under attack. Satan and this world have no good plans for our children. They don’t want what’s best for them. We know, in God’s wisdom, what’s best for our kids. Let us do our best to protect them from bad company, from media that can easily corrupt their minds, and from everything else that stands in the way of them fulfilling God’s purposes.

They saw he was no ordinary child. Vision. How do you see your kids now and in the future? Sometimes it is difficult to see past their mess and whining and disobedience. I always pray that God will enable me to see my children through His eyes. We can always dream of wealth and fame for our children, but more than anything, I want to understand what God has destined for them to do. I want only what God wants for them. It is only when the vision is clear and alive in our minds that we can persevere in the hard work of training and disciplining our children.

Three simple principles: Faith, Protection, Vision. When we make the right decisions early on, who knows how our children can be used by God in the future?