PARENTAL CONTROLS

It happens to a lot of parents… they come home from work, check the history of their computer, and see dozens of websites listed that were not supposed to be visited. But their kids checked them out nonetheless, mainly because they were curious.

It is not unusual for our kids to hear a joke or a word from school or from TV and wonder what that means, so they go straight to the laptop and google it, then one website leads to another, and before they know it, they’re in sites that even adults shouldn’t be going to. Even innocent, unsuspecting kids who are not even searching for these websites can be misled or misdirected to p0rn sites.

In this internet age, everything is accessible to our kids. That’s why we need to be proactive and do what we can to protect them from dangers of the world wide web. If your child has unrestricted internet access, he can accidentally or deliberately view dirty websites. I once read that 7 out of 10 teenagers accidentally come across p0rn sites on the web.

Thankfully, there are parental controls, filtering or monitoring technology which block access to dangerous sites. If you are using a Mac, parental control is available in the System Preferences. Even iPads give you the option to limit your children’s access to the movies, music and applications they download. You can also opt to use an internet safe browswer, which I did, like BSecure, which automatically blocks prn sites. (PC’s might have something like this too like K9 Web Protection.) There are also softwares that can track the websites your computer visits and it alerts you if a p0rn site has been visited (x3watch.com).

Aside from teaching your child the boundaries of internet use, let us make use of the filtering and monitoring software available to help us protect our kids from internet dangers.

STEPPING OUT OF THE WAY

Sometimes it seems the easiest thing to do is to give our child what he wants and make him happy. It is such a temptation to be the answer to our child’s wants and needs rather than teaching him to believe God for it or to work for it.

When our daughter, Janina, got her new puppy, Briggie, it wasn’t without faith, hardwork and tears.  When she first brought up the idea of getting a Maltese, we told her that she will have to use her own savings. Not only that, we wanted her to be the one to look for one that is affordably priced. Paolo and I thought that this would be good training for her. We would pray with her for the puppy but we expected her to do all the legwork necessary.

We saw Janina spending hours online and on the phone looking for a Maltese and comparing prices.  She learned what questions to ask the sellers and how to haggle for a lower price. There were nice, accommodating people and rude to very rude people, and she learned to deal with all kinds. One night, after weeks of doing that, she was in tears because she couldn’t find one that fit her budget. It was at this point when Paolo and I almost gave in, and thought of just raising the money ourselves to help out our little girl. But somehow a voice inside us told us to step out of the way and teach Janina to wait on God and believe Him for His provision. Janina was already getting impatient and desperate, yet God commanded us to stay away from the situation. That is not always easy for us parents especially when we see our child distraught and discouraged.  We realized that this was as much a lesson for us as parents as it was for Janina.

A few days after that incident, Janina auditioned for the musical “Sound of Music.” Thank God for His favor, Janina made it! With the money that she will earn, she could finally buy the Maltese she’s been wanting and be able to pay even for the dog’s food for life :D. No wonder God told us to step out of the way–He has already set His plan in motion!

I think about that and wonder what would have happened if we took matters into our hands and made things happen for Janina. Then Janina would have missed out on experiencing first hand the faithfulness of her Heavenly Father as her provider. And we as parents would have missed God’s assurance for us that He will take care of our children.

I realize that sometimes our goal for our children is so short-term. They want something, we give it to them. They’re happy. End of story. But God is not just concerned about our children getting what they want and making them happy.  He wants our children to get to know Him better and to grow in their faith as they wait upon Him. He wants a relationship with our children.

“Oh how great is the love the Father has lavished on us!”

SORRY KUYA

Ryan was so excited to discover 4 new sea monkeys in his mini aquarium when Joaquin accidentally knocked the whole thing over!

As Ryan was crying, I told Joaquin to apologize to his kuya and kidded him that he had to give him money to buy new ones. Joaquin apologized and quickly disappeared.

The next thing I saw was Joaquin giving his whole piggy bank to Ryan.

STORIES I LOVE TO HEAR

If your faith needs a boost, I want you to read this story. It may be a little lengthy but it is such a great testimony of God’s faithfulness and provision.

I called my friend the other day to ask her how she was doing, since her eldest and only daughter just left to study in the US. Her daughter graduated top of her class in highschool and was granted a scholarship in one of the universities in California. Naturally, she was filled with emotion, with a lot of thoughts running through her head, such as “Will she make it without me?” Her only consolation was to hope they could raise enough funds for her daughter to come home next year and spend the summer with the family.

Now she relates this story to me… Her husband was the one who accompanied her daughter on the flight and will help her get settled in her new would be home for the next four years. Before they left, funny as it sounds, they were told to dress up nicely for the flight so that they have a greater chance to be upgraded to business class. But unfortunately, they were stuck in economy class for the first leg of the trip. Once in Japan, the airline personnel announced that the flight to the US was overbooked and they needed volunteers to stay the night in Japan and take the flight the next day instead in exchange for $600 travel voucher per person and free hotel accommodation. Her husband thought, “This is enough to cover one round trip ticket. My daughter can come home next year!” So this father and daughter team happily volunteered. The next step was to get a one day visa to Japan since they had to leave the airport to go to the hotel. And this is the anti-climactic part… they were not granted visas!! 🙁 And their hearts sank.

With the kind of disappointment that normally comes with the non-fulfillment of one’s hopes and dreams, they walked back to the airline personnel to explain about the visa situation and say that they had to be on the flight after all. And this is where it gets exciting! Even if they were not able to give up their seats, as a token of their goodwill to volunteer, the airline still gave them two $600 travel vouchers!! And not only that, they were both upgraded to business class!! And they got to fly to the US as scheduled! In short, they got the travel vouchers and the upgrade at no cost at all!! Now, how awesome is that?!!

If you are a child of God, your setbacks in life are really divine set-ups for God to step right into your situation and turn things around for your favor!

Psalm 5:12 (NIV)
Surely, LORD, you bless the righteous;
you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

Civics Review

While reviewing today:
Me: Where do Ilonggos come from?
Janina: Ilonggapo!
Me: What do you call the people from Cebu?
Ryan: Cebuyas!
Oh my… We have a long way to go…

ALMOST A HOTDOG

Joaquin picked up our puppy, Briggie, walked towards the microwave oven, and said “I’ll cook Briggie.” Fortunately, I was there to stop him.

THE ABILITY TO UNDERSTAND

Think about this for a moment… What would you say if your son comes home one day and says he feels bad for losing the student council elections? Or if your daughter says that one of her classmates don’t like her?

I bet you would tell him “That’s ok. There’s always next time.” And you would have told her “You really can’t please everyone. There will always be people who will not like you.”

How we respond to our kids when they open up to us is crucial if we want them to keep that openness. Oftentimes I find myself giving “pat on the back” answers like “It’s gonna be okay” or sounding preachy and saying statements like “You know you should just forgive.” What I’ve realized over the years is, though there will be a time and a need for answers like that, what our kids initially need is our empathy. They need to know that we are not too old or too distant to understand what they are going through. They need to know that we can understand what they are feeling. They need to know that they can vent out their feelings to us without being judged or being preached to. I guess that’s why there is a “communication gap” between parents and children… when both parties fail to make the effort to understand each other.

We need to make sure our kids feel relief and comfort when they open up to us, not guilt or condemnation or frustration. And so whenever they share things to me about their day,  I try to ask them first “How does that make you feel?” or say “I know how you feel.” And I also try to remember similar experiences from my past and relate to them how I handled the situation. By doing this, we connect with them on an emotional level and show them that we do understand what they are going through. That’s really the main reason why they vent out in the first place… to know that there’s someone who understands.

BE A STUDENT OF YOUR CHILD

When I graduated from college, I was glad to be done with books and research and studying. But four years after, when I was pregnant with our first child, I found myself devouring books again, but this time with excitement and eagerness. I found myself, yet again, being a student… a student of my children.

For the first time last week, I played NBA on the PS3. I stayed away from it all these years because the buttons just looked so complicated. But my son Ryan persisted, and I found myself enjoying the game with him.

The older my children get, the more I realize I need to spend time to know them and to know about them. Not only do I need to study how they develop physiologically, but I need to understand their temperaments and their individual preferences. I need to learn what motivates them and what discourages them. I need to learn to play the games they play and sing the songs they sing. I need to get help from other parents who can help me train and discipline my children.

I wished they had Motherhood 101 in college. I didn’t realize that I had so much more to learn until I became a mom. I am glad that there are so many resources available to us now… books, blogs, parenting seminars… they are easily accessible. And spend a lot, lot, lot of time with our kids so we can discover the person they are and are becoming. If we want to be effective in what we do, we should never stop learning and getting to know our kids.