MOMENTS I LOOK FOR

There are many reasons why we love homeschooling. Over the next few weeks and months, I will be talking to you about each one of them. But today, let me tell you what’s on top of my list.

Homeschooling allows us more time to address the issues of our children’s hearts.

Ryan's sorry note

Some of our children’s behavioral problems go unnoticed and are not dealt with simply because we are not there. But since our kids are home most of the time, and we are intereacting most of the day, I am able to spot character flaws and bad attitudes and can deal with them right away.

Arguing, whining, complaining, fighting between siblings, sarcasm, temper tantrums, laziness, impatience, lack of respect for parents… these are only the external behavior that indicate what is inside their hearts. These behaviors are only the fruit of heart issues like selfishness, pride, ungratefulness. If Ryan gives me a snide remark during class, I have no problem dropping my curriculum so I can deal with his sarcasm.  I am on the lookout for moments like these, when I can go beyond math and science, and address their heart.

It is never easy when I’d have to deal with my children’s wrong attitudes. It can be physically tiring and emotionally draining. And when it gets messy, those are the times I start questioning our decision to homeschool. Thoughts like “My life would be so much easier if they were in a regular school” enter my mind. But when I get back to my senses, I realize that this is precisely why we chose to homeschool – so we can have an upperhand on developing their character.

To educate our children means to form their minds and shape their hearts. Too often we get caught up with the academic side of it. To me that is the easier part. Whether our children are in homeschool or regular school, we as parents, with God’s grace and wisdom, need to work hard at shaping their hearts.

OUR LITTLE ONES HAVE PREFERENCES TOO

PhotobucketWhen Joaquin turned two, his yaya (nanny) had to leave because she was due to give birth in a few months. I was anxious about Joaquin adjusting to the new one I hired. True enough, I saw how Joaquin acted rudely towards her. When she would just start to approach him, he would shout “Go away!” And when she would be close enough, Joaquin would slap her on the face. Something that Joaquin never really did to any of us.

What do you do in a situation like this?

While it was completely wrong for Joaquin to shout and hit a person like that, I understood why he did it. He simply didn’t like that person. Not because he’s just a baby means that he should like everyone instantly. Whether this concerns a house helper, or a tita, or a playmate, we need to respect their personal preferences too.  Shouting and hitting is their way to express what they cannot verbally articulate yet…that they just dont want to be forced to be held or even be near someone they don’t like.

So two things I did. First, I disciplined him for shouting and hitting. I didn’t want him to think that it was okay  to hurt someone that he didn’t like, because rudeness is an unacceptable behavior. Second, I looked for another yaya. I showed him I respected his feelings by not forcing anyone on him that he wasn’t comfortable with. Thank God it didn’t take me that long to find the yaya whom he openly welcomed!

Just as we as adults have preferences in terms of people we spend time with or allow to come close to us, young children do too. And we need to respect that.

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. 🙂

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?

Oh Time, Would You Please Slow Down?

Nathan getting ready to leave for the airport
Janina off to boot camp with her friends Justine, Niq and Julia.

As I write this, my 3 older kids are out of the house. Nathan just left for Macau for a mission trip, Janina is in Caliraya for the summer boot camp and Ryan is at his best friend, David’s house. (While Joaquin is in the room with me chanting Miska, Muska Mickey Mouse 🙂 )

This brings me back to the nights when our kids didn’t want to sleep in their own room, always wanting to be with us even at night. And even when they were already tucked in their beds, they would constantly find reasons to get up and come to our room, like being thirsty or getting an insect bite. But tonight, and the following nights, I will miss those disturbances.

Janina's Littlest Petshop Collection

Last Sunday, Janina gave away one of her most prized toy collections, The Littlest Petshop, to her cousin. How was it that she was able to give them up so easily? Haha It was me who was not ready to let go. I remember the countless trips we made to toy stores and how she would excitedly look over the rack of Littlest Petshop so she could pick out the right one to add to her collection. If only I had a house big enough to store all their toys and not give them away, I would.

I need to face it. My children are growing up. And with that thought, I firm up my resolve to set my priorities right and maximize the little time I have left with them.

LOOKING FOR A JOB?

I was preparing for a parenting seminar when I came across this interesting, funny article. LOL!

Job Description for a Parent
by Annette Clifford

JOB DESCRIPTION: Long-term player needed for challenging, permanent work in chaotic environment. Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work evenings and weekends and frequent 24-hour shifts. There is some overnight travel required, including trips to primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in faraway cities. Travel expenses not reimbursed.

RESPONSIBILITIES: Must keep this job for the rest of your life. Must be willing to be hated, at least temporarily. Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly. Must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule. Must be willing to tackle stimulating technical challenges such as gadget repair, sluggish toilets and stuck zippers. Must handle assembly and product safety testing, as well as floor maintenance and janitorial work. Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and coordinate production of multiple homework projects. Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages and levels of mentality. Must be willing to be indispensable one minute and an embarrassment the next. Must assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end product.

ADVANCEMENT: There is no possibility. Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining or retraining so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you.

PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE: None required, but on the job training is offered on a continually exhausting basis.

WAGES: None. In fact, you must pay those in your charge, offering frequent wages and bonuses. A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 and attend college. When you die, you give them whatever income you have left.

Don’t you just love being a parent? 😀

THE SECOND GREATEST COMMANDMENT

Nathan and JaninaWe were at the Every Nation building when Nathan came up to me to ask for P500 from his allowance. When I asked him why, he said he wanted to give it to a guy he just met this afternoon who was selling chocolates to raise money for his ticket to the Ignite Conference. It was no surprise to me that Nathan would give out of his own pocket because he’s always been a giver. But it never fails to warm my heart everytime he does it.

Moreover, Janina told me that she wrote a letter to one of her friends who has offended her in hopes of patching things up. Her friend ended up giving her a hug and now their relationship is back to normal.

My children rebuke me. I wish I was like Nathan who doesn’t think twice about answering someone’s need, even a person he just met. I wish I was like Janina who easily overlooks differences to restore a relationship.

After loving God with all of their hearts, mind and soul, the 2nd best thing I wanna teach my children is loving their neighbor as themselves. There are many ways to demonstrate love for our neighbors. It can be through giving, sharing, encouraging, forgiving, serving. It is not always easy. There are days our kids are so self-centered all they think of is “I, Me and Myself.” But I am thankful for these moments when I see that my kids are getting it.

Matthew 22:39 And the second (greatest commandment) is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

A REALLY BUSY GOD

“Mom, what exactly is God doing at this time?” Ryan asked me this question out of the blue. I didn’t know how to even begin to answer his question. I can only imagine how busy God is.

I started off by saying that God holds the earth and all the billion planets and stars in place, making sure that we are all safe. If the earth moves just a few inches closer or farther from the sun, we’ll all die. God is also watching all His children, protecting us from harm. He is also busy listening to millions, even billions of people praying at this particular time. Whew! And I just barely scratched the surface. Before I could go on, Ryan asked “How can God do all of those?”

JEsus and the chidlrenI was happy for this opportunity to tell Ryan how big our God is, that He is the Almighty God, capable of anything and everything, and limited by nothing. This is the type of conversation I look forward to, allowing my kids to get to know their God a little better.

Moms, who else will talk to our children about God? We cannot rely on the church alone, or school, or media to educate them spiritually. It is our primary responsibility as parents to point them to God.

Psalm 22: 30 “Our children will also serve him. Future generations will hear about the wonders of the Lord.”

LEAVING HOME

Ryan was bugging me to play badminton with him. I could think of a dozen reasons why I couldn’t. But I was reminded of something I read from a parenting book that compelled me to get up and play with him.

Below is an excerpt from the book “Age of Opportunity” by Paul David Tripp. Please take time to read it (especially because I had to type everything myself :D) It brought tears to my eyes and I know it will touch your heart too.

leaving homeShe stood on the porch watching him squeeze another box of stuff into the car. She tried her best to blink back her tears and see a well-prepared young man, but everytime she looked, her mind was filled with the little boy wearing dirty jeans, sporting a milk mustache, and asking for just one more cookie. She wondered how he would do. He was going to be a thousand miles away at a major university. They had been there together and all the necessary arrangements have been made, but this time he was going alone. She wondered how he would do, but she knew she wasn’t ready for this.

She wanted to do it all over again. She wanted to do it better. She wanted to grab her son and ask for forgiveness for all those times she should have been there, but wasn’t. She wanted to express regret for all the times she had responded in irritation at another request for help. She wanted to take back all the words spoken in anger. She wished for another chance at the science project that was such a disaster and caused such conflict between them. She wanted to go back to all the Little League games that seemed so unimportant and this time be there for all of them.

She wished she had been more faithful in talking about the things of the Lord. She wished she had lectured him less and prayed with him more. She wanted to go back and be more welcoming with his friends. She wished she had gone to his room more, just to ask him about his day, simply to find another excuse to express her love.

Her racing thoughts and silent prayers were interrupted by his voice. “Mom, I’m all packed and I gotta go. I can’t tell you how thankful I am for all you and Dad have done. Don’t worry about me, you guys have done a good job. I know what’s right and wrong. I’ll be okay.” With the last words they embraced. Tears streamed down her face. She didn’t see it, but he cried too.

As they walked into the house, her husband said, “I know we’re going to miss him, but we really ought to be happy. We can see the fruit of all of our efforts. It’s been worth it. We have a lot to be thankful for.”

The goal of parenting is to send young adults out into the world who are prepared to live as God’s children and as salt and light in a corrupt and broken world. She was aware that her son wasn’t her possession, that he belonged to God, and that she and his father were but instruments in God’s hands. She knew that this was a good moment, a graduation, an emancipation, but it was hard to be happy and hard not to want him back for just a little more parenting. Yet she knew that this phase of her work in her son’s life was over and that she must entrust him into the hands of a better Father.

TERRIBLE TWO?

Joaquin 2yrsI was asking Joaquin to stay in his highchair and he didn’t want to obey. I asked him “Who’s the boss? Mommy or Joaquin?” And he answered, “JOAQUIN BOSS!”

Don’t you just love kids at this age? I do! 2-year olds are so cute and funny! But they can also be challenging. Because of his growing independence, a 2-year old will start asserting himself and insisting on what he wants. This is the stage where he often says “NO” to his parents’ command. And if he doesn’t get what he wants, he normally resorts to yelling and temper tantrums. This is why I guess they call it the terrible two’s.

As terrible as it sounds, the good thing about this stage is that your toddler is very moldable. Your child is very eager and hungry to learn that’s why it is best to start laying the foundation of discipline in his life. Most parents think that their toddler is beyond their control and they cannot do anything but live through this terrible two stage. I’ve heard parents tell me “My child cannot understand anything I say” so they end up just tolerating his behavior. I think that is one big deception. Give your 2-year old an iPad and you will see how much he can understand.

The best thing you can teach your toddler at this stage is the concept of authority and boundaries. He is under your authority and he has to live within the boundaries you set for him. Your child needs an authority who will tell him and teach him how to go about his day. He needs you to tell him he can’t whine when he doesn’t get his way, he has to share his toys, he has to sit during mealtimes, etc. You need to stop his misbehavior. Your child is looking to you for guidance.

Your child will only be 2 once in his life. Let us look at this stage with a positive attitude and make the most out of this opportunity to train them.

“Do not withhold discipline from a child;
if you punish him with the rod, he will not die.”

Proverbs 23:13 (NIV)