Dive

‘Dive into deeper connections’. This was the resounding call of the session last Sunday at The Feast. Bro. Bo Sanchez said despite the thousands of “likes” and “followers” and smiling emojis we’re getting in our Facebook’s News Feed, he can sense a growing loneliness among people.

He also said, we’re in the middle of a Digital Tsunami. According to Global Digital Report, the average Filipino spends 3 hours and 57 minutes a day on social media alone.

More presence online and less connections offline.

We need to connect more with each other.

Dive

We often hide our inner thoughts and feelings because we’re concerned if they’ll be accepted by other people. But we also shut out other people from knowing and accepting us by not being open. By not being open with others, we’re really saying we don’t fully accept ourselves. We’re denying ourselves that chance to speak out, to declare our inner thoughts and feelings.

At the Awesome Kids’ service we highlighted to the children the importance of being a good friend to each other.

Cartoons with their BFFs and besties were the focus during the activity.

During our Light Group (LG), we discussed the importance of a gadget-free encounters with people that matters to you.

To put away mobiles phones during bonding moments with friends and cherish more the presence of each other.

If you notice that a friend is carrying a burden, there’s only one thing to do. Say these 4 magical words: “I’m here for you.”

Listen. Don’t interrupt. Don’t give advice. Don’t preach. Don’t pontificate. Shut your mouth and listen.

Being open is a kind of invitation to others. What you share about yourself should encourage others to come in, so to speak, and make contact with you. To involve themselves with you.

Being open is difficult. It makes us feel vulnerable, psychologically naked and usually anxious. But it also is important in terms of really letting others get to understand how we think, how we feel and what we believe.

Here are 5 ways for you to be more open.

1. Make your outside behavior the same or congruent with your inside feelings and thoughts.

2. Focus on feelings. It’s usually easier to share opinions or thoughts about something. Everybody has an opinion. It’s harder to share feelings. Be in touch with how you feel. Share openly the feelings as much as you can. Some feelings cover or come from other feelings. Anger may come from hurt. We might find it easier to show the anger. However, if we work really hard and try to understand the hurt, if we share the hurt and are open about the hurt, we are actually being more open at a deeper level.

3. Try to change your questions into statements. Sometimes, we have an attitude or feeling about something and we’re afraid to share it, we’re afraid to be open. Instead, we ask a question. For instance, we might say “do you love me?”, when instead we want to say I love you. Change your questions into statements you can make about yourself.

4. Communicate in the first person. Begin sentences with “I” instead of “you”. You might say, ” I feel happy that you’re here,” instead of asking, “Are you glad that you’re here?”

5. Try not to say, “I don’t know.” This generally means I don’t want to think about it anymore. You’re probably getting to a level of being open that makes you anxious. Decide what it is and whether you can really trust it with the other person or persons.

Learner

We had our in-service training today for newly hired educators. Dr. Roman Salazar, president of Cavite School Teachers & Employees Association, Inc. (CAVSTEA) gave an empowering talk about the importance of being an effective teacher.

He admonished all of us to heed to the call of excellence, dedication and commitment.

He just came from a surgery but because of his love for the profession, he gallantly shared his wealth of experience to all the newbies.

The learner is the heart of our profession.

Being effective is a daily mission to make a difference.

In-service training

Being a teacher is so much more involved than just the physical act of teaching. Being a teacher means being involved as a learner. Being a teacher means being a life-long learner and a curious soul.

What does it mean to be a great teacher? Of course credentials, knowledge, critical thinking, and all other faculties of intelligence are important. However, a great teacher should be much more than credentials, experience and intelligence.

What lies in the heart of a great teacher?

You are Kind

A great teacher shows kindness to students, colleagues, parents and those around her/him. My favourite saying is “kindness makes the world go around”. It truly changes the environment in the classroom and school. Being a kind teacher helps students feel welcomed, cared for and loved.
You are Compassionate

Teaching is a very humanistic profession, and compassion is the utmost feeling of understanding, and showing others you are concerned about them. A compassionate teacher models that characteristic to the students with her/his actions, and as a result students will be more open to understanding the world around them.

You are Empathetic

Empathy is such an important trait to have and to try to develop in ourselves and our students. Being able to put yourself in someone’s shoes and see things from their perspective can have such a powerful impact on our decisions and actions.

You are Positive

Being a positive person, is not an easy task. Being a positive teacher is even harder when we’re always met with problems with very limited solutions. However, staying positive when it’s tough can have such a tremendous positive impact on the students and everyone around us. Looking on the bright side always seems to help make things better.

You are a Builder

A great teacher bridges gaps and builds relationships, friendships, and a community. Teachers always look to make things better and improve things in and outside of the classroom. Building a community is something a great teacher seeks to do in the classroom and extends that to the entire school and its community.

You Inspire

Everyone looks at a great teacher and they want to be a better teacher, they want to be a better student, even better, they want to be a better person. A great teacher uncovers hidden treasures, possibilities and magic right before everyone’s eyes.

Onward

Time flies fast.

It’s now getting clearer.

This was never about me in the first place.

My biggest ‘why’ was slowly unfolding.

I know where I want to go.

I met a lot of passionate, dedicated and committed educators.

They are my source of inspiration and hope.

It was challenging but God sent me angels to guide me and to be with me on this journey.

He was there for me from the start, who am I to doubt His plans?

Onward, move forward!

He knows better than I.

Onward

“The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.” ~Kahlil Gibran

TeacherPh shared these amazing tips to all newbie in the public education sector.

1. SMILE
When you start your day wearing this, you’re probably not going to lose. This attracts a lot of positivity and is known to calm those types of co-teachers who do not seem to see anything positive in anyone! Smile and the world will smile back!

2. GREET EVERYONE
Congratulations! You’re hired! You are now a professional teacher, a shaper of the majority of the Philippine population. Thousands of ideas and plans might be playing inside your mind now and you might be expecting the perfect first day of your public service. But uh oh! Before you expect anything, why don’t you stop and consider our top 10 advices for the first timers in the public school. We want to give you the most realistic tips and ideas about the world that you have just entered!

3. DON’T BE OVERWHELMED BY WORK
Yes, you want everything to go on very well and you do not like the good impression of your co-teachers to change that is why you keep yourself busy working even when you are at home already. You almost think about work for 24 hours and that can be draining. Remember that you will be able to do a lot of paper work while giving your best on teaching in the first few months, but then you will find yourself feeling tired and drained already. So be gentle to yourself and make sure you maintain a good balance between working, socializing, relaxing, and resting. The more balance you feel about these 4 activities, the more you feel positive at work.

4. EXPECT TO HEAR SOME GOSSIP BUT DON’T INVOLVE YOURSELF
Ooops! This is very common! Do not trust anyone yet. It might seem nice that some of your co-teachers let you hear the gossip they are talking about and they might want you to be a part of their group but think twice! Often, gossip becomes the reason why some teachers transfer from one school to another. Never ever involve yourself in such thing because you are PROFESSIONAL. Besides, a good person or a good friend is not someone who speak foul of others.

5. PREPARE YOUR SPEECH
Just in case your head teacher or superior introduces you to everyone! A well-thought self-introduction can give a good impression to your colleagues but “WAG MASYADONG GALINGAN” because teachers might think otherwise. Just be natural.

6. PREPARE YOUR LESSON PLAN
Do we need to memorize this? We have been trained from college to our first work experience that we have to prepare this very precious paper. You will be surprised when your superior asks you to submit your lesson plan to her on the first day of school!

7. ASK THE DATES AND CREATE A TIME TABLE
So this is it! Plan, plan, plan! Organize and list down the important things you need to accomplish as you will be overwhelmed by work once the first periodical test approaches. Being a public school teacher means having loads of paperwork so if you do not want to be stressed, make sure you follow a well-planned time table. You have to begin asking your superior to provide you a school calendar so you can mark dates and plan ahead your future activities.

8. FIND OUT A WAY TO HAVE A BUDGET FOR 3-6 MONTHS
You’ve already heard it from your friends who got hired ahead of you. You will not receive your salary a month right after getting hired. Expect a 3-6 months delay on your wage. Ayos! Bayad utang lang!

9. WEAR A COMFORTABLE SHOES
You won’t be able to sit down most of the time as you need to attend to a big number of students in each of your class. Sitting down in the class for a first time teacher is a no no!

10. PRAY
Of course, it’s always him who has a complete control of everything. You will need him not just throughout your teaching journey but throughout your life’s journey. You have the biggest responsibility in our nation now so you need the greatest ally. You are a teacher. YOU WILL SHAPE THE FUTURE and to do it successfully, you’ll need his help — THE ONE WHO SHAPED THE WHOLE WORLD PERFECTLY.

John

The Catholic Church celebrates today the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. His life was fueled by one burning passion – to point others to Jesus Christ and to the coming of God’s kingdom.

During the Awesome Kids’ Ministry service at The Feast, the little children was reminded to always put God first in their lives.

Like St. John the Baptist, every kid was destined by God for an important mission.

Putting God first is realizing it’s all about Him. Everything in your life is to be directed to Him. Your every breath is to go back to Him. Your every thought is to be for Him. Everything is about Him.

Scripture tells us that John was filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb (Luke 1:15, 41) by Christ himself, whom Mary had just conceived by the Holy Spirit. When Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth, John leapt in the womb of Elizabeth as they were filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:41). The fire of the Spirit dwelt in John and made him the forerunner of the coming Messiah. John was led by the Spirit into the wilderness prior to his ministry where he was tested and grew in the word of God.

John broke the prophetic silence of the previous centuries when he began to speak the word of God to the people of Israel. His message was similar to the message of the Old Testament prophets who chided the people of God for their unfaithfulness and who tried to awaken true repentance in them. Among a people unconcerned with the things of God, it was his work to awaken their interest, unsettle them from their complacency, and arouse in them enough good will to recognize and receive Christ when he came.

God’s gracious gift to us
What is the significance of John the Baptist and his message for our lives? When God acts to save us he graciously fills us with his Holy Spirit and makes our faith come “alive” to his promises. Each and every day the Lord is ready to renew us in faith, hope, and love. Like John the Baptist, the Lord invites each of us to make our life a free-will offering to God. God wants to fill us with his glory all the days of our lives, from birth through death. Renew the offering of your life to God and give him thanks for his mercy and favor towards you.

“Lord Jesus, you bring hope and salvation to a world lost in sin, despair, and suffering. Let your grace refresh and restore your people today in the hope and joy of your great victory over sin and death.”

Read

One of the main thrusts for this academic year is to intensify the reading habits of our students.

I know it will never be easy but it takes a lot of encouragement and more push.

I was inspired by this article of Joby Provido on how spiritual reading leads to a balanced life.

Reading

“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.” – John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

Every day we are bombarded with news that can be violent or depressing. Sometimes immersing ourselves in those kinds of stories can drive us to despair when thinking of hope for humanity. Those studying internet behavior say we tend to compare our life with others on Social Media. This can be very stressful if we consider we have to keep up with other people’s happiness. It can make our lives seem empty at some point.

The spate of celebrity suicides does not help either. While taking one’s life (or any life for that matter) is contrary to Christian culture, we cannot judge those who have fallen victim to mental illness for we don’t know what they were going through. Since Christ is all-knowing and all-loving, we leave it up to him because he is the best and only authorized judge by the Father. One thing we can say that may make sense is that there must have been a feeling of helplessness that drove them to do it.

While we cannot remove these stressful matters from our secular life, we can balance it. How many times do we watch heart-warming videos of animals being saved, or fathers who are supposed to be away and make a surprise appearance, or mothers who prepare something her birthday girl enjoys? Don’t we press on the heart button and share them? Some even write a post: “faith in humanity restored.” In those moments, aren’t our spirits lifted?

Life is a constant battle and we need weapons to help us endure. Spiritual reading is one of these. It is the habit of reading something spiritual with the purpose of growing in holiness. By reading spiritual material, our soul gets buoyed so we can keep our head above the flood of depressing media, take a breath, and continue the struggle. It is like watching those heart-warming videos that bring back faith in humanity.

Spiritual reading is different from meditation. Meditation is a quest to find out what God wants us to do, feel, and be. Spiritual reading, on the other hand, is to reinforce our lives with enriching things.

One can start with ten minutes a day, then move on to fifteen minutes or longer. It would be nice to set a time to do this so it can be done regularly. It would also be best to do this in a place that has little or no distractions. Maybe a quiet room in the house will do.

What can a beginner read? The gospels are a good start. A slow prayerful reading always helps. The lives of the saints are extraordinarily good material. Get books on or by Teresa of Avila (The Interior Castle), St. Francis of Assisi, Therese of Lisieux (The Story of a Soul), Thomas Merton (The Seven Story Mountain), John Paul II. While Fulton Sheen is not yet a saint, his life is a wonderful thing to read. Books on Our Lady are particularly enriching too. Find books on the apparitions in Fatima, Lourdes, and Mexico (Our Lady of Guadalupe.) Other good titles are: “True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin” by Louis de Montfort, “Imitation of Christ” by Thomas a Kempis, “The Everlasting Man” by G.K. Chesterton, “Mary of Nazareth” by Federico Suarez.

One does not have to “read” to do spiritual reading. Watching an enriching video or listening to a podcast is spiritual “reading” too. Find something that lifts your soul or educates you about the faith.

Make it part of a daily habit. Think of spiritual reading as the spiritual vitamins that keep us healthy.

Cape

When I was a kid Papa Ramon was my superhero, he was like Batman, Superman, Flash and Thor rolled into one.

Last Sunday, during the Awesome Kids Ministry service, the children were able to honor their dad with a special craft activity.

Cape

If the scientific study of fatherhood has taught us one thing, it’s that there are data-driven, biological, and psychological reasons why kids seem to do better with dads.

We also had our Light Group (LG) meeting where we discussed the value of our father’s presence in our lives.

According to the Parenting.com website, even dads with average parenting skills can make a real impact on their children’s lives.

Four decades of research and hundreds of studies have proven what should be obvious to everyone: The more involved a dad is, the more successful his children will be. A father’s influence can determine a child’s social life, grades at school, and future achievements.

Involved dads = Successful children
The dad effect starts as early as birth. A review of studies by the Father Involvement Research Alliance shows that babies with more involved fathers are more likely to be emotionally secure, confident in new situations, and eager to explore their surroundings. As they grow, they are more sociable. Toddlers with involved fathers are better problem-solvers and have higher IQs by age 3. They are more ready to start school and can deal with the stress of being away from home all day better than children with less involved fathers .

At school, children of involved fathers do better academically. For example, a study by the U.S. Department of Education found that children of highly involved fathers were 43 percent more likely than other children to earn mostly As and 33 percent less likely to repeat a grade. They are also less likely to have behavior problems at school and to experience depression.

According to the Father Involvement Research Alliance review, girls with involved fathers have higher self-esteem, and teenage girls who are close to their dads are less likely to become pregnant. Boys show less aggression, less impulsivity, and more self-direction. As young adults, children of involved fathers are more likely to achieve higher levels of education, find success in their careers, have higher levels of self-acceptance and experience psychological well-being. Adults who had involved fathers are more likely to be tolerant and understanding, have supportive social networks made up of close friends, and have long-term successful marriages.

Everyday activities are important
A study by Brigham Young University researchers finds that involvement in everyday activities, such as eating dinner together, watching TV, playing in the yard, and playing video games are even more important to share with Dad than big outings or trips, although those contribute to children’s development as well. Fathers and youths in the study experienced more satisfaction and cohesion in their family when fathers were involved in everyday core activities.

W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project and associate professor of sociology at the University of Virginia, says that fathers’ special input differs from mothers’ in at least four ways: playing, encouraging risk, protecting and disciplining.

Playing
By asking parents of 390 families how they play with their children, psychologist Ross Parke found that “in infants and toddlers, fathers’ hallmark style of interaction is physical play that is characterized by arousal, excitement, and unpredictability.” Mothers, on the other hand, were “more modulated and less arousing” in their play. This became glaringly obvious to me when my husband left home for a year and a half to work in Afghanistan. My modulated play was not cutting it. Several months into the experience, our three kids began complaining to me, “You never tickle us.” I had to take a page from my husband’s playbook for a while.

A manual from the U.S. Children’s Bureau explains the impact of fathers’ play this way: “From these interactions, children learn how to regulate their feelings and behavior. Roughhousing with dad, for example, can teach children how to deal with aggressive impulses and physical contact without losing control of their emotions.”

Encouraging risk
Where mothers tend to worry about their children’s safety and well-being, fathers encourage their children to take risks. Psychologist Daniel Paquette’s review of scholarly research found that dads are more likely to encourage their children to overcome obstacles, to talk to strangers, and to go in the deep end during swim lessons. One study in the review (J. Le Camus, “Les interaction pere-enfant en milieu aquatique”) focused on a group of parents teaching their children how to swim. It found that “fathers tend to stand behind their children so the children face their social environment, whereas mothers tend to position themselves in front of their children, seeking to establish visual contact with the children.”

Protecting
Perhaps it’s their size, strength, or inclination to protect, but fathers appear to be better at keeping predators and bad influences from harming their children. Psychologist Rob Palkovitz said in The Atlantic, “Paternal absence has been cited by multiple scholars as the single greatest risk factor in teen pregnancy for girls.” When fathers are more involved, they can better monitor what’s going on in their children’s lives, including interaction with peers and adults.

Disciplining
Although mothers discipline more often, fathers discipline with a firmer hand. In their book Partnership Parenting, Drs. Kyle Pruett and Marsha Kline Pruett write, “Fathers tend to be more willing than mothers to confront their children and enforce discipline, leaving their children with the impression that they in fact have more authority.” Mothers, on the other hand, try to reason with their children and rely on kids’ emotional attachment to them to influence their behavior. Although Mom and Dad may not seem to be on the same page, this diverse approach can be very effective in disciplining children.

The good news about being a dad is that you don’t have to be spectacular at it to make a major positive contribution to your child’s life. W. Bradford Wilcox looked at data on delinquency, pregnancy, and depression in adolescents and compared the statistics with how the teens rated their fathers or if they lived with a single mother. He found that outcomes for teens in single-mother homes were about the same as those living with both a mother and a poor-quality father; teens had higher levels of delinquency, pregnancy, and depression. But teens living with their mother and father, with whom they had an average-quality relationship, experienced much lower negative outcomes. Teens who had a high-quality relationship with their father had even lower rates. Wilcox concludes that “great, and even good-enough dads, appear to make a real difference in their children’s lives.”

Papa

Selfless, loving, caring, dedicated, committed and many more – they gave up so many things in life for us to become who we are right now.

My wife and I are eternally grateful to our loving fathers. We are nothing without both of you.

To Papa/Engr. Franco and Papa Ramon, thank you for all the support, prayers, understanding and for accompanying us in our journey. Thank you for all the shared blessings, time and treasures.

Happy Father's Day

“Lord, bless Papa/Engr. Franco and Papa Ramon; make Your face to shine upon him and be gracious to him; lift up Your countenance upon him and give him peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26, ESV)

We honor you both with our prayers.

“God, give Papa/Engr. Franco and Papa Ramon,

Your strength to steer him,

Your power to uphold him,

Your wisdom to guide him,

Your eye for his vision,

Your ear for his hearing,

Your word for his speech,

Your hand to protect him,

Your pathway before him,

Your shield for his shelter,

Your angels to guard him

from ambush of devils,

from vice’s allurements,

from traps of the flesh,

from all who wish ill,

whether distant or close,

alone or in hosts.

Christ be beside him,

Christ before him,

Christ behind him,

Christ within him,

Christ beneath him,

Christ above him.

Christ on his right hand,

Christ on his left,

Christ where he lies,

Christ where he sits,

Christ where he rises.

Christ in the hearts of all who think of him,

Christ in the mouths of all who speak to him,

Christ in every eye that sees him,

Christ in every ear that hears him.

Father, thank you for Papa/Engr. Franco and Papa Ramon.

Please continue and complete your work in him,

granting that he may walk with you like Enoch,

believe you like Abraham,

obey you like Isaac,

wrestle with you like Jacob,

know your hand on his life like Joseph,

speak face-to-face with you like Moses,

win victories for you like Gideon,

speak boldly for you like Elijah,

worship you like David,

see you high and lifted up like Isaiah,

and carry Jesus’ cross like Simon of Cyrene.”