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.”

Bukid

Some of them are farmer’s children in the Kanluran (Western) part of Malagasang, Imus here in Cavite. They are caring and loving to each other.

I witnessed their kind and gentle demeanor during the parish’s outreach program held today.

Fr. Mel Sandoval, our parish priest initiated the activity. He shared the gospel today about being a child in God’s kingdom.

He emphasized to them that they are always loved by God and that the free school supplies were gifts from Jesus.

Bukid

Children represent for Jesus the weak and the powerless in our society. Only when we give importance to such as these we can be signs of the Kingdom of God. It is in becoming powerless that we become capable of belonging to the Kingdom of God and of serving those who are powerless. “To remain small means to acknowledge one’s own nothingness, to expect all from the Good Lord as a small child expects all from his father, not to be worried about anything” (St. Therese).

In the gospel today (Mark 10:13-16), people were bringing little children to Jesus in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.

The Gospel urges us to love. The disciples were protective of Jesus believing that they should decide who was worthy of his attention and objected to Jesus blessing the children.

Jesus intervened, invited the children closer, and laid his hands on them. He gave them two precious things that cost no money: time and affection.

In this time of prayer let us offer all our concerns before God, being careful not to let through only the ones that we think presentable.

Jesus asks us to take a lesson from the way in which a child receives. What can we learn from these people ‘to whom the kingdom of God belongs’?

It is the child in us who can most truly live in a state of becoming, always open to growth and change.

It is the child in us who can sense the perfection and stability of eternity, where there is neither time nor space, neither before nor after but, in Meister Eckhart’s words, “everything present in one new, fresh-springing now where millenniums last no longer than the twinkling of an eye.”

Our treatment of children and of the vulnerable, of outcasts and those with disabilities can fall far short of what Jesus demands.

The courage to reflect gently on past failings can give us wisdom and freedom to do better in the future.

Do I take the time to nourish and connect with my childlike qualities?

This will help me retain a sense of wonder, awe, gratitude and excitement in the small things of creation.

Prepare

Are you raising your kids to become an entrepreneur or a corporate slave?

The ‘Big Message’ in last week’s The Feast was ‘Preparation is Everything’.

Inspired by the story of Joseph in the bible – preparation is the price we pay to become great leaders.

Joseph was only 16 years old when his brothers sold him to the Ishmaelite traders.

The Pharaoh appointed him as the Governor of Egypt when he was thirty.

God spent 14 years just preparing his chosen leader.

Preparation takes time and let us be patient and not lose heart during the most difficult stages of our preparation.

For the Awesome Kids Ministry we shared to the children the value of preparing for the future by knowing the basic concept of money and honoring their parent’s effort of providing for the family and how to save money.

They made a simulated mini saving’s piggy bank adorned with colorful stickers.

Preparation Awesome Kids

Children learn everything from their parents. Raising children the right way is an invaluable way of helping them raise their parents’ grandchildren the right way. A culture full of spoiled children extinguishes the fire of earning what we have. A culture full of spoiled children encourages laziness. A culture full of spoiled children breeds spoiled and irresponsible adults. The ability of parents to discuss with their children financial responsibility is paramount. 

On a bigger picture, here are some
things you can do to raise your kids to become entrepreneurs according to PowerPinoys.com:

1. Encourage them to ask questions. Sadly, many Filipino people now are having this kind of mentality that “if you ask questions, you are dumb.” This is why many people now who instead of asking questions, they keep the questions to themselves which make them more ignorant. You better filter this kind of mentality from your kids.

Don’t Let this happen to your child. There’s are Filipino sayings that “Matalino ang batang mapagtanong” (Intelligent is a child who asks questions) and “Ang taong mapagtanong, daig ang marunong” (The inquisitive person surpassed the wise).

These words are just true. Asking is a form of active learning and this kind of learning results to a better retention. If your child ask you a question, answer his question then again ask you child something like “aren’t you going to ask why? or how?” or some other sort of followup questions. This way, you are programming your child to not just simply ask questions but you are programming your child to verify the answers as well.

Give your child scenarios that are new to them. This will make them think of the whats, whys and hows of A,B,C, and etc. You might want to give them valuable rewards if they got it right to encourage them to think more. Remember, keep your child always hungry for knowledge and encourage them to try new things.

2. Teach your child how to ask for help. Again, this is closely related to #1 but this is a bit different. Teach your child that if he cannot do a particular thing, the initial response should be to ask somebody who knows how to do that thing. Kids are in their learning stage where they need guidance. As a parent, you should help your child as much as possible BUT here are some points to remember:

  • Don’t spoon-feed them. Show them how to do it. Once they’ve seen it, let them try it on their own with your guidance.
  • Praise them if necessary to boost their confidence.
  • Ask them questions like “Can you think of better way to do this or that?”
  • Remember this proverb “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. It is always worthwhile to teach your kids to do something than do it for them.

3. Teach them the importance and value of Teamwork. Let your kids know that not all the time, they can do every thing alone. Teach them that if they want to achieve big dreams, teamwork is necessary. Tell them they may be able to build their own house but they cannot create a high building alone or it may take them a lifetime.

4. Teach them how to be creative and analyze things. Always encourage your kids to try new things. Let them experiment on ideas and show them that learning can really be fun. You can send your kids to go music class and play instruments. Learning how to play piano, for example, can really boost your kids’ analytical and creativity skills while having fun.

Another thing you can help your kids improve skills while having fun is by providing them physical and digital games that touches creativity and analysis. One of the most famous toys that promotes creativity is Lego and other similar toys.

Have your walls bunch of interesting arts and other crafts. Tell your kids your favorite musician, artist, and scientists. Always ask them challenging “what if” questions that will push them to analyze situations.

5. Teach them how to save money. Being rich is not about how much money you are earning but it is about how much money you keep. You should teach your kids to not spend more than what they are earning, or else they will be in debt their whole lives.

You should teach them not to invest on things that loses value as time goes by. You should teach them to invest on things such as education, new skills and other self development stuffs they can use to earn money. You can start teaching them how to save money through their allowances.

6. Teach them how to learn from their mistakes & learn to accept rejections. You should tell your kids that not everyone and everything will work their way. Teach them to anticipate the worst case scenario and set solutions for those cases.

Practice your kids to commit mistakes and fail. Yes, fail. Kids who are not afraid of making mistakes and not afraid of what other people say are the ones who can handle risks and are emotionally stable. Teach them to learn on their mistake and laugh about it later.

7. Teach them how to be good at public speaking. Your kids don’t need to do what adults entrepreneur do. Simply exposing them in an environment where they can express their thoughts is a good place to start to learn public speaking. Let your child join other kids while playing on the playground and do some story telling activities. Simply having your child exposed in story telling or reporting type of activities will get away shyness and build confidence instead.

8. Teach them how to lead others. Your kids should learn how to motivate others to achieve a common goal. This skill can be acquired from you, the parent. Set a good example! If you are a father, you should be the leader in your family. You set goals for the the family, create budget (for moms), plans for leisure activities, etc. It will be automatic for your kids to be a good leader to.

Here are some skills and attitude you might want to impart your children to be good leaders.
Initiative, Consistency, Teamwork, Strategy, Planning, Perseverance, Decision making, and Good Communication.

11. Teach them how to sell. One of the biggest part of every business is selling. Any good company with good products or services, if not able to sell is good as nothing. The main point of making business is to create profit and if you cannot make any profit then what do you call your business? Charity?

This skill is where most people laugh at but are not good at. It has been injected to people’s mind that if you’re selling something, you are in a lowly situation which is a big no. Not all people have this skill but once you have this, it can be applied not just in business but in other aspects of life as well.

12. Teach them problem solving. Entrepreneurship is about solving other people’s problems. You may want to give your kids quizzes and puzzles to solve. Think of Sudoku, jigsaw puzzles, rubicks cube, and etc. Playing computer games can also help them increase their problem solving skills. But be picky on what computer games they will play as there are computer games that only wastes your kids precious time.

Learning math is really a fun way of learning how to solve a problem. Let your child learn the value of math by showing them what they can do if they know math. You can also let your child learn problem solving through physics problems and a lot more.

Problem solving added with creativity is the ore of innovations. If you hone your kids’ skills on these, they will have a big advantage over others.

FuGen

Exactly four (4) years ago, Future Generation Philippine International School (FGPIS) in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia invited me to be their commencement speaker.

I was glad Facebook has an “on this day” feature to always look back at your special memories in life.

My wife was beside me when I received the plaque of appreciation.

FuGen

“As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people’s ideas are often better than your own. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.”

I shared the value of finding true joy, accepting one’s limitation and loving your parents to the graduating students.

True joy doesn’t result from things or circumstances. Joy is not the absence of trouble, but the presence of Christ.

Jesus never promised trouble-free living. In fact, He predicted the opposite, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

To quote C.S. Lewis, “Don’t let your happiness depend on something you may lose.” New things may bring a temporary sense of happiness, but alas the newness wears off.

Lasting joy is not tied to material things but to a vibrant relationship with the one who is our source of joy! So take time to rediscover your joy, and learn to enjoy the journey.

Surrender to the existence of your limits. This is the only place from which you can truly start the journey of adapting, and when you accept and adapt, you can find a new way of living filled with a lot more peace – when you accept your limits, and when you accept reality, it’s then that you can discover what is still possible.

Love your parents. We are so busy growing up, we often forget they are also growing old. Appreciate your parents. You never know what sacrifices they went through for you.

FGPIS is one of the leading Philippine schools overseas committed to the holistic development of its graduates with special emphasis on science and technology.

They have a high culture of excellence imbued with personal discipline and multi-cultural consciousness.

The school was founded through the collaboration of the its owner Sheikha Bareah Bint Sabah Salem Al Hamoud Al Sabah, Kuwaiti princess and the group of seven dedicated, intellectuals, and efficient Filipino teachers headed by Mrs. Marie Con C. Caro, school principal and Mrs. Zenaida C. Meren, school assistant principal.

Unleashed

We are commanded to forgive others, God is really after our own good. So forgive from the heart and set yourself free.

This is what we shared to the kids last Sunday at the Awesome Kids Ministry service.

Unleashed

Remember, forgiveness is for our benefit. The other person’s behavior may never change. It is up to God, not us, to change others. Our responsibility is to be set free from the pressure and weight of an unforgiving attitude.

We took a bottle of water and some effervescent vitamin tablets.

We encouraged the children to think of someone they need to forgive.
• Someone hit you and pushed you down.
• Someone won’t let you play a game.
• Someone broke something of yours.
• Someone called you an unkind name.
• Someone took what you were playing with and won’t share it.

We talked about how they were hurt. They felt mad.

We encouraged them to ask God to let go of these feelings.

We asked the kids to put a piece of the tablet in the water and the children imagined asking God to help them forgive.

As the bubbles start to come off the tablets, they imagined giving the hurt feelings to God.

The tablets took a while to dissolve, which also illustrated that sometimes it might take a long time to forgive.

The water might also have changed color, which illustrates that it’s not as if the thing that hurt you had never happened, it’s just been changed by God.

For the craft activity, they colored an artwork that reminds them to always be kind and good to others.

I felt God’s embrace every Sunday because of these children.

Their presence affirm God’s abounding graces and mercy.

They taught me more to love and to live life.

A simple activity but has a profound meaning.

It was difficult for me to forgive few years back but I learned to let go.

To more years of serving and loving the children of God!

He Cares

Grace-filled.

Inspiring.

Empowering.

More than 200 kids from the poorest of the poor in the neighborhood of Quezon City taught me today the deeper meaning of true love.

Every Saturday, they looked forward to the feeding party led by Bro. Joe Dean Solas, a lay missionary who devoted his life in fulfilling God’s call of faith and hope.

He Cares Mission, a street children caring center started in 1996 with a humble promise made by Bro. Joe Dean to two little street children that they will never be hungry again.

 

He Cares

Together with our Light Group, Bro. Joe Dean Sola (seated in cap) was a source of inspiration to many. He founded He Cares, they takes care of street children, offering five programs that cater to the children’s spirituality, health, family, life, education, and livelihood.

The day started with prayer and thanksgiving through worship songs.

Then a short program followed. I took charge of the games.

It was not easy at first.

It was difficult.

Very challenging.

But, I learned to let go.

I just smiled a lot and I let God took full control.

I knew they enjoyed it.

Their smiles and loudest cheers took my breath away.

They have been to a lot of challenges.

A few minutes of fun and laughter was all that matters.

They are still kids after all.

It was the first outreach activity for 2018 of our Light Group (LG).

I was grateful to Bro. Mark and Sis. Lorrie Calangian together with their children Lance and Chase for sharing their service love.

They tagged me along for a road trip from Cavite to the City of Stars and it was a memorable journey.

After the short program, the volunteers prepared for a sumptuous feast of spaghetti, fried chicken, rice, water turned into iced tea, fruit salad and a mini pancake with choco fillings donated by a generous Japanese businessman who visits the center monthly.

The feeding party was organized by Bro. Joe Dean with love.

Lots of it.

He encouraged the volunteers to always smile.

Every table were assigned to a feeding facilitator that helped the children on their needs.

I met Kathleen, a kindergarten student who had difficulties finishing her food. Her seatmates encouraged her to wipe out the fried chix and rice. She brought home the fruit salad.

After the feeding party, the volunteers were led to a short thanksgiving prayer and had lunch. I met other volunteers who have the same passion of serving others.

A short presentation about a new vision for He Cares in the coming years was shared.

Help build the He Cares Mission Promised Land – a sustainable farm community that aims to go beyond feeding and giving shelter for a day, towards giving a meaningful and abundant life day after day after day.

To know more about the program visit http://www.hecaresmission.com and find ways on how you can make a difference.

Bro. Joe Dean toured us around the He Cares Mission Center and mingled with the fulltime workers.

Their story of selfless love was inspiring.

I encouraged you to volunteer now.

Visit them at No. 9 Mines St., Project 6, Quezon City or contact them at (+63) 02 928-8910 or (+63) 02 453-0100. You can also email: hecaresfoundation@gmail.com.

They also accept donation thru bank account name:

He Cares Foundation, Inc.
Bank of the Philippines
Savings Account #1953093053

Job

Last Sunday, the children at Awesome Kids Ministry learned about Job. The kids enjoyed a video presentation about him.

Book of Job

So what would happen if we start to trust God during the raging seas of life? During the times we question, still thanking God like Job did, even though outwardly it appeared there was nothing to be thankful for, no reason not to abandon our trust in God and grow angry at Him. Why? Because God is faithful and just; He sees the big picture. He loves us enough to not always give us our way, to give us reasons to search for Him.

Job had 7 sons and 3 daughters. He also had 7000 sheep, 3000 camels, 500 oxen, 500 female donkeys and a very large household.

One day, Satan told God that the only reason Job was faithful was because he had so much and he had an easy life. So, God told Satan that he could do anything to Job, except lay a hand on him.

Then Satan caused terrible things to happen to Job. A messenger came to Job and said that enemies had attacked Job’s flocks and stole his oxen and donkeys and killed his servants. Job was just thinking about how terrible this was when another messenger came and said that lightning had struck and burned up all his sheep. Then another messenger came and said that more enemies had raided the camp where all of Job’s camels were. All of the camels were gone and the servants who had been watching after them were dead.

Job was very sad. All of his riches were gone! At least he had his family! Job knew that all of his children were visiting his oldest son’s house. They were all together and they were safe. Then, a terrible thing happened. Another messenger came rushing up to Job’s house with more bad news.

“Your sons and daughters were feasting at their oldest brother’s house, when a very strong wind came up and knocked over the four corners of the house. The whole house fell down and crushed everyone in it. All of your children are dead!”

Job was so upset that he tore his robe, shaved his head, and fell down on the ground and began to pray. But he did not hate God like Satan said he would. He prayed to God and worshipped Him.

When Satan came before the Lord again, he told the Lord that Job would curse God if he did not have his health. Satan wanted to test Job again. The Lord knew that Job would pass the test so He allowed Satan to make Job sick.

Big sores appeared all over Job’s body. Even the soles of his feet and the top of his head had sores on them. The sores hurt and they itched. Job used to use bits of broken pottery to scratch his itchy sores. Even though Job hurt he still did not curse God. He did not understand why these things were happening to him but He did not hate God for it.

Job’s wife told him that he should just give up. He should curse God and die. Job’s friends came and visited him. They thought he must have been doing bad things for all of these bad things to happen to him. Job knew he always tried to do well. He told them that but they did not believe him. Everything was going wrong. Job loved God but he did not understand God. He began to ask God ‘why?” “Why was I ever born?” “Why didn’t I just die when I was a baby?” “Why am I alive?”

Everything was going wrong. Job loved God but he did not understand God. He began to ask God ‘why?” “Why was I ever born?” “Why didn’t I just die when I was a baby?” “Why am I alive?”

Finally, the Lord spoke to Job. He told Job that He should always trust God . . . even when he did not understand God.

After all, how can anyone understand everything about God? No one can know as much as God. God knows everything!

People may know about birds but God knows how to make birds fly. People may know about the sun but God causes the sun to come up and go down each day! People may know about animals but God made the largest animals and can control them!

Job learned and important lesson about God. He already knew God and loved Him. Now He knew that God is wiser and stronger than anything on earth. Job knew that he could trust God.

The God caused all of Satan’s wickedness toward Job to be stopped. He gave Job twice as much as he had before his suffering came upon him. He also had other children—seven more sons and three more daughters. Job had 14,000 sheep, 6000 camels, 1000 yoke of oxen, and 1000 donkeys.

Job lived to be a very old man and he was always happy and loved and trusted the Lord.

Job does not fail to praise God, even in his bitterest laments: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return; the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” (1:21) and “With God are wisdom and might; he has counsel and understanding.” (12:13) Praising God in the most desperate of situations is quite difficult, and challenging even if one’s trust in God is great.

Sometimes it may seem that everything is going wrong in your life and that maybe God has quit caring for you. But remember the story of Job and remember that God always cares and will always help you through your problems if you remain faithful to God.