We are starting a parenting series hoping to encourge parents in their journey.
We have been blessed by God with five kids. Karin,15, Jon, 12, Sammie,8, IJ, 6, Debbie 4. Each one was given to us with all their uniqueness in tow. It gave us a reality picture of what the Scriptures have said long ago: “I am fearfully and wonderfully made. You made all the delicate parts, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. You saw me before I was born. Everyday of my life was written in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day has passed.” With this , we learned three basic things we applied in the parenting of our five kids which we like to share with anyone who likes to learn like us.
1.Our kids have their own calling. As parents, we learned that each kid has his own calling. We don’t dictate on the calling predetermined by God for them. Many times, their calling in life is not separate from their God-designed DNA and ‘wiring’. It is the role of parents to be sensitive and discerning to this so that the kid will not be manipulated into taking a path for the parents, for the parents’ glory and for the parents’ satisfaction and not the kid’s. Our kids are not extensions of ourselves nor a vindication of our failures. We just guide. Our first born daughter Karin loves “intellectual jousting” with her dad so she is keen on taking up courses that could fuel that passion she has coupled with her passion for writing. We guided her in the options available for her that could stir all the more her passion for issue debates, social, economic and political policies that affect people. She is looking at writing and lawyering to serve others as a fulfillment of her calling. Jon, her brother has a different wiring and DNA fit for the calling God has for him with an end of serving others. He sees himself as an entrepreneur and a leader of his organization. In his younger years, he desires to play as a goalkeeper of a national team from the Philippines. When he was 11, he played as a goalkeeper for a 12-under football team from the Philippines that won as first runner up in Denmark besting other countries at the Dana Cup. He is again being considered to play for a 13 under team to be brought to Europe next year through the Makati Football Club.
Because of this, Jon is already being mentored by his dad on leadership and running a business. Sammie, our fashionista sees herself opening her own shop and atelier in Paris in the future . She is passionate for design and the finer things in life. She said she will use fashion to help under privileged kids have a better start and future in life. Because of this, we expose her to her passion. We show her the world of design and give her opportunities to experience the arts by being a spectator or a participant. IJ and Debbie, while still a bit young have already exhibited their different ‘wiring’ and DNA which we are keen on developing as they grow up. A word of warning though. As we counsel our kids, we tell them not to disqualify themselves from the calling that God has for them by wrong choices like immorality, pre-marital sex, drugs, friends with bad influence, wrong relationships and others. Do our kids make mistakes? Of course. Do we make mistakes as parents? You bet we do. We are grateful that God’s grace covers all our lack and imperfections and more than compensates for our failures.
2. Each kid is unique, different. We always assure our kids that they are all our favorites. Karin is our favorite first born, Jon, our favorite second born, Sammie, our favorite third born, IJ, our favorite fourth born and Debbie, our favorite fifth born. We love each of them unconditionally. With the uniqueness God placed in them, we decided early on not to compare them. Comparison diminishes a child’s self-esteem, hope and vision. “Bakit ka kasi di kagaya ng ate mo,”Bakit ka ganyan, hindi mo kagaya ang kuya mo na magaling, Bobo, wala kang alam.” These words which are sometimes uttered by parents have caused not just indelible hurts kids carry with them throughout their lives until adulthood and marriage but also lives lose in limbo, in search of who they really are. Worse, they seek love from all the wrong places and people.
From our experience, the uniqueness of each child will sometimes cause disagreement among siblings but it is a natural thing because they see things differently. With our five kids, some are left-brained, some are right-brained so they learn differently. It doesn’t really matter to us if a kid reads at 4 or 5 years old and a kid fluently reads at 7 or 8.Once they grow up, they will all be reading. We celebrate the uniqueness of each child in our family and teach our kids to appreciate how God designed them–”fearfully and wonderfully made.
3. The goal of parenting is to raise our kids to be dependent on God and independent of us. Most Filipinos, including us are hard up in releasing their kids. But we learned early on that when you have entrusted your life to The Lord, you are not releasing your kids to the dogs or to the darkness of the world. What assures us, even at night , and when that time comes that our kids will have to fly the coop to their destiny in The Lord is that we are releasing them to God’s care and protection. God is the only one they could depend on even when mom and dad are not there and even when everything is gone. Teaching our five kids then early on, for them to love The Lord with all of their heart, soul, mind and strength is deliberate and a matter of hard work. If we want our kids to be dependent on God, Alex and I have to walk the talk. They have to see us loving God and depending on Him at all times, not just on bad weather. So far, God had been faithful to our kids. He comforts them in their dejected times, especially if they lose in their endeavors, in school or in play. Then they begin to pray and ask God to teach them to be humble, obedient, and have a victorious attitude. We started teaching them to be dependent on God through small things. If they come up and say they want a toy, we ask them first to pray about it till God provides for them.***