WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?

picture-1.pngLast August 2007, NBC News reported that young people aged 13-24 were asked the question, “What makes you happy?” Guess what might be some of the answers? Xbox 360? iPod? Friends? High grades in school? Parties? More allowance? If you guessed one of these, well, it wasn’t the top answer.

So what was the top answer? Spending time with family! This survey was conducted by MTV! They were interested to know what makes young people happy. I wonder if they’ll come up with more family friendly music videos?

LESSON: Never underestimate the time we spend with our families no matter how long or short it may be.

PLEASE EXPLAIN

Because it’s a holiday tomorrow, our family planned to go to Tagaytay tomorrow. Besides, it is also myquestionkid.jpg wife, Jenn’s birthday. We’ll be going with some friends. This afternoon, while on our way, we had to do a couple of things before heading off to Tagaytay.

Our 4 year old, Ryan, asked where we were going. We said that we would still be doing a couple of more errands and then going to meet our friends in their house. He asked where our friends’ house was located. I didn’t think he’d follow up by asking for details. So I did.

I told him that we were going down South Luzon Expressway. After which, we will make a right turn onto Magallanes Village, go through the main gate, turn right on the first street and the house would be on the right side of the street.

After I told him the details, he was satisfied.

I’m not sure if he understood anything I said though.

I wonder sometimes that maybe that’s how God feels. We have a lot of questions. But if He tells us every detail regarding our question, we might end up more confused than before we asked the question.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

LOOK BEYOND THE EXTERNALS

Our 8 year old daughter, Janina, came in our TV room one afternoon and brought some merienda (afternoon snack). We didn’t ask her to do it. We were watching the television and she came in with that pleasant surprise. That was such a sweet gesture, we thought.But when I went out to the kitchen to take out the empty bowl, I saw the ‘crime scene’. It was corn that she had shaved off the cob using a very sharp knife. To top it off, the whole floor was covered with corn kernels! It was not a pleasant sight.

I was about to bust back into the TV room with smoking ears and fire coming out of my mouth but then again, I thought, “This was something that was out of a heart that wanted to serve and love.”

As a parent, my prayer is that I would see beyond the externals. Some parents show a marvelous ability to see failed attempts as praiseworthy efforts. They always encourage. They are adept at neutralizing the effects of a fiasco.

That’s my personal prayer.

ISN’T POKEMON DEAD YET?

pokemon-0001.jpg“Is Pokemon bad?” a nine-year-old boy asked me one day.

My initial thoughts were, “Isn’t Pokemon dead?” (I thought this fad had passed, but I guess I was wrong.) At any rate, the kid needed an answer, so I said, “Yes! It’s evil!”

Of course I didn’t say that.

My answer came from Deuteronomy 18:10-12:

“Let no one be found among you who . . . practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells . . . Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord.”

I read this verse to the child and I continued by saying, “Because God doesn’t want me or my family to get involved in witchcraft and casting spells, I don’t let my children play with Pokemon. Why don’t you go ahead and discuss this verse with your mom and dad? See what God would have you do as a family.”

What are we to do? We are to teach children to search the Bible and filter all they do with God’s Word.

As teachers, we will be asked these questions all the time. We can do two things: we can write up a long list of which toys they can or cannot play with, or we can teach them principles from God’s Word. The list of “unacceptable” toys will be endless, and this can ultimately lead to Pharisaical legalism. But as we teach them principles from God’s Word, we are also preparing them for life as they will eventually be confronted with many different “toys for the big boys.”

God bless you as your reach the next generation to change the world.

RIGHT WORDS AT THE RIGHT TIME

Taking a three-year-old for ice skating can be a major workout. We went ice skating because it was our prize for our seven-year-old daughter who did very well during her first quarter in Grade 1. Since she was going, our ten-year-old and three-year-old sons wanted to come along as well.

Our three-year-old slipped and slid the whole time until he figured out how to balance. It wasn’t easy for him (but neither was it for me, a thirty-five-year-old). Each time he would slip, I tried to be consistent in giving both encouragement and instruction. As parents, we need to ask God to help us learn the ability to see failed attempts as praiseworthy efforts. After encouragement, we need to help them do better by giving further instruction.

The Bible says in Proverbs 25:11 (CEV), The right word at the right time is like precious gold set in silver. It is possible for us to say the right words at the wrong time. On the other hand, it is also possible for the timing to be right and yet miss out on that opportunity. As parents, we can either build up or tear down what’s inside our kids. Let’s always choose to build them up.

——————–
PHOTO CREDIT: Debby19 http://www.flickr.com/photos/12182046@N05/

YACKER TRACKER

 

yacker.jpgI recently read a magazine article and came across the Yacker Tracker.

What is it?

Well, it looks like a stoplight:It’s green when classroom noise levels are appropriate, turns yellow when noise rises, and flashes red when the volume is too loud. The red light also signals a coming consequence (i.e. no more free time, extra work), while the green light tells kids that they’re doing a good job managing their conversations.

I would love to have something like that at home for my three wonderful, gregarious kids. Though we may not have the Yacker Tracker that we can bring with us wherever we go, God has given us an internal Yacker Tracker. It’s called self-control. This is free, but needs early installation, check-ups, and consistent maintenance. However, once installed, it helps ensure a fun and wonderful home experience.

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23gentleness and self-control.
Galatians 5:22

Let us remember that we have our own built-in Yacker Trackers, and we can set the example for our children, grandchildren, students, nieces, and nephews to make the best use of it too.

PARENTING PITFALL: Tolerance

Tolerance is a dangerous word, especially when it comes to parenting.
It has become a parenting pitfall to many and I am no exception.

When my son was about three, he loved spending his energy by running and jumping all around the place. This was carried over even when we were in church. He would run around and jump off the stage. After a few instances, one of our leaders sat me down and said, “Paolo, you are a great dad. And you have a wonderful son. But there might just be some instances when you have tolerated things that you shouldn’t have. If our children act they way they do, it’s either we’ve influenced them to do it or merely tolerated their behavior.”

BOOM! At that moment, I felt like I was hit by a bomb. I realized that certain things my kids do are not because they’re being rebellious but because of lack of instruction from their parents.

Gilbert K. Chesterton said,
“Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions.”

We have to be deliberate in our parenting. We have to sow seeds of God’s Word in the lives of our kids. God’s Word has everything to say about how we can train, discipline, and raise our children.

Nobody said parenting was going to be a breeze. But we are not without hope. God will help. He will guide. He will bless. His promise stands true that if we train our children in the way they should go, when they grow up, they will not depart from what they’ve been taught (Proverbs 22:6).

GIVING UP A DREAM

at-carmona.jpgGiving up your own dream to support another person’s is not an easy task. But the decision wasn’t that tough for Jeff Reyes, a national carting champ (KT100).

I spoke to him one time in the cafeteria of our Every Nation Building, and he told me that his decision to give up carting was not hard because he wanted to spend more time with his son, Jaco. And since Jaco was also into carting, he became his son’s coach. This way, he not only gets to be on a race track, which is in an environment he truly enjoys, he also mentors his own son. Jaco was the reigning champion for his division in 2006.

In a day and age where you see a lot of egocentric and self-absorbed adults, it is refreshing to hear about a dad who is willing to give up a hobby that he does not only love, but is great at—because he has a greater dream for his son.

The Bible says in Ephesians 5:15,16, Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity . . .

We really only have a short window of time with our children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and students. Let us not just spend time with them. Let us invest time.