Giving Back

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April 27, 2014 – Caliwag, Pasig

Irregardless of age, financial status or gender, everyone can share something for those who don’t have enough.

As a rookie dad, I wanted Amanda to learn the value of living not just for herself but to have the genuine concern of loving others.  I believe that it’s one of the ways to live life to the full.  And hopefully starting her young even if it seems that she doesn’t understand is a way to expose her that not all kids experience the same blessings as what she has and that it’s perfectly ok to aim to have more than enough blessings so that she can share them to others.

So starting on her first birthday, even though she’s just barely walking, we coordinated with our SFC brothers and sisters serving in Caliwag to celebrate a simple birthday with our kids there. The same went on last year and on Champee’s third birthday this year, it was pretty amazing since she’s able to participate in some of the activities already.

Three things I’ve observed: 

  1. Kids are highly engaged on music – There’s lot of dancing and singing at the start and end of the program.  Pretty much the same with all of any of our community activities as we use song and dance as a prayer.  Thinking about it, when you put melody on words, it’s easier absorbed by our subconscious and easier to infuse on our habits as well therefore transforming lives easier.  Consequently, aside from actions… if you’re having a hard time teaching your kids about anything, try to make a simple tune out of the instructions you want them to follow.  For example if you want kids to cleanup after playing, maybe you could say “Clean up, clean up… ” to the tune of “Bahay Kubo?”
  2. Kids need special nourishment on both the body and spirit.  The kids’ regular activities consist of the opening and closing dancing/singing prayer, games which helps them interact with each other and encourages cooperation for the seniors and story telling plus arts and crafts for the juniors to hone their basic skills.  It was a complete package to feed their spirit and intellect.  The second portion was the feeding program.  And this is where Amanda and other sponsors in the past greatly contributes into nourishing these kids physically through providing them food.  What’s different about this year was that Amanda is now old enough to participate in the food distribution and was assigned as our juice girl 🙂  In her own little way, she’s able to actively participate in nourishing tummies of other kids.
  3. We could do more.  I know the committed brothers and sisters serving the kids could have spent their time resting on a Sunday afternoon.  But they offer their time, talents and treasures to make a difference in these kids’ lives every week to teach songs, games and introduce God in their lives hoping that when they grow up, they’ll grow up as loving and responsible adults.  Having this once a year Champee birthday helped them just for this week, but i do hope that we could also raise funds for them to make their venue accommodate more children and encourage more volunteers to keep this activity going,

I would like to honor the brothers and sisters who helped us with Champee’s birthday at Caliwag:  Jhoan, Vince, Julius, Dave, Fidel, Sarah, Zaldy, Bojo, Tita Dorie, Tonton, and Jack hoping that someday, Champee will also get the same passion for serving underprivileged kids


Delayed Gratification

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Couple of months before Champee’s birthday, she got hooked on watching the demo videos for Play Doh.  I realized two things… one, I thought there are weird people that are super excited to buy toys, open them in front of the camera, and then assemble and play and post to You Tube… Two, there are even more insane people watching their videos.

But then, after checking their YouTube hits, they already have thousands like this one.  Meaning these guys are earning good money from what they’re posting.  So definitely, they’re not insane, just good entrepreneurs recognizing the big revenue opportunity on a seemingly simple demo video.

One of the things that me and Cali were conscious on teaching Champee is her patience.  This was the first time that she requested something from us and that we believe this was the perfect time to teach her the value of patience and perseverance. 

Being exposed to watching the Play Doh videos, she wanted to have one of her own.  We told her that we can buy her that, but she’ll have to wait for her birthday on April 17.  So this became her birthday wish script:  everytime you ask her, “When’s your birthday Amanda?”  She will always reply.. “April 17th”… and when asked about, “What’s your wish? (ala Dibo the Gift Dragon tone)”, she would promptly reply “I wish to have a Play Doh…”

There were few instances that we went to toy stores when visiting the malls.  And as you would guess it, it’s a haven for kids and toddlers to see all the best toys displayed.  But for parents, it could be their worst nightmare as you can’t expect to leave those stores without swiping your credit card or your monthly budget.  So when we went there, it’s impossible for her not to see a single Play Doh toy.  Of course she got excited, but what I’m not expecting was that her ability to understand that she’ll have her turn to own one on her birthday and not black mail us by crying out loud in the store.

We were happy with her reactions everytime she behaves like that.  Either she’s too young now to act negatively OR she understood even with her young mind the things we talked about delayed gratification.  I do certainly hope it’s the second one 🙂

During the course of her waiting, we found her to be watching play doh videos during her tablet time.  Maybe this is one of her secrets to cope with her wants. 

I know this is just a small thing to help her mold her character, but I know, planting these seeds of simple discipline can help her manage bigger issues as she grows older.  As the bible puts it in James 1:3-4 “for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing”. That is a parent’s every dream for their child… to be able to live their lives full and complete and the only way to achieve that is to infuse in their blood stream the value of patience;  To continue to persevere even with the most difficult challenges;  To break through the barriers of difficulties… To remain on hoping… until you get the promise.




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Dibo the Gift Dragon… what’s your wish? (taken from http://img.ohkpop.com/2013/01/13/UQ19WF62.jpg)

Five Things I learned from Rio 2

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April 13, 2014 SM Megamall

It was a very long day for the family as we were only able to get out of the house when it was already night since I had to recover from the long work week which included a client meeting and photobooth event on Saturday.

So we didn’t have concrete plans when we went out except to eat our dinner and attend the Palm Sunday Mass.  But after hearing the mass we still have time left and passed by the floor where we the cinemas were.  And since for the past few weeks, Champee was persistently asking us to watch Rio 2 in the big screen whenever we drive by the big Rio 2 billboard in C5, I guess this is the right time for us to take her to her first movie .

We were very anxious as to how she will react with the big dark room.  I remembered our experience in the Mind Museum where there’s total darkness in their planetarium.  Champee screamed when the show started due to the loud sound, prompting us to get out of the cinema-like room.  However since all viewers were lying flat on the floor it became extra difficult to go out as we might step on other people’s faces.  Me and Champee were able to get out alive 🙂 however, as my wife headed towards the exit she accidentally push the door a little bit strong and the hinge came off so light entered the entire room ruining the other people’s planetarium experience.  So we hurriedly pushed back the door and went out to another part of the museum where hopefully no one can recognize us.

So the test begins when we entered the cinema, it was already flag ceremony and it was also her first time to hear our national anthem.  We were able to find a good spot to seat and then fortunately, she enjoyed the movie trailers.  That at least ensured us that she’s going to enjoy Rio 2, until Godzilla’s trailer showed up.  It has the most frightening musical scoring and scenes so we got alarmed and the mind museum experience flashed back.  However, we needed to be composed so we pretended that Godzilla is just like Barney, so she wouldn’t think it’s really scary 🙂  Good thing that it didn’t last that long and another cartoon trailer showed up and then Rio 2 started.

As we watched the movie, it’s good to know that even though it’s an animation film both kids and adults enjoyed the show.  And as I’m writing this blog, I just wanted to share some insights that I learned from Rio 2… 

  1. Being a dad is hard enough, but fumbling when your family expects you to deliver is the worst feeling in the world – when Blu went in to play for the Macaus, it was his time to shine.  It was his time to redeem his family’s respect that he can win it for them.  But then, when the time comes he needs to score, I remembered the movie “Puto” where Mayor Bistek shoot the ball in his opponents basket.  Similar to what Blu did, he failed.  I remember the times when I failed to deliver my family’s needs.  When work took most of my time rather than spending my nights playing with Champee.  When I feel helpless on Champee’s fight with constipation… and the list could go on.  One of the favorite quotes I got from Bishop Soc was that “The beauty of the stars can only be seen by those people who walk in the dark”  When we fail, when fumble on the peak of pressure, those are the darkest moments in one’s life… but these moments are the ones that could make you fulfill your destiny as these can make you stronger. 
  2. Different people have different strengths – when Blu met Roberto (being the alpha male in Jewel’s tribe) a sense of security sets in.  Probably in our parenting, there might be dads whom other moms admire as a hands on dad, or a very playful dad, or even a mommy-like dad.  Regardless of shape, size, abilities and talents, I would say that one should never gauge his fatherhood on other people’s standards.  We each have own abilities that we can bring to the table that our kids would enjoy.  Or to properly put it, God has given each dad his mission based on his ability to take care of his family.  Whether you are the jolly dad or the military dad, God molds us into the perfect dad for our wife and kids based on our God-given abilities.
  3. Sometimes we tend to create a big plan out of a strategy we haven’t tested yet – during the highlight of Nigel’s attempt to kill Blu by having Gabi shoot a poisoned spear based on her saliva, it failed as she is not poisonous after all.  Sometimes, not just on parenting, we have preconceived notions of doing things without checking if they really resolve our problems.  Like if our baby seemed to not respond to our commands, our first reaction was to shout.  And then shout even more until she cries out and both of you are making noises and not getting your messages across.  I learned it the hard way, that the most effective way to communicate your thoughts is by listening first, understanding the other person’s concern and then responding in a lower voice.  They say that the greatest tool in communication is your ear rather than your mouth.  And when we listen, we use our hearts before using our mouths.
  4. You can find talent in the most unexpected places or events – in Rio’s got talent auditions, they weren’t able to find the talents in the city.  But when they went into the Amazon, they found all sorts of acts and talents.  I guess this goes the same with our parenting where we shouldn’t box our kid’s capabilities based on our bias. We shouldn’t be limiting their abilities based on what we wanted them to be.  I remember an article before saying to let kids enjoy their childhood.  And that for each activity they do, parents should simply support and appreciate their output.  I remember a story of a mom who had a daughter showing her a story she wrote.  The mom goes proofreading like reviewing a newspaper editorial.  In adult’s standards, it was one of the poorly written stories in the world, but for a child it’s a starting point of unlocking her full potential when she grows up.  Again, talents can be seen in unexpected places.  Never let our kids be robbed off of that opportunity to discover theirs by limiting their abilities through an adult’s ignorance.
  5. There’s no place like home – although Blu was hesitant to accept that the Amazon is their home, he eventually did when he finds how happy Jewel and their kids are in their natural habitat.  In this busy life that we live in, most couples are now preoccupied with work to earn a living and secure their child’s future through logging more hours at the office. True wealth is at home. We learned this the hard way by allowing Champee be reared by a nanny on the first year of her life.  When my wife decided to stay and do business at her own phase and also stay at home with our baby, that was the time we realized we should have done this a long time ago.  There was just a big difference on her development when we had that setup. We could never exchange the time we invested on Champee over the money that we earn when we’re both working.  I believe as parents, we owe it to our kids to prioritize building a home that they can love and be loved so when they grow up, they can spread the love as well and create beautiful homes as well.

Carwash

PictureMe and Champee on our way home from our date.

March 29, 2014 – One of the best things I learned from the Feast when I was still attending then was to have weekly dates with your spouse.  So when Champee was still in Cali’s tummy, I planned on extending this to my daughter as well.

However, when she was in her super infant stage, I was wondering how can I have a date with her since she was too attached with Mommy Cali for her milk.  So I decided to delay this plan until she get more independent.

And so, after almost three years, now that she’s a big girl and can ride with me either using her Dr. Stone’s chair (I’ll blog about this later) or just with the passenger seat, we can go to places and spend time and do dad and daughter bonding.

So last weekend we went to a very nice place, a carwash 🙂  It’s so nice dating your baby girl, you don’t need to spend much on a fancy restaurant.  A simple carwash will do.  She’s so amazed with the cars lined up being covered with foam and a high-pressured water hose to rinse it off.  And the vacuum cleaners, it gave her a high, hearing the brrrrooom and zhooom while our car’s mats were being cleaned.

This date was also extra special, as this was the last time we’re going to use our Pipoy (our first car’s name) since we sold him to my sister in law living in Cebu.  Still we’re glad he was retained in our family.  

It brought up some good memories when we first went to Baguio as a family to attend to a friend’s wedding.  We packed it up with all of Champee’s stuff… the sterilizer, jackets, shirts, toiletries, diapers, medicines, lotions.  And since we wanted to serve our friend through our business we also brought our photobooth along.  Plus of course, our clothes which is about only a third of what Champee has.  All of those stuff packed inside a four-door compact sized car travelling more than 200km for more than six hours resulted to a very exciting road trip.

So going back to our carwash experience, it was good exchanging stories with her about what she’s doing when I’m out in the office. We also talked about Frozen and play doh videos in You Tube which I found interesting as there are lots of videos of adults doing demos for any play doh and imagined it to be a good revenue generating channel for them.  Hmmm… what if I ask Champee to do one when she gets her play doh on her birthday?  It might be a good income stream for the family as well 🙂

So there, after an hour and a half Pipoy’s already clean and ready to be shipped to Cebu.