My kids were hooked this week with the Kung Fu Panda series. I must admit that even though this movie is for kids, it’s filled with words of wisdom.

“If you only do what you can do, you’ll never be more than you are now.”

– Master Shifu

Master Shifu told this to Po when he failed big time on his new role as a teacher. This came at a time when he is comfortable already with fighting, thinking that being a “Dragon Warrior” is only about punching, kicking, and giving high fives to bunnies. He has no clue about his powerful destiny.

In the end, he was forced by circumstance to become a great teacher by enabling everyone in the Panda village to reach their full potential. Not by making them like him, but by harnessing their strengths.

In my life, I wouldn’t have been blessed with my three little princesses if I didn’t have the courage to propose to Cali despite the financial obligations way back then.

Growth only happens when you are forced to do things out of your comfort zone. When you face the unknown head-on even when you’re scared. Even when you think it’s way beyond your expertise and your resources. Even when it doesn’t make sense…

As long as you know that God has called you, like Master Oogway’s prophecy of Po’s destiny, take a deep breath and do those challenging things… we are all destined for greatness.

Thankful Things

About two months ago, our family decided to develop a habit. In our nightly prayer, each one of us will give a shout out to God about our thankful things that happen for that day.

In one of the talks I’ve heard before, Gratitude and Anger (or any negative feelings) can not reside together in our hearts. When you see that you are blessed beyond what you know, all you can do is sit back, relax and wonder about God’s divine providence.

So fast forward, two months after, as much as we thought we’re doing this for God, we were the ones who got more out of it. It’s true that we really can’t outdo His generosity. Let me summarize our top wins ever since we start this habit:

Lesser Arguments

Well, of course, in all marriages, there are disagreements and arguments. What we noticed was that during the course of the pandemic, the closeness also brings about, getting into someone’s nerves more often. We are happy that we developed this grateful routine. This saved a lot of time harboring hatred in our hearts. After all, gratefulness and hate cannot coexist right? Knowing you have a lot of happier things to celebrate, washes away our energy on placing them to unlovable actions.

Lesser Whining

I’m sure if you have kids in your house, it’s easy to hear them whine about almost everything. When we started this routine, we heard them whining on what they are going to be thankful for. But as we continue doing this, they’re now super excited to go first on doing their thankful shoutouts. There’s still whining now if they didn’t go first. But it’s cuter now.

This quarantine period, being together with the family is both an advantage and a disadvantage. It’s good that families are now much closer. But of course, it also tests our tolerance for each other’s quirks and imperfections. Having our Thankful Things in our night prayer reminds everyone in the family that despite our arguments, we are always blessed beyond what we are feeling at that moment. That no matter what bad thing we have said during the day, it doesn’t matter because it’s overpowered by the happy thoughts of the blessings we received.

Unlimited Blessings to Unlimited Patience

When something bad happens during the day, the grateful disposition somehow molded us to have longer tolerance on each other. I remember Fr. Paulino’s homily on patience as he said “Huwag kang matakot magbigay ng pasensya, hindi yan mauubos…”

Knowing that God has unlimited blessings, it makes the heart more generous. And what better way to show generosity is by giving more patience and tolerance to your own family.

So how do we do our Thankful Things?

Every night after everyone washes up, we start our prayer and each person recites his/her thankful things that happen that day. No item is too small nor too big. This allows our hearts to open up and see blessings no matter what the size is. This also trains our minds to focus on the good things and lift other concerns to God where we have no control. Then we proceed with the rest of our prayer and end with hugs and kisses.

Hope you develop your daily gratitude habits too. It works.