Monday, March 3, 2014

Discipline In Love

Last Wednesday, I attended a very interesting event entitled: “Love Does Not Hurt”, which was an event intended to discuss and raise awareness for “positive discipline”, which, according to Wikipedia is a discipline that focuses on the child’s positive behavior and reinforces that, as opposed to corporal punishment i.e. spanking, hitting as a response to a child’s wrongdoing.

It highlighted how important it was to practice positive disciplinary methods with our children, and not resort to inflicting physical pain in doing so.

A child psychologist talks about Positive Discipline.

For our part, my husband and I are raising a strong-willed two-year old and needless to say, discipline has been weaving itself as a very important part of our parenting journey. Our little Gabbie threw his first tantrum at 11 months and we were amazed at how adept he was at screaming, wailing and kicking as he has never done that prior. As we watched our little guy fly into a rage, we instantly knew we had to get creative in the discipline department, or else we’ll both lose it, too.

The discussion during the event was a very informative one, and by the end of the night, I recognized that positive discipline certainly has its merits. I mean, it really does seem natural to any parent to affirm her child’s positive qualities. And certainly, we must be generous with our support and encouragement.

But, what about those moments when our child disobeys, or throws a tantrum or outright disrespects us? What then?

Positive Discipline encourages talking, explaining and imposing non-violent punishment.

To which I say, “Oo naman syempre!” (Of course!)

What parent in his/her right mind—and heart—would want to inflict pain on his/her child? Of course, we all want our children to grow up being good people with the right values. But positive discipline cannot be fully understood and implemented without setting the foundation of a good, healthy relationship with your child or children.

That's me sharing my thoughts on discipline. 

And my take on Positive Discipline? It should be put in context with “Biblical Parenting.”

Why? Because I don’t know anything about parenting, and I better ask the One who gave me the child in the first place.

Who best to ask?

It is not enough that we focus on the discipline aspect of parenting, without emphasizing the need for a deep, personal, unconditionally-loving parent-child relationship—which is exactly the kind that our God seeks with us.

And, let me digress for a little bit, I feel strongly that in supporting our Filipino families’ rights, we must put efforts to encourage and help get parents to spend more time with their children, and know them, and enjoy them, and raise them well. 

On a larger scale, I pray for, and would want to help in endeavours that would afford better work-life balance for our working parents. That daddies can go home 5PM sharp, deal with much less traffic so he can be home to share playtime and dinner with the kids, that mommies be given longer paid maternity leaves so she can care and nurture her child personally in her most developmentally-critical years, that companies can provide quality daycare services so that children can be closer to moms or give flexible working hours for mommies, that our citizenry can enjoy free healthcare, a clean and safe environment, and free, quality education so that there is less stress for the parents raising three or four children, and possibly less reason to vent out anger or frustrations.

No, it is NEVER acceptable to abuse or show violence to children in any circumstance whatsoever. But, the practice of corporal punishment is a deep-rooted problem.

The lack of the abovementioned rights is fact for us Filipinos. Our living conditions may be far from ideal but is most certainly not hopeless. Which is why it is all the more critical that we raise and nurture children with good moral character and convictions. Literal, sila ang pag-asa ng Pilipinas! (They’re literally the hope of the Philippines!)

And so I go back to the Bible. Here’s what God has to say about discipline:

“Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.” Proverbs 13:24

“A youngster’s heart is filled with foolishness, but physical discipline will drive it far away.” Proverbs 22:15

“My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you. For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.” Proverbs 3:11-12

“No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.” Hebrews 12:11

So, as a mom who stands by Positive Discipline, I also stand by the use of the rod, as one of the many ways that we instill discipline in our Gabbie. This is used because we know our child well and it works for him on some situations. It is used only when absolutely necessary, and as my husband always reminds me, it should never be in anger or frustration.

I will discuss the use of the rod on another post. But, one thing I’ve learned about discipline is that it all starts with us as parents, being children of our Father.

I had to yield to God’s parenting of me. I had to set my heart straight with Him, and the sooner I came to terms with His unconditional love for me, the easier I could accept His discipline when necessary.

As I accepted His love, I learnt what kind of parent I should be to my child (still continuing to learn day by day!). And while the rod can be used as a tool to help communicate our love (yes, discipline is also love), it should never be without, or replace, time spent with Gabbie loving him and enjoying him.

I’ll ask you, fellow Moms and other Dads, isn’t it much easier to show affectionate love to our children than it is to say no and discipline them? But, as parents, we have to balance that.

Author Lisa Whelchel says, “It’s the same love that tell them no that tells them yes.” (Creative Correction, p. 21.)

Given by a friend, this book contains a wealth of unconventional,
creative ideas on correcting! Thanks, Janet!

Disciplining will always be about the heart—we address the heart of our children that it may not steer towards lawlessness and sinfulness as they grow older. It will also come from our hearts, and will prick our hearts too us parents. So, for me and my husband, we're not going to try to do this on our own. We're setting our heart straight with our “Child-Giver” day by day, and allow Him show us how it’s done. May our little Gabbie grow up to be a fearless, confident, purposed, compassionate man who will exceed his potential, and spread the joy of being a man reared in God's own hands. Amen!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

It's Not 2014 Yet

So many things have happened since my last post. The Yolanda devastation was foremost in my mind the last several weeks with relief operations (we focused on breastmilk-letting and providing relief to mom-and-child survivors), and in my prayers. My heart bled for our kababayans.

Along with that came busy season for our video production company, Salt Lab Creative and I found my hands full with production, and trying to pursue preschool homeschool for my toddler. My busy days stretched well into the holidays.

And now, here we are. One day after Christmas. Practically all gifts have been given, and all to-do’s have been checked. I’m sure a lot of us are just excited to move on to 2014 and leave the tragedies of 2013 (from Napoles to Yolanda) behind.

It’s been a tumultuous year, wouldn’t you say? For me, personally, I want to know what God has in store for me, my family and our nation.

So far, God has revealed two very personal things to me and I’d like to share them with you.

First, He has impressed upon me that my writing is intended for others. It is intended to write life, truth and encouragement, particularly for mothers. This humbling revelation has led me to talk with three other moms who, by God’s divine arrangement have the same heart as I do. So, as I write this, I am looking forward to another project in 2014—one that will definitely be very close to my heart, and one that I pray will be used by God mightily to empower moms. I cannot give specifics yet but I covet your prayers in its fruition. Thank you J

Second, God revealed an attitude pertaining to looking forward to the future. 

When our son was born at 30 weeks old on October 20, 2011, I learned a very valuable lesson that day: Savor each day and take it for what it is. I learned to submit all my expectations and our family’s future to Him. The present is my priority today. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6:34

As I look forward to 2014, to my son’s incredible growth (physically and intellectually), to new projects, to our family’s plans, to any positive change in our nation, I am reminded of the beauty of enjoying the present.

Today, December 26, 2013, I weigh 112 lbs., I have awkward long/short hair, I have a wonderful husband, a growing little boy of delight, one of my closest friends is getting married, and another is going to have a baby. I am semi-reconciled with my family, I am emotional but not overly so anymore I think, I am excited to shop for a few things I need but not obsessing about them anymore (thank God!). Overall, I am happy. No, joyful! And content. No, grateful! Definitely, grateful yes. I am thankful for such an abundant life that is peaceful, love-filled and is full of lessons and laughter. Most of all, I am grateful to have Christ in my life.

I may not know what the future will bring, and I certainly do not have control over anything that will come our way (that includes our child’s ever-increasing tantrums), but I have Christ and my hope will spring eternal.

So, as I come expectant of a bright year ahead, I also recognize that the present year isn’t finished yet. There are still several days of 2013 left to savor. Let’s begin with today.

Today is precious because You made it so. Today is a good day because I have You. So, thank You Jesus for today. Kindly please bless tomorrow J

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Oatmeal on My Skin

Moms, do you hold your shower time precious, just like I do?

If you’re anything like me, I’m pretty sure you’re very particular about your toiletries, too right? I mean, the only products on your caddy would be feel-good ones. No cheap scents, drying bars of soaps or strong, chemical-laden “beauty” products.

As for me, my caddy is full of Human Nature products, and this recent discovery of mine—OATMEAL.

Oatmeal has been a staple in a lot of handmade soaps and I’ve used several ones before. But this new bar I’ve discovered smells absolutely heavenly. The seller is called Gracey’s Ritual, and the soap is called Oatmeal Milk. This new addition to my soapdish is a bar of oat chunks and milk that caresses and exfoliates at the same time. The combination of the two is intoxicatingly charming—like a mild whiff of milky melon that lingers on your skin. And the best part is, a huge bar sells for only P70!

HUGE chunk of soap for P70!
I’ve discovered that oatmeal has anti-inflammatory properties, can help treat skin problems like eczema and rashes, helps detox the skin and provides much-needed moisture to the skin.

This soap is comparable to Lush’s bars; I’ve used quite a few of their variants and for the price difference, I’d say, Gracey’s Oatmeal Bar is not bad at all!

An added note on oatmeal: Gabbie has been plagued by heat rash and bug bites lately so I add 1/3 cup of ground oatmeal to his tub water every bath and it seemed to have calmed his skin irritations. He now says, “Buh-bye oatmeal” after every bath. Haha!

Here’s Gracey’s Ritual’s contact number 09266652203. She’s on Facebook, too. Give it a try, Mommas!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Back to the Grind

It’s been an amazing eleven days for me so far. Our helper, Manang Lourdes left for a vacation and won’t be returning until tomorrow. In all the time she’s been gone, I’ve been handling all house chores (with Mike, my hubby taking care of mopping the floors and taking out the trash on some nights)—from cooking two meals (we cook one big batch for lunch and dinner), dishwashing, sweeping, cleaning putting away fresh clothes, on top of taking care and entertaining a toddler. I’m back to the daily grind. It’s been exhausting, definitely but honestly, I really enjoyed this time, too.

Having no helper meant that I was back in complete control of my household and it felt good to know its routine, and how efficiently (or otherwise, on some days) I can run it. I was, for the most part, two steps ahead of my to-do’s. My mind was always running, planning, and thinking forward. And when I had everything running, I found I could let go more, be more spontaneous because I was confident with the routine I established.

I appreciated this helper-less time now again that Gabbie is a toddler and he can participate or at least observe and learn as Mommy goes around doing chores. There were days when it was just the two of us the whole day. That meant we had all the time to ourselves and it made for some unique bonding activities together (we painted, we counted and made macaroni necklaces). He also learned to put his dirty clothes in the hamper, push out the hampers from the rooms when we’re having the laundry picked up (by the laundromat), and stay quietly on his mat playing or reading while Mommy is busy in the kitchen. Some days I would bring him with me by the dishwashing area, sit him on a stool with a bowl of cereal and a half-cup of milk and he would snack while we sang songs and I washed the dishes. He would observe me as I washed, soaped and rinsed the plates and I knew all these are valuable lessons for him, too. I know because he said, "Mommy wash boo peyt (blue plate)."

Make no mistake. I’m super excited for Manang’s return tomorrow as I could really use some sleep. But I’m not at all regretful of the last several days. In fact, I’m quite grateful that I could really put my 100% focus on caring for my family and our home. I’m thankful for this opportunity to handle everything on my own again so I can re-assess, re-evaluate how the house is being run. As an example, I discovered that Domex as an all-purpose cleaner is awful. It left my floors smelling really bad. I’m opting to make my own all-purpose cleaner from now on, with the aid of recipes I found online. Check this out, Mommas:

If any of you are about to lose your helper or are dealing with a help-less household, don’t be daunted. Your household is yours for the taking. With the wealth of information that fellow homemakers share online, and the abundance of grace to every homemaker (read Proverbs 31), you’re destined to be the queen of your own home.

Oh, and don’t be afraid to take a rest whenever you can. A power nap does wonders for the daily grind of cooking, washing, caretaking. And this is exactly what I’m about to do now. I will join my little sleeping baby. Happy Monday, world!