Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Posts tagged ‘lesson’

Train Up A Child In the Way He Should Go…

Little Judah was already tired. He’s just three years old and he had this long, unwavering patience not found in most children. Lans had to tag the little boy with us because she was his babysitter for the day.

“Ban-og ka (Are you tired)?” she asked Judah in Ilocano.

The little boy shook his head a wee bit as we were trudging along an inclined path. Still, she lovingly gave him a piggyback ride on her back.

I was impressed with this little boy. He has been with us in an event full of adults, an almost childless place where he could have the right to be bored and display social tantrums. But I did not hear him whimper a sigh of complaint. I have noticed that this has been the personality of most Igorot people – they are not pushy and they are very kind. I wonder how well they were raised as children. I could see that Lans and with the other adults around him are raising him well.

Most parents today, especially those who the Igorot people would label as lowlanders, are quite confused with the thin line of discipline and cruelty, as well as kindness and spoiling children. I find some parents not being aware that their way of discipline is actually destroying them.

I had observed how some parents would berate and try to embarrass their children in public by calling them “stupid”, “fool”, or “useless”. A former colleague felt sorry for a three or two-year-old who was berated by his father by blurting out a curse just because the child accidentally spills his drink inside the jeepney. Parents who would scold like that would never discipline a child because they are just declaring who their children might be when they grow older. They usurp their authority as a parent because they don’t realize there is power when they are declaring names over their children.

I must admit I don’t like children who do not regard their elders around them. There was a five-year-old girl who did not give me a mano (the Tagalog tradition of children placing their elder’s hands on their forehead as a sign of respect), despite her mother nearly screaming at her to do it. In return, I could not help but glare at her threateningly to set down her utensils because she was already waving them before our faces (despite her mother screaming at her again). Most of the times, screaming and shouting is not the way to discipline them. I guess children are tired of their parents’ screams so they would taunt them by closing their ears. A sincere heart-to-heart talk is all they need because they need to understand the consequences of their actions.

Let me go back to little Judah. Now, Judah has an elder sister named Blessie. At one time, Blessie made drawings on the wall and Judah imitated her. You know how messy a clean wall can become when scribbled by a playful kid. Lans, in her patient nature, set aside Blessie and talked with her gently.

“Did you see the drawing on the wall?”

The little girl nodded.

“Did you see what Judah did after you wrote on the wall?”

No long sermon needed. By the sound of her question, Blessie understood her mistake. She nodded without a word.

“Do you see it’s wrong to draw on the wall?”

Blessie nodded.

“That’s right. You should be a good example to your little brothers because you are their ate (elder sister). So be careful with what you do. Ok?”

No raising of voice. Words were just spoken calmly like the morning waves of the sea. But it deeply strikes the conscience like an arrow. Blessie did not leave any marks on the wall anymore.

It’s tragic when our lighthearted culture dictates it looks cute when small children display tantrums around elders because they look funny. But tolerating that would only tolerate rebelliousness. That’s why when parents correct bad habits by the time children are older, these kids snap out of it and slap it back on their parents’ faces.

Much needed to correct in the way we correct our children. Somehow, most parents in my generation are not used to be disciplined because they belong to a generation waning away from the strict authoritarian rule exuded by our much older Spanish ancestors. They have created their own way of discipline. There is a need for parents to be aware how to discipline their children well without removing love out of their system. There is a greater need for parents to learn how to pass down good traits to their own children in a well-mannered and disciplined way.

I have this sense that our culture has a big factor in the way we react to correction and discipline. Truly Proverbs is already advising us to “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” If we instil into them the wisdom to do what’s right at an early age, they will embrace it as they grow up. When we discipline them in the correct way, they will grow up as good-mannered citizens. With this, we can be proud of ourselves and with them, because we are adding up another history maker in this generation that needs deeper understanding on what is right or wrong.

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Freedom Off the Walls

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Let it go, let it go…

My life is a bit like my struggle with skating. The fun and breathless freedom every skater catches when he glides through the ice can never come if I remained on the wall. I did not realize this until I got into the skating rink. Imagine how my excitement was washed away when I began to struggle against the ice.

Insecurity and fear pushed away my excitement when I came into the rink. Insecurity because I was not good in balancing. Fear because I was scared to fall down and crack a bone. In the first thirty minutes, I looked like an old, frail, ninety-year old granny without a cane. I felt lonesome as my friends were drifting (even while struggling) into the middle of the rink. It’s miserable, as if I was imprisoned on the walls.

I tried to request for an instructor. I waited for a few minutes hoping it would be my turn. But I decided to go on my own.

Let it go, let it go…

And there I was again, struggling like a little toddler on the glass wall. I tried to fend off the embarrassment of falling on my knees. With a little nudge and encouragement from my friends, I had to let go of those walls.

One of my good friends, Lans, who helped me glide along the ice :)

One of my good friends, Lans, who helped me glide along the ice 🙂

Blag! I tried to cower in embarrassment but my friends just laughed it off and helped me up. I had to fall to realize that I can’t stand and even learn on my own. It wouldn’t be fun skating without a friend.

First fall...ouch!

First fall…ouch!

And so, little by little. I was able to glide a bit on my own. Soon, I was skating in the middle of the rink! Yey! I could never have felt that freedom if I had not let go of the walls I had dearly held on.

Let it go, let it go
I am one with the earth and sky

Literally, I was singing that while gliding through the middle. The fear I had felt at first was like when I was swimming through the middle of the pool. That short moment in the ice gave a glimpse that I had been holding a lot of baggages in life…

My pride…to keep me from embarrassment when I make a mistake

My false humility…so I would not be criticized

My insecurity…so I would not be called a fool by the greater authority

The past…to bask in the old glories

 

Shoes of courage

Shoes of courage

Like those cold, lifeless glass walls, I had to let them go. I don’t have to waste my life clinging to them or I will spend the rest of my life being boring and pointless.

Would you wait for me again, little skating rink? I hope I would be able to skate a bigger rink, not here, but maybe where Queen Elsa lives.. 🙂


Let it go, let it go
I am one with the earth and sky…!

Like a little baby

Fun all the way…!

 

 

Surviving the Dangerous Waters

“Do fishes have emotion?” I asked my mom while looking at the pool filled with variously colored koi.

“Of course they do,” she replied, “they also feel stress.”

I asked the question because I was wondering how they would feel when they’re removed from the comforts of their calm, cultured world. Put them in a running river or the open sea, these fishes might feel extreme stress. The outside world is too hostile compared to the serenity offered by their artificial pond. I wouldn’t wonder if they don’t survive at all in the open sea or the dangerously gushing river.

It’s the same with us human beings. We love to stay in our comfort zones. When we are placed in an environment or situation outside these comfort zones, we become stressed. What if like a fish, we have no chance of going back to that artificial pond? We have two choices: give up and destroy ourselves or overcome and emerge stronger.

It’s good to be in the comfort zone, but there is also great danger in it. There’s a false sense of peace going on around it, causing us to be unaware how our senses, thinking, discernment and ability are destroyed by a bacteria called complacency. We’re trading all talents and ability for sleep. Thus, when the shell of comfort are destroyed around us, we are caught unaware, too late to realize that all our capacity to survive is lost.

But when we are put into dangerous waters, this is the time we use every given ability, talent, and thinking into survival mode. Through this, we learn how to stand up and strengthen ourselves and forge ourselves to persevere until we develop the ability to survive.

I’ve been put into such moments many, many times. But at such instances, I wanted to give up and destroy myself, believing its the only way to get out of the problem. But, of course, we are not meant to stand in the flames alone. Do you know how God wanted to partner with us? In Him, we can have all the survival mode that we can need: the abilities, talents, thinking, and wisdom can only come from the Creator of time and space. By the moment I thought I got nothing, I just ask the Father the grace and wisdom to overcome. In Him, I got everything, and in Him I can persevere and survive.

When we are put into dangerous waters, don’t curse the moment. Instead, it’s an opportunity and privilege to become stronger and better people yet.

Capturing the Broader Perception

May bayad po yung bata (Is the seat for the child paid)?” A pregnant lady asked another bus passenger rather loudly, her voice sounded quite scandalous in the fully loaded bus to Manila.

Sitting comfortably with a little boy beside her, she said “Oo (Yes).” I was ignoring them until an older lady sitting with the boy and mother began to retort.

Kaya nga nakaupo yung bata kasi binayaran (That’s why the child is sitting because his seat has been paid)” She said in a croaked voice. Now the pregnant lady was already given a seat by a younger man. She heard the old lady’s loud murmur and answered back. “Nagtatanong lang naman po (I just asked).” But the old lady kept on murmuring and even called the pregnant lady crazy.

Now, I wondered to myself, if she, a grandmother herself, had she not been into the pains of childbirth, too?

Besides, all the pregnant lady wanted was a seat, as she was already heavy with a child.

But instead of offering her a seat, she was shunned away…maybe offended at the tone of her voice or her seemingly strong presence. The woman was trying to be strong though I’m sure was feeling uneasy.

But sadly, the grandmother seemed to have lost the broader perspective.

I understand they have paid the child’s seat, and the boy deserve it in place of that payment. But should these people have had the broader perspective of understanding the pregnant lady and her condition, I guess, they would have been even more blessed.

Most people have lost the broader perspective and have only focused on themselves. We have the right to for their rights, to shun off every offense, but we don’t see the need of others.

The Bible tells us to regard others better than ourselves. The call of humility is easy to scream at, but the endowment of this trait into our system is not that easy.

We have been taught to get our rights, but our culture has not taught us to open our eyes and be sensitive to the needs of others.

Thus, we fight against each other to get our rights, like dogs eating each other for a piece of stale bread.

How should we get a broader persepective? Only when we silence our own selfishness, try to get into the shoes of others, and sacrifice even a little bit of ourselves for them.

I admit, I’m still at this battling stage. And with this society, the need to learn humility, as my fellowmen also has the same needs and rights as I do.

And as a fellow human being, I must not disregard to my fellow man their needs and rights as I do have.

But it’s a long road before everyone in this society, even me, to capture the broader perspective.

But let’s begin that journey now.

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