Thursday, November 21, 2013

My baby girl is turning 8 months today! It seems like yesterday when I was waiting for her to come out. Now, it's been 8 months and she has grown a lot. She has been responding actively to everything around her. Her laughter of course brightens our home everyday. Her feeding schedule is still as crazy ( round the clock) . And breastfeeding is the best thing I have done for my children. I have never thought I can breastfeeding this much and this long. But it has been amazing. When I stop going to school to dedicate my time to The Lord, to my children and to my family, I have realized the most important thing in life - balance. I remembered my first child, I spend more time working than spending time with him. I have exerted all my efforts raising other people's children and neglected mine. I have made myself miserable by wasting my time trying to fix what I cannot fix in the first place. I end up not having genuine and real relationship with my son. You cannot turn back time. He cannot be an infant nor a toddler anymore. Wasted time is wasted time. It's wasted opportunity. I realized that all my efforts for the past yow years are just taken in vain. All my sacrifices for the school is just vanity of vanities. Going back to The Lord, I have seen that I need to set my eyes on Jesus. I have seen that fixing and making sure my family and spiritual life is strong to lead and inspire others at school is the key. And that's what I am doing.

By God's grace.
I have one stressful situation today at Oakridge. One parent has been complaining because the teaches and the principal have called her to pick her son up on time. It's been three years and the same scenario happens everyday - she drives her son to school LATE and pick him up LATE ( like in the evening). Of course being a very proactive school, we ask our teachers and even we ourselves stay with the student ( just to make sure nothing happens to him). But when we called the mom in today and told her to drive and pick up her son on time, she started talking about how we need to understand her, how she's juggling being a mom and being a businesswoman and how she's paying the school anyway. Of course, she just left answer felt disturbed after that.
Many many times we neglect other people's rights, feelings, situations. We are just so self absorbed that e complain every minor details in our lives and we disrespect other people's time. Teachers - specialLy Oakridge teachers are the highest level of professionals in the city I have ever met. They are expected to perform with the best academic and teaching skills, intestinal fortitude and more than anything moral values. They have met international standards and have been pursuing high expectations from both the admin and International educational community. Thus, they deserve to be treated with respect. RESPECT simple.
Many many times parents treat the teachers like nannies. They even say , "we pay them". That's one of the most demeaning things they can ever so. Because as teachers, we do not work for parents. We work for the LORD. We area countable to The Lord to shepherd, raise and teach the students He has given us. We do not work for parents. We work for our country. To produce highly competent ! Dedicated and patriotic FILIpinos who will bring our country to progress. We do not work for parents. We work for Oakridge's vision which is in line with God's stewardship and God's perfect will.
Thus, teachers need respect. Teachers need appreciation. Teachers need partnership. Parents need to stop treating us like the 'enemy'. And should start dealing with us as partners who will help them raise responsible, independent and self driven individuals who can make a difference everyday.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Reading foreign journalists' reports and blog about the typhoon ahi yan and the response of our government to the affected areas, I cannot help but wonder, "will Filipinos change our ways, our priorities in life, our way of choosing government officials, our "un systematized"  approach to situations and our culture?" It is clear we need a culture change. Not that we need to remove the loving, kind-hearted nature of Filipinos. But we need to start seeing that we should plan, we should be ready and we should stop the "Bahala na " attitude.
It funny and a bit alarming when one journalist said before helping out in the Philippines, you need to have some level of tolerance on chaos. That's so true. Not just in typhoon hit areas. Once you reach the country, you need to be ready for chaos. Once the plane lands at NAIA, you will be welcomed by taxi drivers , hotel representatives, tour guides that offer packages and bunch of people waiting. If you jut came from a 12 hour flight, wouldn't you feel clueless and lost?
We really need to put order and a systematic approAch to our lives. Not just in government offices. I recalled one mother at school saying, "Oakridge is like utopia - it's so idealistic. What will happen when kids graduate and see the chaotic world? Aren't they prepared for chaos?" I have one clear answer to that, would you want your kids to be used to systematic approach to things, to organized world, so that when they go out in the REAL world, they'd be the channel , the avenue where change is truly implemented. These people in charge - government officials who grew up in an un systematized world. They travel - true. They see organized, effective societies. But they don't really study how they work, what they do yo make their communities effective. I recalled Jesse Robredo. His dedication and commitment to give structure and system to naga has paved the way for true change. Having studied at Harvard JFK School of Governance, he wanted to implement structure in his town - because he knows it is the ONLY way to progress. All countries who have progressed and reach efficient status have a structured and organized way of doing things. So when foreign journalist say, people who help in the Philippines need to have some tolerance on chaos is just an eye opener, a smack in our face that hey we need to wake up , people.
I truly hope this is an eye opener to everyone. I hope we don't resist change. I hope we vote for the quiet people.  I hope it's not just for show.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

I remembered our wedding march was "great is Thy faithfulness". I have always felt how The Lord has planned and taken control of things in our lives. But many times we loose track, become proud and try to maneuver things our own way. Many many times, we ignore His speaking and leading within and do things our way. Many many times, we loose sight of God's perfect will and do just as we please.
As parents, we tend to react to our children according to the flesh. We are so quick to anger and shout at them. We loose our temper easily. And let's admit it, when we loose our temper , we loose our self control, eventually our image as role models. I have always believed that children do copy us - adults all the time. As a preschool teacher, I have caught my student mimicking me and copying my movements. It's so funny! Once, I caught my student say , "Kwan" - an Ilocanos expression I have. How my female students want to grow their hair long because I have long hair. As a mother, it becomes difficult. Because of your temperament and your son's manipulation, we cannot help but loose our temper. And i felt really bad every time it happen. So, after the marriage retreat we had last September, I have dedicated my motherhood to The Lord and asked for The Lord to give me wisdom and much more grace in dealing with my kids.
As it turns out, when you learn to let go of your standards, pray for your children and spend more time with them, you develop relationship that will usher in communication, affection and even obedience. I have experience Nathan giving in and obeying once we had good communication.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Watching and listening to the disaster that happened in central visa has, you cannot help but see how fragile human life is and how certain things that pound us to the ground. It makes us go back to wh t is important and valuable in life. It's not those trophies, those high grades, those money, those material possession that we have acquired throughout these years. It's about our relationship with God. In the midst of disaster, we go back to The Lord and learn to kneel and give everything back to Him.
Heard a great message yesterday at church. The message was about learning to kneel and submit everything to The Lord to be able to conquer and overcome challenges in our lives. He gave examples on how he experience the Lord's conquering powers, by allowing ourselves to be subdues by God. Many many times, we put things in our own hands, trying to control bits and pieces in our lives. One thing is we are restless, we don't know how to wait for The Lord's perfect timing. One thing is we are proud and reckless. We just want what we want and we'll do it regardless of who we hurt and how we do it. It's just human nature. But man was made to be filled with God. Man was made to have God. But when we are proud and reject God's control in our lives, disaster starts to happen.
I myself have experience the Lord's dealing in a tremendous way. Oakridge is for God, from God and for God's move in the country. But when problems come, I take things in my own hands and start solving it. But the L ord chastened me many times. I even thought of just compromising and giving in to parental requests. But The Lord chastened me. He showed me that I need to give up and surrender everything to Him. And that if Oakridge is for Him, He will lead the way. Today, I have closed my eyes, I am walking by faith and I have consecrated Oakridge back to Him. Everyday, I fight with myself. I face anxiety everyday. But if it's God's way of subduing me and chastening me to obey Him, I will just say amen to Him.

Obedience is better than sacrifice.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

I was once asked why we, Filipinos used to put our families' name and degree outside our houses in stones. I have always thought it's like part of our culture or tradition. But this deeply rooted culture is a manifestation of a Filipino attitude where we like to show off a lot. We like to show that we are doing GREAT. We like to show off our kids are getting high grades. It's just funny! Today, when I opened my Facebook, I saw someone posting her honor roll certificate from a local school. And my initial reaction was " oh! That shows how good you are in memorizing bunch of useless facts". It was an impulse by the way. Just my reaction to that kind of stuff.
To tell you the truth, I'm soooo good in memorizing. I'm so good, I've memorized books of the bible. But it doesn't really make sense. You memorized so many things and end up forgetting and ignoring the value. That's not education. That's not learning. That's just plain "show off". Philippine education is so hypocritical that everyone just wanna show how good they look. But deep inside , you can see all the cracks and diseases in the system. They focus so much on programs, pageants - and not spend time on what's important - installing values and skills necessary for nation building. And of course what do you expect our country to be when majority of the schools in the country are just sooooo pathetically involve in outward appearances? We end up with shallow society.
At the end of the day, it doesn't matter whether you are in the honor roll, whether you are top one or rank 50. What matters is how you will do in life. We have so many friends who are not in the top ten at traditional schools, but you made their first million while in college. You cannot bring your honor roll certificate when you apply for your first job, or even apply at ateneo. But you do need - critical thinking, analysis, good character, great work ethics and an Oakridge education.
I believe that. That's why my kids go to OIS. If we compromise and end up just "trying to please dagupan parents" by simply going back to read and memorize, I'll take my kids to Manila.

Monday, November 4, 2013

I believe that Quality Time is the key to produce God-fearing, God-centered and Christ committed followers in our next generation. Without spending quality time with our children, we simply cannot have quality conversation, bond and even instill our faith in them. Most of the time, parents simply GIVE what children needs without understanding that its actually them and their time that matters to their children and that will truly shape their children's minds and hearts. I am simply blessed that Dek has always chose to spend time with me and the kids over work, friends and even masonry. He has always put God first and family next. And I truly praise and thank God for that. Nevertheless, our work doesnt stop there. Turning off our computers and phones and choosing to have quality conversation and time with our children is one of the hardest thing to do. Being connected on the internet and doing all sorts of stuff like facebook, even blog preoccupy us so much that we neglect engaging in real conversation with our children and even with our spouse. 
In our visit to Seoul, one thing struck me the most that I told Steve immediately how sad it was. Everyone is cellphone dependent, everyone use their phone and gadgets everywhere and everytime. You hardly see people talk- engage in conversation. Everyone either uses their cellphone, reads or sleeps (in the subway). Nobody really talks. So when you see a bunch of people laughing and talking , you'd know they are tourists. At their Museum, Nathan and I were fighting over the blocks. Then I started looking at other people and mothers simply make their children roam around the museum, while they use their cellphone and gadgets. It bothered me so much that I hugged Nathan and engaged him in conversation. 

I love traveling. Thats very clear. I love visiting new places- walking down the streets to discover culture, people and history. I love learning from other people. I love listening to their life experiences. More than anything, I love looking at life in a bigger picture- seeing where we are and appreciating things. Thats what travel does to me...makes me see things in a bigger picture.
Coming home from a first world country, I was confronted with the question, "why is our country the way it is? why hasnt we progressed over these years?" And throughout the trip, I saw how different people in other countries (first world countries ) are and how they live life. From a fast paced life where time matters alot, you go home to the Philippines where everybody relaxes and time just simply stands still. It's kind of crazy. It makes you realize that we are indeed in the countryside. We are very relaxed. while other countries are in a race to complete with the rest of the world, we, Filipinos are sooooo relaxed - enjoying life, living each moment. And yes...cherishing time.
But on the other hand, if we want our country to be a first world country, if we desire in any way life that is globally competitive and at par with first world countries, we better get our lives starighten out and start taking things seriously and efficiently.
Before leaving the country, we had to park in the airport parking. The security guad told us that parking lot was full and that he will allow us to park in airport employee's parking (ofcourse we just need to give him money). and so we did. We parked at employee's parking on the road going to the proposed airport parking building. I have no complain. It was very...convenient for us. I even told my husband not to take his photo, so as not to harm the guard. But as our plane flew, I realized that our convenience is what makes our country like this....stagnant. Our desire to get away with rules, our desire to be treated "special", our desire for convenience have stopped our growth as a nation. We no longer see things according to the Common Good. We simply want things our way. Thus, we live in a country where the rich get what they want, the middle class aiming to be rich ( to get what they want) and the poor suffer (because they simply dont have a choice).
When we reject every attempt to put structure and rules in our community, in our lives and even in education, we make ourselves enslaved by this perverted system more and more. We make our country harder to progress and develop. We make our Filipino brothers enslaved by this corrupted "system" (the absence of the system). and we live in a chaotic, law-less world.
Now you know why I want my Oakridge kids to study abroad. You know why I dont stop our teachers to go abroad. and why my kids will be going abroad to study, live their lives , earn, make a living and come home to contribute to CHANGE.