I should have posted this sooner but in case you are interested in sending your kids to a fun three days of bible stories, music, dancing, games, crafts and fellowship, Greenmeadows subdivision will be hosting a DVBS starting tomorrow. Please check out the flyer. Personally, I prefer to bring my kids to this one because it is just three days and it is a smaller group. Our church just organized one for about 700 kids! This one is a mini-scale version with the same theme.
One of the opportunities that the homeschooling lifestyle has opened up for our family is involving our children in ministry with us. Edric and I encourage our children to participate in areas where they can so they develop a heart to be used by God and bless others. We want them to catch a vision for how God can use them early on. So we assimilate them into our ministry. Elijah, our eldest, has already shared with us a few times during speaking engagements.
When Edan, our second son, began to express his interest in doing the same, we decided to include him in the last retreat we spoke at. We were going to talk about marital roles to prepare the singles that had invited us to speak. They wanted us to share about relationships and Edric and I knew that at the end of the day, it boils down to what you need to work on in your self, as a man or woman…being the right person before looking for the right person.
At first Edric and I were like, “Marital roles? How is Edan going to talk about anything related to that as a 7 year old boy?” And God gave us the idea of asking him to share about what it means to be a gentleman, from his perspective. There was a portion in Edric’s talk where he was going to emphasize how a man needs to nurture, care for, and love his wife. And the plan was to say, you are never too young to start cultivating the traits of a gentleman. At this juncture, Edan would give a quick sharing.
Earlier in the day, I asked Edan what he remembered and had applied about being a gentleman. He read it to Edric who said, “Okay, I can insert that into my talk.”
I asked Edan to practice reading his testimony aloud several times and I put spaces in between his points so that he knew when to look up at the audience and when to pause. I also took a home video of him speaking so he could see and hear himself. From there we discussed how he can improve by emphasizing certain words or making his voice louder. Being the very methodical thinker that he is, he internalized all of this. By the time he got up on stage, he felt ready and excited.
Hi my name is Edan. I just turned 7.
When I was five years old, my dad taught my brothers and I how to be gentlemen.
My dad taught us several things:
One of them is letting ladies go first.
For example, when you go into a room or inside an elevator, you should let ladies go ahead of you and hold the door open for them.
He also told us that we should help people, like if someone is carrying a lot of things, I can help them carry them.
I must also learn to have good manners and be polite.
For example, if my mommy and daddy are talking with someone or to someone else, I should not go in front of them when I want to ask them something. Instead, I should stand and wait for them to be done talking.
When I am meeting someone new, I should introduce myself. I should look at them in the eye, tell them my age, and shake their hand.
My dad also taught us not to make fun of others when they are doing something but can’t really do it. Or, if they have an accident, like they drop something and slip on the floor, I shouldn’t laugh at them.
We are also not allowed to make obnoxious sounds like yelling when we are in public or being too loud when we are in the car.
When I leave the table because I am done eating, I must ask to be excused and bring my plate to the kitchen.
When I visit people’s houses I should not make a mess. But if I do I should clean it up and take care of other people’s things.
He also taught my brothers and I to take care of my mom and my sister, and to protect them.
So last month when we didn’t have any yayas, I fixed all the beds and I taught my little sister how to take a bath. I also taught her how to do things for herself.
My older brother, Elijah, helped my mom clean the kitchen and the bathrooms so she wouldn’t be so tired.
It’s important to be a gentleman because Jesus is a gentleman.
He was kind to ladies and he helped others.
I want to be a gentleman because I want to make Jesus happy. Please pray that I will become a better gentleman as I grow up.
This was his first time to speak before an audience of about 400 people. I watched him standing behind the little podium they had set up for him as he delivered his short talk. Of course I was praying for him! In fact, I forgot to take a video of him speaking until he had gotten several lines into his testimony. Watch the link here: A Little Gentleman
Because our children spend a lot of time with us and watch our lives closely, they know that we are burdened for ministry. And since they like to do what we do, we take advantage of passing on the same burden to them while their hearts are pliable and tender.
I think of the example of Jesus as a young man, at 12 years old, dialoguing with the teachers in the temple and amazing those who heard him. Sure, he wasn’t just a child, he was God in the flesh. But when our children come into a relationship with Jesus, he gives them the same power through his Spirit to do great things for the glory of his name.
We don’t have to buy into the idea that “they are just children.” Do we let our children play and enjoy their childhood? Of course! But Edric and I also know that everything that our children do now — the appetites, interests, and activities they devote themselves to — will shape their passion and love for God. Our prayer is that they will be wholly devoted to God. Since this is our goal, our present role is to prepare them and help them to love him now, and give them opportunities to put that love into action.
They can start simply. Edan’s testimony was not extraordinary. It was plainly written and the content was child-like. However, the experience allowed him a foretaste of the joys of serving God and others. He got to see what it is like to bless others and do something that pleases God.
Will Edan be a speaker someday? Maybe, maybe not. That’s not the point. The point is wherever God leads him or any of our children, will they desire to please Him? Will that desire be familiar and ingrained into who they are — their default posture before God and others? If that is the point, then what are we doing about it now? Are we just hoping it will happen or are we purposefully preparing them?
For You are my hope; O Lord God, You are my confidence from my youth. By You I have been sustained from my birth; You are He who took me from my mother’s womb; My praise is continually of You. (Psalms 71:5, 6 NASB)
Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, “I have no delight in them…”(Ecclesiastes 12:1 NASB)
I believe all women are beautiful. God has gifted each one of us with unique personalities, abilities, and physical attributes.
Years ago, I found out my color palette was autumn and spring — earthy and warm. I have always been drawn to orange, brown, beige, and deep hues that remind me of the sun setting or leaves falling. These are the colors that best highlight my skin color and features, and make me feel energized when I am wearing them. On the other spectrum are winter and summer colors — bold and bright. I look sickly and tired when I wear these. But on other women, wow, these colors make sense.
It’s helpful to know your color palette, especially when you go shopping for clothes and makeup. And you need to know your body type when you want to look like you haven’t been stuffed into an outfit that evokes visions of a sausage. I don’t think we realize how big a difference the right colors make and learning to accentuate the positive in our figures (modestly, of course) makes us look more youthful, alive, put together, and yes, beautiful! But what is outer beauty without inner beauty? Make up and clothing on a gorgeous woman still won’t hide the ugly inside. So both matter!
If you are free on April 20, 9am to 12pm discover how to cultivate inner beauty and enhance your outer beauty at 3rd floor, A Venue, in Makati. And if you care about your women friends or loved ones, bring them along. For P100/person you get a color palette kit. Slots are limited. Hope to see you there!
Last weekend, I was in Cebu with Edric and the kids. No yaya. Wow. It was slightly crazy and wonderful at the same time. Part of the reason we were there was to talk about homeschooling. I was asked to give a testimony as someone who is in the trenches of it. That’s definitely me! So here is my take on homeschooling in a nutshell. I’ve broken up my testimony into two parts and taken bits and pieces from old posts to summarize What I like About Homeschooling and What I’ve Learned as A Homeschooling Mom
What I like About Homeschooling:
Free-flowing Lessons. Learning happens very naturally in the home. Teaching and training my children are not confined to a set period of the day. It doesn’t just happen in the study room of our home. I have four kids at different stages of learning so if I were to do a classroom set-up, I wouldn’t have enough time in the day to teach my kids like a conventional school would. Instead, I let my kids’ learning happen outside of textbooks and workbooks. Learning happens naturally through dialogue and discussion, hands-on experiences, modeling, games, reading and telling stories, socializing with family members or friends, and lots of creative play. I do give my kids workbook and textbook time, as well as writing exercises and tests. But, these conventional learning methods don’t dictate how, what, and when my children learn.
A typical day for our family would be the kids waking up at 7 AM and we have breakfast as a family. By 8:30 or 9 AM we start our lessons. With each child I will cover three to four subject areas. My older son, Elijah, is a pretty independent learner so he can do most of his work on his own. We will read History and Science together because he likes the discussion and interaction time we have when we go through these subjects. In the meantime, my second son, Edan, will be doing his lessons with lots of breaks in between. And when I’m preoccupied with my youngest son, Titus, Edan act as my teacher’s assistant or entertainer. He will help teach Tiana, my fourth child, and keep her busy. I work more closely with Titus because he needs one-on-one instruction. And after about 45 minutes he is done with his “academics” and will work with manipulatives or have free play time with his sister. Everyone is doing something productive between 9 and 12 noon, but it isn’t always sitting down at a desk. In the afternoons, the kids can read, pursue their hobbies, practice their violin, and rest. I rest, too!
A Customized Education – tailor fit to my child’s needs. At home, with one-on-one instruction, it is much easier for a parent to adjust to the learning needs of her child. Titus is a kinesthetic child but like my two older boys, he learned to read early because I modified my approach with him. Phonics instruction was kept short and sweet. We didn’t do too much writing until he was really ready. And I let him have lots of time to play with dough, scissors, glue, marbles…basically anything to help him develop his fine motor skills.
My simple philosophy for teaching my kids is this: All children are equipped to learn and they can develop a genuine love for learning, but a parent must be willing to discover and investigate how her child learns best, welcome the adjustment it requires on her part, and look to the Lord for the supernatural creativity, insight, wisdom and ability that this kind of inspired teaching requires.
At home, children have true play. They can engage in self-initiated activity without the pressure of outcomes. They are challenged to be creative, to conceptualize, and to problem solve while they play. And they have hours and hours to play! I really feel like they get to have an extended childhood that isn’t cut short by the over scheduling and time consuming homework that school-going kids have to deal with.
Learning along-side my children. I have never been excellent in math. I used to dislike it immensely until I started homeschooling my kids. When I became a “math teacher,” I had to re-learn math from the ground up. From pre-school math to upper elementary math (where I find myself now), I am both student and teacher to my kids. When Elijah was in 3rd grade, I peaked at the answer key in the back of his math book when we encountered a word problem I was stumped on (can you believe it?! 3rd grade?!) and he got really upset. He said, “Now you won’t solve the problem with me!” He enjoyed the fact that we solved the problems together. It didn’t matter to him that I wasn’t a math expert and this didn’t keep him from learning. He wanted me to learn along-side him. Nowadays, he uses Kahn Academy to teach himself math.
I call this approach to homeschooling the “teamwork” approach. It is experiencing the process with my kids, encouraging them and inspiring them to learn by making it fun. And often times, their definition of fun is having me beside them.
Cultivating relational intimacy between siblings / between parent and child. Adidas used to have a tag line for basketball. Basketball is a brotherhood. Well, for my boys, homeschooling is a brotherhood. My kids are growing up to be best friends and they often say they are. Homeschooling has a lot to do with it because they are together so often and have to work out their differences, defer to one another, and love one another unconditionally. God has really knit the hearts of my children to one another. They hold each other accountable for responsibilities like violin practice, reading their bibles and praying together. And they have each other’s backs. Elijah recently told me, “I protect my brothers and I stick up for them.” Someday, they will benefit from each other’s spiritual support and encouragement to weather the storms of life. Developing a loyalty to one another when they are young will have a lot to do with that.
My siblings and I were homeschooled for a time. And it proved to be such an amazing bonding experience, we remain close to this day. We enjoy getting together with our families, sharing meals and conversations, watching movies, playing games and sports, etc. My parents taught us to prioritize loving your family members before friends and this has carried on into our adulthood.
Dr. Gordon Neufeld, a foremost child developmental and clinical psychologist from Canada made this statement during a talk he gave on Why Home Education Works. ”Homeschooling provides the optimum environment for a child to mature into a healthy and whole person who can achieve his fullest potential. Years of research and study show that a child was designed to be raised and educated at home because the most important element in a child’s development towards maturity is his attachment to those who are responsible for him – his parents.” He is not even an advocate of homeschooling. He is an advocate of child development.
He cites the following reasons:
- At home, children have continuity of contact with their parents. Schools separate children from their parents and foster competing attachments with peers.
- At home parents taken on the responsibility of pursuing their child relationally. This gives a child rest from the work of attachment. He doesn’t have to strive for the attention or affections of his parent. When children have to work for love or affection, they do not grow or mature.
- At home, a child faces less separation and less wounding (ideally) so that his heart stays soft and pliable. At school a lot of wounding occurs, especially among peers. This causes a flight from vulnerability and a child develops hardness of heart.
- At home, parents can support the maturity process. They can handle the stages a child goes through, the questions and the struggles.
I would like to add that at home, parents can continually assure their child, “nothing will separate you form my love…not your attitude, not your behavior, I love you no matter what, but because I love you, I am committed to helping you change and improve.”
Homeschooling has most certainly turned the heart of Edric towards our kids. And he has chosen to be very involved in their lives. This has been a special blessing for our family. The conviction to be a hands-on, intentional father came when Edric began to think about the goals of our parenting and homeschooling.
Influence. Dr. Neufeld also explained that children want to be like those whom they are attached to. They will give their heart to those whom they are attached to. They want to be known and reveal their secrets to those whom they are attached to.
He brought up this very important point: When did your child fall in love with you? When did you child give you his heart? We were never meant to deal with a children whose hearts we did not have. If you do not have the heart of your child, you will not have the context in which to bring him to his fullest potential. If you do not have his heart, you will not have his mind.
Homeschooling allows Edric and I to impact the hearts and minds of our kids because they are very much attached to us. Because we spend the most time with them, we naturally have the most influence, too.
Teaching a Biblical World-view. No education is neutral. No child is neutral. Every child has an orientation towards God or away from God. Edric and I don’t want our children to be bombarded with secular messages and worldviews that will turn them away from a God-ward orientation. So we filter what they learn through the word of God. We protect our children from wrong kinds of indoctrination by peers, teachers, school curriculums and systems that promote humanism vs. theism.
David Sant said, “All education is indoctrination into a religious worldview…All education is undergirded by presuppositions about the origin of the universe, the origin of man, the purpose of man, ethics government relationships between men, and the continuing existence of the universe in an orderly and predictable manner. It is an inescapable fact that all of these basic assumptions are fundamentally religious. Therefore we must view the schoolroom as the place where children are indoctrinated into the religion of their society. The school is, in effect, a temple.”
In a climate of postmodern thinking which has removed God from the picture and promoted the ideas of moral subjectivity, pluralism and relativism, there is a need more than ever before to teach our children the truths that God has given us in his word. When Elijah was 3, he asked us, “What if there is no God…what will happen?” It was a valid question. Who would have answered this for him if we weren’t around?
As parents, we need to be able to answer key questions that will impact our children’s belief system and determine their choices and actions: Who is God? Who Am I? What on Earth Am I here for? Edric and I aren’t willing to gamble our children’s future convictions by leaving this task up to others.
The faithfulness of God. We chose to homeschool in faith, in obedience to the Lord. We continue to do so, despite our limitations and imperfections to find that God is faithful. Every year that I teach the kids, I look back and think, how did we survive last year and manage to finish everything?! I’m always in awe of how God comes through for us. He is the one who makes my kids excited about learning. He is the one who helps them to learn. They are doing well inspite of me!
Parenting has hit a 10-year anniversary for Edric and I, with our eldest, Elijah, turning 10 today. We are still in the trenches of parenting without the horizon of our children’s adulthood yet in sight. But, Elijah often pushes the boundaries of the parenting frontier for us as the eldest. He brings on new challenges, new doubts, and he surprises us with his ever-maturing perspective on life.
Elijah, like all my other children, is an incredible gift to Edric and I. We have enjoyed his personality — his passion, intensity, zest, deep love for the Lord, and his insights. He is an intellectual child, a fast learner – a sponge, really. If he had a superpower it would be his capacity to read or listen to content and comprehend it right away. And with a voracious appetite for reading, he’s like an unstoppable force at times. I can’t keep up with the stock knowledge, facts, and information he has stored in that brain of his.
I remember asking him once, “Do you really learn anything from what I teach you or do you learn more from what you read?” He told me, “Honestly, I learn more from what I read but I still like to learn from you. But what I really like about you teaching me is that we can be together.” I felt both useless and special at the same time. As a homeschooling mom, that’s sort of a good thing. Independent learning in a child is a blessing when you have several kids to teach!
More than academic input, what he really needs from Edric and me is consistent discipleship. Like any child with intelligence (I think all children are gifted with unique abilities), he could become a Megamind without a moral compass. Therefore, he most definitely still needs guidance and mentoring.
Our parenting style with him has had to change over the years. The biblical goals remain the same, but we have to implore different strategies with Elijah. He has taken “training course 101”: obedience and respect. He knows what it means to obey and respect us, and, more often than not, he does. There may be occasions when he says things that can be rephrased in a more courteous way, but it doesn’t happen often. For the most part, he has internalized both character traits. The last time he received a spanking was years ago. He gets why it is important and necessary to obey and respect those in authority. Ultimately his obedience is to the Lord. So if he has a problem with that, he is accountable to him, too.
At this stage in his young life he needs help with identifying character weaknesses and how to combat these with spiritual means. For example, when there is a mismatch between what his brain can imagine and what his motor skills are able to do, it leads to emotional chaos. He will groan, become self-deprecating, negative, and upset beyond reason. I used to try to lecture him and mouth out bible verses to convict him to change, but these did not help. This would, of course, aggravate me, which only made matters worse for our relationship. So I learned to turn him over to the Lord. When he would act up, I would ask him to quietly excuse himself and take a moment to pray and process his feelings.
Early last year, he finally recognized his heart issue as pride and admitted this to me. During a week of prayer and fasting held January 2013 for our church, he made a list of things to pray for and one of them was, “Be controlled by the Holy Spirit.”
When he starts to be angry with himself, he will voluntarily step out of a room and be alone for a while to pray. He will return about five to ten minutes later ready to resume the task that he was in the middle of. I asked him what he does when he isolates himself and he said, “I pray that God will help me not to be irritated, to remain focused.” This has been his most effective coping method yet.
As for me, I give him spiritual space to let the Lord speak to him. From past experience, I know that telling him what to do and saying things like, “You need to stop that and change your attitude,” works 1% of the time, if at all. I can still do this with the younger kids because they are in “training course 101” but Elijah is growing up. He needs to internalize certain spiritual truths on his own.
When he goes off and brings his frustrations before the Lord, he returns ready and able. I offer him a hug, an encouraging word, a back rub, and I pray for him instead. If he comes back smiling, all credit goes to the Lord’s work in his heart. After all, these instances are beyond my control. I can enforce consequences and get angry so that he will listen out of fear, but I’m looking for a different kind of fruit in him — a compelling desire to please God more than Edric or myself.
If there is anything that 10 years of parenting have taught me it is this: There is a spiritual tug of war for the hearts of our children. The reality of Satan’s attempts to turn them towards ungodliness and use their weaknesses to his advantage is so apparent. Even if my kids are homeschooled and seem to live in an environment where they are, for the most part, protected from negative peer, media, and worldly influences, the battle is most certainly within. Satan is a master infiltrator, intent on destroying every seed of faith that is planted in the hearts of our kids, and snuffing out the love they have for Christ.
I encounter this reality often, not only with Elijah, but with my other kids. Most of the time, they will do as they are told, but there isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t have to deal with one of the following in at least one of my children – selfish attitudes, hardness of heart, manipulation, laziness, wrong thinking, etc.
There is no such thing as a cocoon or bubble that can really shelter my kids from evil or their own carnality. And I really don’t think that parenting or homeschooling needs to be about paranoid over-protectiveness. I don’t homeschool for those reasons, though an undeniable benefit is that our kids aren’t subject to the same sort of undesirable influences that most children who go to school are. (Not all schools, okay?)
Homeschooling lets me be present and available to better understand, help and disciple my kids for the purpose of spiritual fitness because I have more time with them. How can I do this if I am not around to identify what’s wrong in the first place? What if I can only see what’s happening on a surface level because my interactions with them are minimal and reduced to a few hours each day? How will I pass on the love for the Lord if I can’t model or encourage it often enough?
I already feel that the number of years that have been given to me for a season of parenting are too short. Celebrating Elijah’s tenth birthday was a reminder once again that I don’t have forever to prepare and equip my kids for the harder battles that they must face. His real battles are not completing a composition assignment that he doesn’t want to do, or getting annoyed because he can’t finish a 20-sided origami polyhedron with a single sheet of paper better than he thought he could. (Both of these have the potential to make him emotionally ballistic.) The greater battle is between his two natures.
On the one hand, he desires to please God, to love him, and be an obedient and loving son to Edric and I. He wants to do his best in everything that he does for God’s glory. But on the other hand, he knows that he can be an emotional yo-yo, ruled by his feelings, and unresponsive to correction and teaching when his heart is overcome by pride and irritation. I praise God that he is learning to yield to the Holy Spirit as his best weapon for the war within. But it has taken a good long while for him to come to this point of awareness.
There are no quick fixes to our children’s character and even our own. There is no fast-forward button that can be pressed for immediate transformation. God allows us all to go through a refining process where we become more aware of our helplessness apart from his grace so that we can live with power through it.
When homeschooling moms fret about uncompleted daily assignments, unfinished workbooks, unmet academic goals, I want to say, “Have you considered the possibility that you are focusing on a minor battle when there is a greater war at hand?” But, how can I say this without sounding like a crazy person?
The reality is, if the enemy can get us to be impatient, annoyed and stressed out by the little things he can make us…
a. act in ways that nullify the positive influence we want to have on our children
b. doubt our decision to homeschool because we begin to focus on our inadequacies or our child’s
c. pressure our children to learn when their hearts aren’t ready so that the joy of learning is taken away
d. seek to motivate them externally when what we really want is internal motivation
e. give the evil one victory because he has successfully channeled our efforts and energy away from discipleship.
The greater battle is not giving them the intellectual capacity to cope in the world. That is certainly part of our responsibility but it isn’t the most important thing. We need to prepare them for the spiritual war – the real world – where the foundations of their faith, their convictions and values will be tested and tried. Will they stand? Will they falter? Will they recover?
As Elijah moves towards young adulthood, his struggles will also grow. It has given me hope to witness his strategy for self-correction – learning to pray and surrender himself to the Lord. But that is not the guarantee I have for my fears. What allays my fears is knowing that God is a gracious, ever-present, and faithful father. He loves Elijah and all our children more perfectly than Edric or I ever could. If we can teach Elijah to keep walking with the Lord, if we can parent him in such a way that his heart is continually turned towards the Lord, if we can encourage him to keep studying God’s word and grow in wisdom, and if we do our part to model a love for the Lord contagiously and pass this on to him, then I believe that God will surely do the more difficult part of causing Elijah to become the man he wants him to be — spiritually fit and able to be a light and testimony for Him.
May these verses encourage you as they have me…
The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. For he knows how weak we are; he remembers that we are only dust…But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear him. His salvation extends to the children’s children of those who are faithful to his covenant, of those who obey his commandments! Psalm 103:13-14, 17-18
Just got back from an overnight stay in Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, in Bataan. It’s a heritage resort conceptualized to resemble an old town. Old Filipino houses from different areas of the Philippines were transported to the resort. For homeschooling families (or any family), it’s a great place to experience a visit to the past. Of course, the rooms and amenities are modern and comfortable, but it is truly a unique experience…not your typical resort. There was a fabulous cultural show last night in the “town square,” and they have tours that allow you to visit the houses and uncover their intriguing histories. Their restaurants are a little bit pricey but worth it! Las Casas Filipinas also has a pool and clean beach.
A friend of mine, Monique Ong, told me about this place a few months ago. When I found out that this was the same spot Edric’s dad wanted to take the family to, I was thrilled! Unlike my family, whose vacation spots revolve around nearby golf clubs and sports facilities, Edric’s family really enjoys the beach. Our kids do, too. They can spend hours in the sand doing nothing but digging holes for who knows what purpose.
I am blessed with such wonderful in-laws. I married into a family that is very close knit, godly, and loving. It was a joy to spend the weekend with them.
Elijah guested on Edric’s show, On the Money, for the Christmas episode along with four other kids (three were also homeschoolers). He had such an amazing time. He kept talking about how cool the studio was. But, I think the best part for him was just being with Edric. He is at that age where bonding time with Edric matters a lot. They do one-on-ones every now and then and Elijah comes back from these occasions with his emotional tank full. I wish I had a spy camera that can record their conversations because neither of them divulge as much as I would like them to when I ask them what they talk about.
After the ANC interview, I asked Elijah what he answered and how it went. And he just said, “You have to watch it, mom. I can’t tell you.” Well, I finally found the link for it. On the Money:Christmas Episode Every time I watched Elijah answer, I thought, my goodness, he is like a little Edric!
I belong to a homeschool playgroup of about 8 families. (We have tried to keep this group small.) This Christmas, our playgroup decided to be more purposeful about reaching out to the poor.
Personally, I don’t think our children are going to develop a heart to serve others unless we, as parents, provide opportunities for them to do so. So, I was thrilled when Cathee, one of the moms in our group, suggested that we “adapt” a group of 50 young children from Tondo for a day so we could do something special for them.
We invited them to come to Kidzville in Podium. The idea was to sponsor a day of feasting, playing, and fellowship. But most of all, we wanted them to hear the gospel message and let them encounter Jesus Christ. Besides our own financial commitments, I was so blessed by how people in the group were able to raise the funds and collect donations by enlisting the support of others — friends, family. God really provided more than enough. Of course, we all recruited our children to pack the give-away bags and groceries. They had a whole lot of fun doing it, too.
The day began early at Trevor and Bonnie’s home so we could consolidate everything by 11 am. We then headed to Podium Mall to meet the children at Kidzville. Located on the 4th floor of the mall, it is an amazing play place that looks like a miniature town. Another part of it is similar to Active Fun but scaled down a bit. My kids love this place. The owner graciously allowed us (thanks to Betty’s negotiating skills) to use the area to host the children from Tondo. (I must say that I was impressed with how carefully the Kidzville staff cleaned everything after the children used it. They washed all the toys and scrubbed the place down.)
Henry Gula, also a homeschool dad, gave the gospel message in Filipino. We let the children eat a hearty buffet meal sponsored by a lady in our group whom I am sure would prefer to remain unnamed. And the kids had the time of their life running around the play area. Afterwards, we distributed their bags and loaded groceries unto the bus they came in.
It was a very good ministry experience for our kids. Sometimes our children have no idea how blessed they are to have the comforts that they do. The kids from Tondo have so little. Some of them were practically inhaling their food because it was such a treat for them to be eating so much.
I set the same food in front of my kids and they said things like, “I’m not hungry. I don’t want to eat that.” I looked at them and replied, “Don’t you dare complain about the food. The children over there (pointing to where the Tondo kids were seated) go through the trash to find food to eat. They eat bones from chicken that people throw away. So don’t tell me that you don’t like your food. You will eat that food.” The bones thing is very true. It was featured on TV. My kids looked at my I-mean-business-face when I said this and proceeded to eat.
This experience was one way to let our children get up close and personal with poverty. They told me this evening that they learned to be more grateful. I really don’t want our children to grow up so unconscious of how impoverished other people are. I sometimes fear that the comforts they are so used to will make them approach life with a sense of entitlement. So these ministry outreaches are an important part of their education. I really believe it helps to condition their hearts to look beyond themselves to see the needs of others.
We were only able to reach out to fifty children. In relation to the number people who need to be clothed, fed, and ministered to spiritually, this seems so insignificant. But I am hoping that our playgroup can do this kind of thing more frequently.