Saturday, August 29, 2015

What is Your Child Most Grateful For?

I came across a Facebook post of a friend and thought that it's an interesting read. Since my eldest son and I are already finished with our homeschool lessons and he was already playing with his toy cars, I thought of asking him at least the first question in case he's in the mood to answer.

He was hesitant to answer the first question at first. Then, he would whisper his answers into my ear. I encouraged him to say them out loud but he just laughed. 

Anyway, he seemed game. So, I proceeded in asking him as many questions as he was willing to answer. I copied and pasted the questions on a Word file and typed in his answers. I wanted to remember his answers to these questions at this time of his life. He's currently six years old.

His answers gave me a lot of insight to what was going on in his mind and more importantly in his heart.

I believe that it was a wonderful way to cap our afternoon after completing our homeschool lessons. But little did I know that his answers to a couple of questions, particularly question number 8, would bring happy tears to my eyes.

As I've mentioned earlier, while he was playing with his toys, I was asking him questions. He was relaxed and in a good mood. I wanted to seize the opportunity to know him more through these questions. I just kept asking and typing answers as he blurts them out.

But there was one question that made me stop and ask him to come near me so I could kiss and embrace him.

It was this question.

"What are you most grateful for?"

Without batting an eyelash or looking anywhere, he said these words while looking at me...

"Being with you!"

Wow! I was speechless. I just felt the tears roll down my cheeks. Then, I drew him close, kissed him and embraced him. I told him, in my broken voice, that his answer made me very happy. I also added that being with him is one of the things I am most grateful for in my life.

Three words. Three powerful but loaded words from a six-year-old. Suddenly, I felt overwhelming joy for making the choices I have made in the past 7 years of my married life. I'm so grateful too that my eldest son appreciates my decision to be present to him and to his brothers, that it makes him happy and grateful, that he likes me to be with him. Wouldn't all parents want to hear that from their children? I think parents would want to hear that from their children regardless of their ages.

He was and still is one of the reasons I have chosen to work from home and to prioritize my Mommy duties over my work duties. I sometimes get frustrated when I don't meet my personal deadlines or when I am not able to do certain things I am passionate about because there are still MANY things that I need to attend to as a wife and as a mom. Yesterday, however, all those frustrations simply melted away. I felt like I was just handed a BIG REWARD that no amount of money can buy. 

I don't know about you but when I became a parent, so many things in my life changed. It was like my life was overhauled. I personally chose to stay home with my kids most of the time. I prioritized spending time with them over spending time with other people including my friends because my kids are still very young. I thought that my true friends would understand my new priorities and if they are parents themselves, the more that they would understand why it is extra challenging to go out of the house with small kids or a baby in tow, especially when you don't have a helper or nanny to help you out and you don't know how to drive.

So my days were mostly spent being with my kids... Attending to their needs, singing to them, listening to their stories and songs, reading to them, teaching them many things, praying with them, playing with them, cuddling with them, eating with them, etc.

Being a hands-on parent is no easy job. It's exhausting especially if you have more than one child to attend to. But it is also very rewarding like what I experienced yesterday. 

I was grateful that I took the time to ask those questions to my child and that I patiently waited for him to answer. I got to know him more. I gained insight into how he sees himself, what makes him happy, what makes him sad, what his dreams and plans are, what he wants to teach other people and many more.

There was another question that he answered that made feel really loved by my son. 

I asked: "If you can help one person today, who will that person be? And what will you do to help that person?"

He answered, "You! I will help you by playing with Geordan. (Geordan is his baby brother.)"

Isn't that sweet? 

Pondering on his answers confirmed what I have read many times in numerous articles and books. Children want our presence more than our presents. I'm glad that yesterday, my eldest son proved that to me to be true. He did not mention any toy I gave him or any play center that we visited. I'm grateful that my son has learnd a valuable lesson from the choices I have consistently made over the years and that is: People are more important than material things. 

Yesterday, I discovered that my son values my presence more than the toys that he likes to have or the places he wants to visit. I'm delighted to know that something as simple as being with a parent can make him happiest and most grateful.

Photo source here.

How about you? Do you know what your child is most grateful for? I encourage you to take some time to ask. You might want to use the same list of questions I used. Who knows, you might also get a very wonderful surprise like what happened to me! Here is the link to the article I was referring to in this post.

If you want to be with your child more often and you are dreaming of working from home or having a home-based business but are not sure how to transition to this kind of lifestyle or what you need to do to make it happen, I can help you through my coaching program called iHOPE. You can read more about it here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Does Your Child Run To You?

He ran to me! 

My 8-month-old baby ran to me from the other end of his crib. He is just starting to walk. He can only make a few steps on his own before he would fall again. 

Last night, he ran to me with so much excitement and joy!

His joy was evident and contagious! His smile and excitement were contagious! I could see it in his eyes. I can see it in the way he smiled and moved forward with eagerness. I could see it in his outstretched arms.

Look how big my baby's smile is!
We can see his two lower teeth (his first two teeth) already!

He fell before reaching my hands at the opposite end of his crib but it's okay. His spirit was not dampened. He was simply happy to see me there... present to him... watching him... cheering him... encouraging him... lovingly gazing at him and celebrating his every step.

He was happy, confident and brave enough to run even though he is still struggling with this new skill simply because I was there. My presence spurred him to do something that is beyond his current skill set. I am pleased that this was the effect of my presence to my son.

I am blessed to have these moments with my baby. Actually, I had been so blessed to have these kind of moments with all of my children.

I had been home since I got pregnant with my first child. Thus, I was there to witness and celebrate almost every single day and moment in their young lives.

Then, it dawned on me that my children will not always run to me. So, it's good to seize each and every opportunity to embrace them every time these opportunities come.

I realized that as our children grow older, they will run to us less often. I have seen this in my eldest child who is now 6 six years old. He still runs to me a lot but now that he's older, he runs to many other things as well and to other people. He runs to his toys and his books. He runs to his playmates. He runs to things that make him curious and that excite him or make him happy.

But he still runs to me many times each day. He runs to me to show me the products of his wild imagination. He runs to me to show me something he built using his building blocks or wooden blocks like the very detailed car park building, house or robot he designed. He runs to me to show me his drawings or art works. He runs to me to share something new he has discovered or learned. He runs to me to show the worksheets he has answered. He runs to me to share his accomplishments like the "books" he finished writing and illustrating. He runs to me to share his stories, his plans and his dreams. He runs to me when he is excited, happy, hurt or afraid. He runs to me for help. He runs to me when he has questions.

The same is true with my younger child who is 3 years old. He runs to me to do most of what his big brother does and so much more. He runs to me when he wants to listen to a story or read a book. He runs to me when he wants a kiss and a hug. He runs to me when he wants to be defended or protected. He runs to me when he wants to learn or know something. He runs to me when he wants someone who will listen to him. He runs to me when he wants to sing and dance. He runs to me when he wants his picture taken. 

My children run to me because of many reasons. When they were still babies like my third baby now, they run to me for milk most of the time. They run to me for assistance in doing many things. But as they grow older, they run to me less because they had been learning to do things on their own and to discover new things on their own. But I love that they still run to me to share their new learnings and discoveries afterwards.

I think that running to me has become their default because I have done three things consistently over the years that made them behave this way. And if you want your children to run to you as well, I suggest that you also do these three.

3 Things To Do So Your Children Will Run To You

1. Make running to you an option. Your children wouldn't consider this an option unless you make it known to them that this is something they can do. Let them know that they can run to you through your words and through your actions. Call them or tell them that you are there and that they can approach you. If your children are not used to running to you, encourage them. Don't force them. But keep inviting them. 

2. Be consistently present to your children. You need to be present to your children most of the time especially when they need you the most. That would powerfully convey to them that they can run to you when they want to or need to. Your presence is the most poignant proof that they really can run to you. Your presence will give credibility to your words that they can come to you. When you are not consistently present, they may think that you will not be there next time they want or need to run to you.

3. Make them want to run to you. There are many ways to make your children want to run to you. But these are all rooted in how you make them feel when they run to you. I do not claim that I do all these perfectly all the time. But I do strive to make my children feel this way as often as I can. 

Here are some ways:

  • Make them feel welcomed. We parents are always busy and it can be very           challenging for us to make them feel welcomed all the time. I have learned that when we are busy, it's alright to be honest with them by letting them know what we are currently doing and why we are doing the task at hand. But it's also crucial that we still make them feel welcomed most of the time and when they are still little so that when they are older, they know that they are welcomed. Mom/dad is just busy at the moment. When you have deposited much in your child's emotional bank account and made your child feel welcomed early on in his/her young life, your child can accept more easily the times when you will tell him/her that you are currently busy doing something and that you will spend more time with him/her later when your current task is done.
  • Make them feel loved. You can make them feel loved with your words. The way you speak to them also communicates your love. Make your actions or gestures communicate love as well, including your facial expressions when they turn and run to you. Children notice a lot of things. You'll be amazed to discover what they usually notice if you take time to ask them and listen to their answers. So do your best that your words, tone of voice, facial expression, gestures and actions all communicate love. 
  • Make them feel important. Children feel important when their parents make time for them and the things that matter to them. If your kids are still small, their play time matters to them. Their stories matter to them no matter how trivial these stories are or even when they do not make sense to you. Your presence and willingness to make time to listen to them and to their concerns make them feel important. Your willingness to help them when they need assistance on something or when they have questions communicate to them that they are important enough to be heard.
  • Make them feel happy. The wonderful thing about children is that it is easy to make them happy. The simplest things make them smile, laugh and bring them joy. A lot of times, if we just allow ourselves to spend more time with them, we will also catch their joy and find humor in ordinary things or situations. When we regularly make time to pause and make them happy, we teach them to associate happiness with our presence or company. That makes them want to run to us more and often.
  • Make them feel safe. One way to make them feel safe to run to you is by being open to them and their feelings. Let them get used to expressing themselves to you whether they are experiencing positive or negative emotions. When they know and have experienced this with you over time, then they will automatically run to you because they know that it's okay to be honest with you. They are safe to be themselves when they are around you. They will feel comfortable with you. Your presence will be a source of comfort in times of trouble and distress. 

Our children will eventually grow up and need us less but if they experience having you as someone they can always run to for anything, they will remember you not only with fondness and gratitude but they will continue to run to you even when they are already adults and parents themselves.

Does your child run to you? What moves your child to run to you?

Do you want to be remembered by your child as the kind of parent he/she can always run to? 

I believe that most parents want to be present to their children but are struggling to do this because of financial concerns. If you are serious in becoming a parent whom your children will always want to run both in good times and in bad, I invite you to take a look at my coaching program called iHOPE with Teresa Gumap-as Dumadag. It's a 3-Step Success System that can help parents like you to become present to your children while at the same time earning money for your family. You can read more about this here.

Friday, August 14, 2015

From Vision to Reality: The Hands-On Parents while Earning (HOPE) Summit

It started as an idea... an idea that did not leave my mind until all the relevant details were so clear to me, I could almost touch them.

I believe that this idea was God-inspired for it was well-aligned with my vision and mission in life. The idea was planted in my heart and was rooted in my life purpose.

What started as an idea blossomed into a beautiful vision. The details seemed to jump out of my head and heart in the days that followed. 

Excitement filled my days as I started to pursue this idea and worked towards making my vision a reality. But my days were not always sunny. I was not always hopeful and sure. There were days when clouds of doubt slowed me down or hindered me from moving forward. There were also days that were so dark, I felt like I was running blind. 

What helped me carry on was my certainty of WHAT I want to see turned into reality (MY VISION) and WHYs I want it to happen. Because my reasons for working hard to make it happen is very clear to me, I was fueled with passion even in the most trying circumstances. My WHYs for choosing to pursue this vision and dream enabled me to remain committed all throughout. 

I did not stop believing that it's possible to turn my vision into reality even in the midst of adversity. 

And so it happened. Maybe not exactly as I originally imagined it to be... But the event I imagined unfolded before my eyes almost as I envisioned it to be. 

As Arnold Schwarzenegger once said, "If you want to turn a vision into reality, you have to give 100% and never stop believing in your dream."

Photo source here.

My reasons for wanting this event to happen far outweighed the challenges that came my way. Thus, instead of letting them to become obstacles in my path towards my dream, I used these challenges to push me to work harder to turn my vision into reality. My WHYs were burning fiercely inside my heart and my VISION was so clear, attractive and exciting that I couldn't help but be pulled towards it even on days when my eyes seemed covered with dark clouds.

I love this quote from Steve Jobs.

Photo source here.

Today, I'd like to take time to thank every one who helped me turn this idea, this vision into reality. I'd like to thank the companies and brands who chose to believe in me and my advocacy and chose to support parents who want to be hands-on with their children while earning for their family.

First, I'd like to thank my friends from Sun Life Financial, particularly my advisor/agent Jackie who introduced me to the wonderful people of PLDT. Through the help of Jackie and Eden, PLDT home became the venue sponsor of the first ever Hands-On Parents while Earning or H.O.P.E. Summit. I am honored to have these companies as co-presentors of the H.O.P.E. Summit together with my own company Full Life Cube.   

Second, I'd like to thank JV All Events for sponsoring the photo and video coverage of the HOPE Summit's morning session and giving me a discount for the afternoon session's coverage. I first met their owner when I was planning for my second child's first birthday party.

Third, I'd like to thank my friends and fellow members of the groups I am a part of who chose to be part of the HOPE Summit by being speakers and guest panelists: Martine De Luna of Make It Blissful, Ginger Arboleda of Manila Workshops, Jomar Hilario of Ideas That Prosper, Katrina Ambion of Mommyfide PH, Denise Bernardo of Indigobaby, Angeli Del Rosario of The Beadlady and Cherry and Jay Castillo of Foreclosure Philippines. Thank you to all of you for sharing your wisdom and inspiring stories to the parents present at the HOPE Summit.

Thank you also to Indigobaby and The Beadlady for the items you provided for our raffle.

I also thank Chef Jon Chua for agreeing to be one of our guest panelists and Chef Raquel Chua of Mama Chows for sponsoring our morning snack during the event. Mama Chows has been sponsoring the snacks in my previous events but it was my first time to meet the couple behind this company last weekend.

I also thank my friend Angelo Yaneza of Balai Pandesal for choosing to sponsor the afternoon snacks during the HOPE Summit.

I'd like to thank Arts by Ayerie for providing the lovely keychain and bag tag giveaways during our event.

I'd like to thank the following sponsors for the freebies and gift certificates they provided:
  • Bert Lozada Swim School
  • Gymboree Play and Music Philippines
  • Halo Philippines
  • Kids Acts Philippines
  • Kindermusik with Teacher Suzette
I also want to thank the companies/brands who chose to support the HOPE Summit through their booth sponsorship, giveaways and raffle items. 

  • Filway Marketing
  • Fluffy Pwets
  • GPG Bulilit Bookstore
  • Heart Shapers Videos
  • Mom and Milly 
  • Moringana by Organica Asia
  • OMF Literature
  • Shepherd's Voice Publications
All these brands helped me make my vision of having a bazaar of products that support hands-on parenting and family relationships become reality.

Aside from having a bazaar of products and services at the summit, I also envisioned the following:
  • a room where kids can wait should they need to go with their parents;
  • a breastfeeding area;
  • and organized activity for the kids while waiting for their parents.
All these were realized and I'd like to thank PLDT for providing us with an extra room and Ask Sheryl Today for facilitating the arts and crafts session for the kids.

I'd like to thank Smart Parenting Online for being my media partner again for my event. I'm very grateful for their support for all my previous events and I'm honored that they choose to promote my events in their website.

Last but not least, I'd like to thank the parents who went out of their way to attend the HOPE Summit. I was moved when I discovered that some of them are not from Metro Manila and that there was even a parent who came all the way from Mindanao to attend the workshop. Hearing their stories during the small group sharing inspired me as well.

I am amazed at how all these people and brands/companies helped me make the Hands-On Parents while Earning Summit possible! Truly, when we are clear on what we want, we attract into our lives the very ingredients that will make our dreams come true and turn our visions into realities.

I believe that that's what happened to me as I organized the HOPE Summit.

Are you also holding on to a vision? That vision could be your future. Hold it close to your heart and let it fuel your every move.

Let me end this post with this quote:

Photo source here.
Photo credit: All of the HOPE Summit photos (except the group photo) used in this post were taken by Christopher Salgado.

Check out Hands-On Parent while Earning on Facebook for more photos during the HOPE Summit.