Sunday, December 1, 2013

Why Celebrate Christmas Even After #YolandaPH

  
I’m participating in the KEEP CHRIST in CHRISTMAS Blog Link-Up 2013,
hosted by
  
"Tuloy ba ang Pasko?" (Will Christmas push through?)
 
With the extent of devastation that Super Typhoon Yolanda did to our country, it's not surprising that you'd hear this question asked in the streets as Christmas Day comes near. People probably ask this question as their way of trying to cope with the trauma and loss brought about by this recent calamity.
 
There are Filipinos who are thinking of canceling their office Christmas parties so that they can donate their budget to the victims of the calamity. I think that this is a good idea and that if employees agree to do things this way, that would really be highly appreciated by our countrymen who need much help to recover from the rubbles left by Yolanda. I would however suggest that instead of cancelling all Christmas celebrations in the office or anywhere else, simple Christmas celebrations be done in place of the usual festive ones.
 
Here are three main reasons why I still strongly recommend to my fellow Filipinos that we celebrate Christmas this year.
 
1. Celebrating Christmas will remind us that God is with us - in good times and in bad. He is Emmanuel, right?
 
2. Meditating on the Nativity Scene would remind us that Jesus, the Son of God, chose to be born poor... with nothing to boast. He was stripped of His glory and entered the world as a vulnerable infant. Mary and Joseph didn't even know where to go to spend the night in Bethlehem on the night that He was to be born. If they were not able to find a stable, they too, like the many victims of the recent typhoon would not have a roof over their heads. These similarities, among others, can remind us Filipinos that God is close to the broken-hearted and that the poor has a special place in God's heart. That God understands what they are going through because He also experienced being poor.
 
3. Jesus' coming gives hope. The Jews hoped and waited for the coming of the Messiah. And He did come and saved us - Jews and Gentiles alike. Although we know that Jesus will come again at the end of time, He also comes to us every day of our lives. But for us to recognize His coming, we need to expect Him. We need to hope that He will come. We need to look with the eyes of faith. Because when we do that, we would see Jesus come to us in the ordinary and even in the painful events of our lives. That is what I want my fellow Filipinos to have this Christmas. I want all of us to put our hope in our Messiah. To wait for His help and recognize His help and provision through the ordinary blessings that come our way - be it in the form of a bottled water, a relief pack, a sympathetic ear or a warm smile.
 
So with these in mind, my family and I will celebrate Christmas this year in simple but meaningful ways. Let me enumerate how.
 
1. Through our simple Christmas Countdown. I believe that countdowns build up anticipation for big events like Christmas. I want to help our kids grow in anticipation for Jesus coming. Anticipating His coming every Christmas Day I think is one way for them to develop this attitude of anticipating an encounter with God not just at Christmas but even every day or every moment of their lives. You may read more about our Christmas Countdown here.


My boys just opened our first Christmas book.
  
2. With simple and DIY Christmas decorations. My kids are still very young (5 and 2 years old). So, I'm not very eager to buy ornate and breakable Nativity Scenes to decorate our house with. This year, I've decided to make our own Nativity Scene from our old popsicle sticks.
 
Here's how we did our version which was inspired by this post shared by a friend of mine in Facebook.
 
- Gather old popsicle sticks.
 

 
- Paint them with your preferred color. (You can use your fingers, a brush or a foam.) My boys used a foam to paint the popsicles green. Then, my eldest son and I used our fingers to paint the popsicle sticks which were used to symbolize the Holy family.


 
- Air-dry the painted popsicle sticks.
 
- Stick them together using a glue. Air-dry once more.


 
- Cut a piece of paper to form a star.
 
- Put glitters on the star-shaped paper. (You can do this by spreading glue thinly on the paper and then scatter silver glitters on it. Or you can simply use a silver glitter glue. This is what we used. We squeezed some glitter glue on the paper and spread it to distribute evenly on the paper.


Our finished art work.

- Glue the star on the roof of the stable. 
 
Another DIY Christmas d├ęcor that my kids and I will do is the Christmas wreath. I plan to use green cartolina for this Christmas art project. We will trace our hands in green paper. Then, my eldest and I will cut the hands traced on the paper. We will use these cut-outs to form the circular wreath. We will glue them in a round piece of board. After that, we will form tubes using 3 purple sheets and 1 pink sheet (cartolina or other kinds of sturdy colored board). I will draw a flame shape on a yellow colored paper, and cut them. Then, we'd glue the flames to each "candle" each Sunday of advent to symbolize that we are lighting one that day.

Our handmade Advent wreath.
 
3. With a birthday cake for the Birthday Boy on Christmas Day. This is one of our family's Christmas traditions also. Just like in the past years, we would have a simple birthday celebration for the Boy who gave hope, joy and salvation to humankind. Click here to read about my blog post about this last Christmas season.
 
4. Going to Mass as a family. Participating in the Mass is something that our family loves to do, be it Christmas or an ordinary day in the year. This Christmas, it would be extra special because my husband will be home to celebrate Christmas with us after working abroad for three months. Thus, I'm sure that my eyes would have tears of joy when we go to Mass as a family this Christmas season.
 
There are many ways to simplify our celebrations so that we can also give to those in need. These four that I have enumerated are just some of them. You may check out this article (10 Ways to Celebrate Christmas Differently) I wrote two years ago for more ideas on how to celebrate Christmas differently but meaningfully.

Feel free to share how you plan to celebrate simply but meaningfully by leaving a comment.
 
Here's to simple but meaningful Christmas celebrations! Cheers!
 
Please visit the other blogs who joined this Christmas Blog Link up.
 
Equipping Catholic Families: Keep Christ in Christmas


Coffee Moments with Sam     The Light of Hope
Faith Filled Freebies: Keep Christ in Christmas
Written by the Finger of God: Not Christmas as Usual
On the Way Home:  Keep Christ in Christmas
Sue Elvis Writes: Bring Christ to Others
 
Canadian Catholic Mom         Keeping The Little Ones Focused: An Advent Link-Up
Mountain of Grace Homeschooling   Keep Christ in Christmas
Home to 4 Kiddos        Keep Christ in Christmas
Embedded Faith          Boldly Be the Christ in Christmas
City Girl, Country Home         Emmanuel Is With Us. Are we WITH HIM?
Journey to Wisdom: Trusting in your Awkward Fiats
 
Training Happy Hearts            10 Ways to Celebrate the New Liturgical Year
Designs by Birgit: Elf on a Shelf and Santa Claus
A Slice of Smith Life: How we keep Christ in Christmas
Catholic All Year: Three Reasons I love Advent
Mary the Defender: Christmas The Battle Begins
Truly Rich Mom: Keep Christ in Christmas
Diapers and Drivel: Keeping Christ in Christmas
 
Raising Soldiers 4 Christ: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Campfires and Cleats How We Keep Christ in Christmas
Homeschooling With Joy        Keeping Christ in Christmas
Mrs Domestic Bliss     Gingerbread Nativity
The Chic Traveller      Keeping Christ in Christmas
California to Korea     Keeping Christ in Christmas
Dominique's Desk       Keeping Christ in Christmas
Journey Living: Anno Domini 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Homeschool Lessons Through a Chord Book

My eldest son who recently turned 5 years old has a new favorite book. Guess what it is? It's a chord/song book from one of his uncles who is also a musician. If you've been reading my posts or following this blog, you probably know that my boys, especially my eldest, is very musical. It was because of this that his 5th birthday celebration's theme is Little Rockstar. (You may read about the details of his birthday party here and how I planned or prepared for it.)
 
Anyway, back to why I'm writing this post. I'm writing this post to document how my eldest is "teaching himself" in the past weeks since he had his 5th birthday celebration. Since he got this chord book as a gift recently, he has been using it when he practices or plays his guitar. He loves his new chord book because it includes many of his current favorite worship songs. Aside from singing Mass songs, he loves singing worship songs even outside of the worship services that we attend.
 
Here are some reasons why I love this gift he received and how it is helping us in our homeschool.
 
1. It helps him practice his reading skills. My son loves to read. He loves books. Reading his favorite songs in this chord book is a fun and refreshing way to further hone his reading skills. Reading the lyrics of the songs also through this chord book helps him take note and remember the right words/lyrics in the songs. My son can easily learn tunes or pick up the words in a song but just like most of us, there are times when we don't remember the correct lyrics completely. Thus, looking up the songs in a song book or chord book helps correct whatever wrong words he taught were part of the lyrics.
 
2. He learned how to use the Table of Contents through it. Before he had this chord book, he doesn't know yet how to use the Table of Contents. So, we taught him how to easily find the songs he wants to play or sing using the Table of Contents.
 
3. It reinforces his skills in recognizing numbers and mastering their sequence. Using the Table of Contents in searching for the songs that he wants to read or sing in the chord book forces him to pay attention to the page numbers and their correct sequence.
 
4. He is encouraged to practice or try practicing the chords with his fingers. My husband first taught our eldest son a few basic chords in playing the guitar when he was 3 years old. Reading these chords on top of the lyrics encourages our eldest to try the chords on his own. This promotes not only fine motor skills and hand eye coordination but also patience, perseverance, discipline and focus.
 
5. And last but not the least, this gift fuels his passion for music, singing his heart out to God and his interest in learning how to play the guitar. This is what I love most with this gift that he recently received. It may seem simple but to our homeschool family, it's definitely a big help in raising a child who's passionate to learn and love the Lord with his gift.


Chord book from Tito Gerald
 
It's been weeks since he first received this chord book and he continues to spend at least 30 minutes each time he uses it. Some days, he spends hours playing his guitar and singing songs with some help from his new favorite book.

Note: I'm linking this post to the Catholic Bloggers Network Monthly Link up Blitz for November.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Preparing for our Christmas Countdown this 2013

Advent is almost here! I'm glad that I'm finally done wrapping all the books that we'd be using in our Christmas countdown this year. We'd be using most of the books we used last year but with a number of new books included.

Our Christmas books wrapped and numbered under our Christmas tree.
 
Some of these books are books that we bought from the Book Sale.
 
 
 
 
 
Others are giveaways from the All Saints' Day party that the kids attended recently.  
 
 

 

 
Then, last Saturday, while I was having a book table at an event at Insular Life Building in Makati, I shopped for a couple more books at The Learning Basket's booth, which was just a few steps away from my book table. Isn't that great?
 
  
 
 
I went through the pile of books that I separated from the rest of my kids' books and decided which books would be opened first and which ones would be opened closer to Christmas Day. 
  
After deciding on their sequence, I asked the help of my eldest son and one of our helpers to assist me in wrapping all the books. We used some of the remaining gift wrappers that were also used for Yanthy's loot bags in his 5th birthday celebration last month. The rest were wrapped in Manila paper. We numbered all the books so that we'd know which gift/book we'd open each day beginning on December 1 all the way to December 25.
 
We finished wrapping them just before dinner. After dinner, the kids and I went to Mass.
 
Our next activities in the coming days would be making our own wreath and Nativity Scene. I'll blog about them once we're done with these Christmas projects.
 
How about you? Are you also doing a Christmas countdown? Feel free to share how you're doing it this year.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Homeschool Bonding with Lolo/Grandpa Over a Joytoy Product

My eldest son has just celebrated his 5th birthday and one of the gifts he got was a Joytoy educational toy. The toy helps introduce or teach the concept of counting, addition and subtraction to kids. There are pictures that the child can count and there are boxes where the child can put number squares. The child will choose from the number squares what matches the number of pictures in the equation. There are 32 equations and 48 double-sided number tiles in the set.
 

 
 
My husband and I have slowly introduced the concept of addition and subtraction to our eldest before he turned three years old. Some days he's excited to play addition and subtraction. Some days, he'd rather do other things. We take our cue from him. When he's interested, we give him tools or materials.
 
I'm so happy that he got this as one of his gifts recently. It's one tool that we can use to further help him understand these concepts in a fun way. It's a helpful addition to our homeschool materials.
 
He has been spending hours these past days playing with this new toy. He sometimes plays with me or on his own. Other times, he would play with my father. This brings back happy memories to me. I remember when my brother and I were still small, my father was our first Math teacher. He was the one who introduced the concepts of counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division to us. Thus, this afternoon, watching my father and my eldest son play with this Joytoy product brought joy to my heart. :)
 
 
 
This is not the only Joytoy product that we have. I have actually written a review of another Joytoy product in the past. Here is the link to that post: Three-Letter-Word Picture Puzzles: A Product Review. We have other puzzles also by Joytoy. I highly recommend their products to families with young children whether you homeschool or not.
 
 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

God Likes Using the Ordinary: Reflections During My Book Launch

"Why me, Lord? I'm just an ordinary breastfeeding mom. I'm not a doctor. I'm not a lactation expert or a certified breastfeeding peer counselor even."
 
That was my initial reaction when God first inspired me to write a book on breastfeeding. I have just achieved my breastfeeding goal then for my firstborn son. I thought that it would be helpful if there would be a book by a Filipina author on breastfeeding where inspiring stories of breastfeeding moms who went through various challenges but succeeded in achieving their breastfeeding goals would be shared. I was convinced that this was a good idea. But I was not convinced that this book should be written by me.
 
It took me some time before I acted on this idea and owned it to become one of my dreams. In the course of owning it and embracing it as one of the dreams that God planted in my heart, I came to realize what an enormous task God has entrusted to me. I felt overwhelmed countless times throughout my journey of finishing this book. Then, as I invested more time in this book project, God revealed to me one of His reasons for choosing an ordinary breastfeeding mom like me to write this book.
 
God likes using the ordinary...
and that includes ME.
 
I pondered on this revelation and reminder. I was led to reflect on the people whom God used throughout the course of history. He used shepherds, fishermen, prostitutes, tax collectors, sinners, ordinary mothers and fathers. Not all of them were credible, competent or worthy based on the world's standards. Yet, God chose to use them. God chose to send them out on a mission. They may not be qualified but God chose to qualify them. They were not able at first; but God eventually enabled them.
 
God simply asked them to be available, to be at His disposal, to use whatever they have and offer what little they have to Him. And whatever they offered as part of their service to Him, God blessed and multiplied so that His purpose was fulfilled.
 
This revelation and reminder from God enabled and empowered me to carry out my task and complete my latest book in spite of the challenges I faced along the way. I would call these truths to mind every time I was feeling insecure and inadequate.
 
I also realized that another possible reason why God chose to use an ordinary mom like me to write this book on breastfeeding is because more moms can possibly relate to me or understand me because of my ordinariness. The book I wrote is not a technical book on breastfeeding. It was written from the perspective of a breastfeeding Filipino mom telling her breastfeeding story with the hope that by sharing her experience, she would be able to make a difference to other moms who may be struggling as well in their own breastfeeding journey. An ordinary breastfeeding mom reaching out to another breastfeeding mom.

The cover photo in my book's Facebook Page.
 
I grew in conviction as I pondered on these things. Then, God showed His mercy and favor once more to me by speaking to my heart through a couple of talks by our community's leader (Bo Sanchez).
 
I remember vividly how tears rolled down my cheeks as He gave a talk on Significance. He said that we need not wait until we are successful in all aspects or successful to the point that we have reached the highest level of success in one area to work towards becoming significant in the lives of others. He said that we can be significant by simply helping others get to where we are. Wow! What powerful message! It was powerful enough to push me forward whenever thoughts of insecurity fill my mind.
 
Yes, I'm not a doctor. Yes, I'm not a lactation expert. Yes, I'm not a certified breastfeeding peer counselor. BUT, I have succeeded in reaching my breastfeeding goals for my two sons. I have succeeded in overcoming a number of breastfeeding challenges in the past four years. That's where my goal and my mission stems from. My mission is to help fellow breastfeeding moms reach or achieve their breastfeeding goals by inspiring them through my story and the stories of other moms whom I featured in my book.
 
Then, I heard another talk in one of our community gatherings that helped God's message to me to become deeply rooted in my heart. It was given again by our leader Bo Sanchez. He said, "God has cancelled the audition. You're in!" He also said that while we are busy with our ordinary tasks, God can at any time anoint us and call us to be on a mission for Him. That was my experience! That's exactly what God did to me. While I was busy breastfeeding, homeschooling and working from home, God anointed me and called me to write this book. I didn't audition or try out for the part. I'm glad that the audition or qualifying tests were cancelled. For I would not pass if I would be tested based on the world's standards. God simply said to me through that talk, "You're in! You got the part! Go, and fulfill your mission!"
 
After several months, I have finished my book BREASTFEEDING: A Journey Worth Taking. It was time to launch it into the world and share God's message that mothers were amazingly and miraculously made by Him to nourish and nurture their kids through their breasts.
 
I was blessed and privileged to be given the opportunity to share about my book at the BIG DAY of our community's latest talk series. I was awed by God's perfect plan and timing once more for one of the main messages in our recent talk series is about how wonderfully made we all are. The speakers/main preachers talked about how God looks at us differently compared to the people of this world. They shared how we can focus more on God's truths by deleting the negative thoughts that enter our minds.
 
I remember the question asked by my brother and friend in the community and the Feast Builder for Feast Ortigas' PM Session. He asked, "Have you experienced rejection? Have you experienced being scrutinized from head to toe and vice versa? Have you experienced being judged as not measuring up to standards?" I think most, if not all, people there at Robinson's Galleria Cinema 3 answered yes to his questions. Because that's how the world operates. The world's standards are simply different from our Lord's. Thus, it's important for us to know the truth about ourselves, about our worth, about what God wants us to do and what He expects from us. For in the end, what truly matters is that we live our lives for God and not for anyone or anything else. God wants us to live our lives confident of our calling/anointing, bearing fruit based on the gifts He has blessed us with.
 
The video clip showed during The Big Day of our latest talk series moved me to tears as well. It was a video of Susan Boyle at Britain's Got Talent. The video showed the audience laughing at her. Maybe they laughed because she looked unqualified to be standing there. Maybe they were wondering why someone who looks so ordinary had the guts to join the talent search. But their laughter eventually turned to applause and tears even after she proved them wrong in laughing at her or judging her to be unworthy or unqualified.
 
Then, just before I was called to speak and share about my book at the PM Session, the worship leader talked about how even in our ordinariness we can make a difference. Bull's eye!
 
I felt as if the stage was set for me... that God was the director of my book launch and He has stationed/moved His angels (my brothers and sisters in the community) to help us put things in place.
 
 
I praise and thank my God for standing by me and making a way for me. I thank Him for the honor and the privilege to be used even in my ordinariness. May He be glorified as I bring His message to more moms here and abroad. May His magnificence shine through my ordinariness.
 
"Not to me, not to me, but to His name be glory!"

Note: I'm linking this post to the Catholic Bloggers Network Monthly Link up Blitz for November 2013.

God's Gift to Me Turns Two

A doctor once told me that my chances of conceiving a child gets slimmer as I advance in age. She told me this because I had polycystic ovaries and I was already in my late twenties.
 
I felt pressured then. "What can I do? How can I get pregnant when I don't have a husband yet? I don't have a boyfriend even?" Those were some of my thoughts.
 
Those challenging times in my life as a single lady strengthened my faith and resolve to marry only for the right reasons. I chose to stand by my faith in my God. I chose to hope in Him even as my chances of having a child decreased. I chose to put my future in God's mighty hands. I chose to stand by my decision to wait on the Lord to lead to me a man after His heart. I chose to believe that in God's time, He will open my womb and plant a seed so I could bear a child whom I can raise to love and serve Him.
 
God honored my decision not to rush things to happen... Not to rush God's perfect plan for my life to unfold before its time.
 
I eventually got married to the man who is an answer to my prayers to God. Shortly after we got married, God gifted us not just with one but TWO sons! My BIG GOD gave me TWO miracle babies! I'm so glad I waited patiently for God's perfect timing!
 
Today, I want to take time to shout my praise to my God who filled my heart with so much joy by allowing me to experience this wonderful privilege of giving birth to YOU and becoming YOUR mother.
 
Today, I rejoice for God's Gift to me turns two years old. My MATEO, my gift from God, has doubled my joy as a mother. Words are not enough to express how I feel about this wonderful gift that our family has received from God.
 
 
 
Today, I say a special prayer for my sweet, little boy whom I fondly call baby.
 
Dear Lord,
 
Thank you for MATEO. Thank you for showing us Your love by giving him to us. Thank you for using Him to fill our hearts with joy and love every day through his presence in our lives. Thank you for his smiles, his laughter, his sense of humor, his milestones, his embrace, his words, his songs, his prayers...
 
Please bless him with good health and protect him from all harm and evil. Surround him with love. Make him strong and courageous. Help him grow in faith and in the knowledge of You. Most of all, I pray that he would not remain a gift to our family alone but that he would become a gift to the people You would send him to. Amen.
 
 
I look forward to laughing with you later when you wake up... to hearing you sing your favorite parts in the Mass (Alleluia and Amen)... to nourishing you through my breasts... to reading to you and you reading to me... to making memories with you on your special day... to putting you to sleep again with your head resting in the crook of my arm...  
 
Happy Birthday, baby! Happy Birthday, Mateo! I'm so happy to have you as my son! You are definitely worth the wait! I love you very much!

Note: I'm linking this post to the Catholic Bloggers Network Monthly Link up Blitz for November.

Monday, November 11, 2013

My Letter to the Old Man in the Church who Assumed that We Don't Discipline Our Son

My mother who was helping me take care of my sons earlier when we went to Mass was approached by an old man and asked, "Are you this child's grandmother? Where is the father of this child? You should tell his father to discipline his son!" My poor mother was stunned and embarrassed at the same time. But she managed to apologize to the old man for whatever disturbance/inconvenience my son has caused during the Mass and told him that the boy just turned 5 years old.
 
I only learned about the incident when we got home because I was seated in another pew with my younger son. My parents and eldest son were seated at the back of the church because my father is disabled and my son is hyperactive. I was seated near an aisle a bit far from them.
 
I was disappointed and angered at the same time by this old man's comment. What was he thinking? Did he assume that my husband and I do not discipline our son? Why would he say such harsh words?
 
Since, he did not talk to me, I've decided to simply write to him through this blog.
 
Dear fellow parishioner,
 
I have a number of questions I'd like to ask you. How I wish you can answer them so that I would be enlightened.
 
Did your mother also bring you to church when you were still little?
 
Did she tell you stories of how you behaved when you were my son's age?
 
Do you know the expected behavior of 5-year olds? Are you aware of the attention span of kids this age?
 
Do you also have a son? If you had a son, were you also a hands-on father? Or did you pass on the raising and caring of your son to your maid, nanny or wife?
 
Did you also bring your son to church to go to Mass? Did you teach him how to behave in church or worship services? Did you serve side by side your son in church or in other religious gatherings? Did you teach your son how to pray formula prayers? Did you teach your son how to pray spontaneously? Did you pray with your son and teach him how to pray the rosary?
 
What discipline methods did you use to raise your son?
 
I have more questions...
 
Do you know that we have tried many strategies and techniques in raising and disciplining this child?
 
Do you know that we have even consulted experts?
 
In case you have a son, is your son a gifted child?
 
Do you understand the nature of gifted children especially gifted little boys? Do you know that they have special needs and that they are not the typical kids?
 
Do you know that we've been spending around a hundred thousand pesos each year for his occupational therapy to help us teach him proper behavior in different situations? Do you know that we've been doing this since he was over 2 years old?
 
Do you know how many books, articles and web sites I have read just to learn more about giftedness?
 
Do you know the sacrifices that my husband and I make to raise godly kids?
 
Do you know that I gave up my career just to prioritize my family and be the one to care, raise and discipline my kids? Do you know that I don't pass on my responsibility of raising my kids to maids or yayas/nannies? Do you know that I teach my kids every single day of their young lives? Do you know that part of our daily lessons is about proper decorum in church?
 
Do you know that one reason that my husband and I chose to homeschool our kids is because we want to prioritize values and character formation in our children over emphasis on academics?
 
Do you know that if my husband will answer these questions (Did you also bring your son to church to go to Mass? Did you teach him how to behave in church or worship services? Did you serve side by side your son in church or in other religious gatherings? Did you teach your son how to pray formula prayers? Did you teach your son how to pray spontaneously? Did you pray with your son and teach him how to pray the rosary?) that I earlier asked you, his answer would be YES?
 
Do you know that although you are not happy to see my son in church because he does not meet your expectations of a well-behaved child, there are people in our parish who are sincerely happy to see him in church every day? Do you know that there are parishioners who are inspired to see a little boy like him participating actively in his own unique way in the Mass?
 
Do you know that though he sings quite loud, responds to the commentators and lectors loudly and prays very fast, he's doing all these because of his love for the Holy Eucharist and for God? Do you know that he sings not only with his might but with his heart and soul as well? Do you know how happy he is to go to church every day? Do you know that he looks forward to worshipping and singing to God?
 
Do you know that it breaks my heart to bring him at the back of the church or outside the church when he starts to fidget and become hyper because I know that he simply is a high intensity child that's why he acts that way?
 
Do you know that one of this child's dreams is to be a priest someday? Do you know that he also dreams of becoming a worship leader or a preacher?
 
Do you know that this boy already knows how to pray formula prayers and he prays these prayers daily? Do you know that he has been teaching his baby brother these prayers as well and he been successful in doing that? Do you know that this boy not only prays for himself or his family but intercedes for others?
 
Do you know that one of the things he looks forward to during Mass is donating money to the church?
 
Do you know that this child has been singing in the choir and participating actively in church services since he was 2 years old?
 
Do you know that he has been joining our family in outreaches to the poor?
 
Do you know that we practice with him in the house just to teach him how to sing appropriately in church?
 
Do you know how many times I remind him each day how to behave during the Mass?
 
Do you know how much I struggle to pray while I do my best to keep my two young sons "behaved" during worship services?
 
Do you know that one reason I bring him and his younger brother to church when I attend daily Mass is because I want them to practice proper decorum in church as early as now and not when they are already teenagers or adults?
 
Do you know that one reason that families like us with small children sit at the back pews or near the aisles is because we want to have easy access to exits so we can brings our kids outside when they start to become noisy or when they are not "well-behaved"?
 
Do you know the verse in the New Testament where Jesus rebuked his disciples and said, "Let the little children come to me?"
 
Do you also know the verse in the Old Testament where parents were asked to come to the temple even with their nurslings?
 
Do you also know the verse in the Bible that says, "Thou shall not judge?"
 
Do you know that it would have been better if you simply said a prayer for this child of mine and for me and my husband instead of walking up to my poor mother who was simply helping me care for her grandson?
 
Do you know how difficult it is for my mother to watch over a hyperactive little boy given her age and damaged knees? And have you not noticed that she is with a disabled old man who can hardly walk who happens to be my father and the grandfather of this little boy?

I know that your answer to my questions is that YOU DON'T KNOW. WHY? Simply because you are NOT GOD. You are not even a family friend. (And you are not one of my blog's followers! ;P)
 
I really hope that next time, you'd think twice before walking up to someone to tell or ask him/her to discipline his/her kid or granddaughter/son. I hope that if in case you choose to walk up to someone with a child that's challenging to handle, you'd opt to speak a word of encouragement instead. That if you don't have anything good, helpful or upbuilding to say, you'd just keep your mouth shut and choose to intercede.
 
I hope and pray that church servants like you (YES, he is a church servant! He is an usher/offertory servant - one of those who help collect donations during the Mass.) would be given trainings on how to handle these kinds of situations in church.
 
BIG, BIG, SIGH.
 
Bottom line, I want to tell you that it's hard to parent kids. I don't know if you are a parent yourself. I don't know if you were also given this beautiful privilege that comes with a big responsibility. And I dare say that it's doubly hard to parent kids with special needs or kids that are not the typical kids. Unless you are a parent who has a gifted son or raised a gifted son successfully, I don't think you have the right to tell me or lecture me or my husband on how to parent or discipline our sons. Sons, yes, because our youngest is also showing signs of giftedness. And just like his older brother, he also likes to sing his heart out to God during Mass even though he's not yet two years old. He also likes to participate by imitating the responses and he's unable to respond together with the congregation most of the time. But you know, I'm proud of my sons even though they are not typical and even though they do not meet the expectations of people like you. I'm proud of them because even at a very young age, they have great love for God and they yearn to be in His presence and to worship in His temple.
 
So, will I stop bringing my kids to Mass? No. I will let them practice for heaven. I will not deprive them of the opportunity to start here on earth what they were envisioned by their Creator to do in heaven for all eternity.
 
My prayer for you is that you'd find peace and that you'd be able to encounter God in the Eucharist even in the midst of "disturbances" like us.

P.S.
A friend once shared this post from Huffingtonpost.com. It made me cry the first time I read it. After I shared this blog post in one of the Facebook Groups I'm a part of, another mom shared this article once more in reply. It brought tears to my eyes again. So, if you are a parent with young children like me and you experience similar challenges like we have, I highly recommend that you read this post: Dear Parents with Young Children in Church.

Note: I'm linking this post to the Catholic Bloggers Network November 2013 Monthly Link up Blitz.