Tips for Christian Parenting

Counsel and Advice for Wise Parenting

"Train the Trainer" is most often missed by most parents. Of course, when both parents are working, time with their children is limited. After their eight hours each spent at work, only approximately three hours are left for their kids, For lack of experience, training their children could be tough and challenging because each parent has to learn by themselves on the job. It could be a trial and error process, so young parents should consult strong family support system, their elders.

“It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment, all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”  Hebrew 12:7-11 ESV

Like any job, good parenting requires training of parents.

This task is taken for granted by parents for many reasons. From my experience, parents rely much from their parents’ advice and from their observations of others. I think parents do not go into a formal training to be parents because there is none of such training. Therefore when they have their first child, they ended up training themselves on the job. This chapter is a true-life narration of what the author has observed hoping to encourage others to do better than what is discussed here.

       In the Summer of 2016, Zae, my grandson was home in Los Angeles for vacation from college and my wife and I had lunch with him and with his father, my son, Jose. One of the topics discussed was about how to sustain Zae’s growth to fulfill his dreams, now that he is studying out of state and living far from his parents. Jose said that he and Zae’s mother, Gina had raised and prepared Zae for his life and they’re confident that their son can reach his dreams. Jose then drew a bow and arrow and said that parents and children are like bow and arrow. The father is the bow, the mother is the string and the child is the arrow. Before parents make a bow, Jose explained, both must be formed first as a unit of bow and string joined together and complementing each other in harmony to do the job of making the arrow - the child. He said that the parents’ task of developing their child is a process of learning and applying that involves hard work of both parents to ensure that the arrow, the child, becomes straight and sharp and can fly so that when the time comes to release and let go of the arrow, he or she can hit the target of life.

       Zae at 19 is a sophomore student pursuing education in Medicine and Research at Washington University in St. Louis. Zae is one of my nine grandchildren that God has blessed us with, who are talented individuals and hardworking children; they’re the fruition of the graceful efforts of their parents. Particularly, God has rewarded Zae and his parents with a priceless gift – College Scholarship and Financial Award. As Zae’s grandpa, together with his grandma we are grateful to God for His gifts, our grandchildren. I said that I remember how my parents raised me. I’m so thankful to my father and my mother for developing me.

       At that lunch meeting, I asked Jose if he remembers what I said to him when he was a teenager about what my father who asked me when I was in high school. I recalled that my father asked me a question – “son, when you finish college and will have work, you will get married and have a son. When will you start training your son?” I answered, that I will train my son as soon as he is born. My father said, “that would be too late.” He replied and explained, “you should start training your son 20 years before he is born. Then I asked Zae, “what did my father mean that I should train my son 20 years before he is born?” Zae replied, “maybe your father saw the opportunity to correct what you’re doing wrong and he wanted you to train yourself first – indirectly telling you to get your act together.”


Top of Mind of Parents

God is good. With God, all things are possible and on top of the minds of Zae’s parents is their son  way back  in grade school. Together with his parents, Zae has aimed high for his future. In the beginning, his parents had discovered Zae’s potential at grade three. Therefore knowing this, they sent Zae to the best schools in Los Angeles.

       From here on, Zae has developed excellence in academic and athletic performance, which flourished onward. Beginning with the end in mind, both parents had Zae’s continuous improvement on top of their mind with the goal of preparing Zae for College and devoted 100 per cent total family commitment to foster and sustain Zae’s talents. Thus, his dad, Jose dedicated his personal time training and developing Zae’s strong football skills. As his son’s personal trainer and coach, Jose mentored Zae in the games. As a father, Jose trained his son to practice good work (study, exercise, drills) habits and ethics. During Zae’s high school days, Zae could have rested during summer breaks but he went with his dad to football camps located locally and out of State at Ivy League Colleges and top schools in the country, among which are: Harvard, UPensylvania, Princeton, Dartmouth, Stanford, UCLA, Columbia and Washington University in St. Louis. Thus, Zae was widely exposed to football coaches and was in these schools’ radar screen as a promising football player while in his third year in high school. He was at the ESPN Recruit Radar as well.

       The combined effort and dedication of Zae’s parents who sacrificed their own personal time that they could have spent for pleasure had made it fruitful for Zae’s development. With God’s grace, Zae has succeeded being offered college scholarship grant by many colleges in the country, among them are from Harvard University, Yale University, Washington University in St. Louis, Princeton University, Johns Hopkins University, Dartmouth University, Columbia University and MIT which Zae received in the Fall of 2015.

       By his own decision, Zae picked Washington University in St. Louis as his school. At this date, fall of 2016, Zae is at his Sophomore year at Washington University in St. Louis with Full Scholarship, all expenses paid by WASHU and a team member of the BEAR Football Team of the university. Per Zae, he wants to have a career in Neuro-Medicine and Medical Research. God bless Zae and his Team - parents.


Grandparents’ Role with their Grandchildren

“Why don’t they listen.?” a grandma complained to her children in a car one day. “When I was raising my children like you, they would listen when they were told to do something. Why can they get away with things now?” grandma incensed. This sounds familiar from what I’ve heard from other grandparents. On the contrary, I have not heard this from my wife and this is the profound reason - The old-fashion way our children followed to raise their children and we are so proud of them all.

       I have reached 81 on March 2017 and my wife and I have obviously fully retired. We  live in sunny Southern California near the Pacific Coast of Santa Barbara. With the invitation for a job by the U.S. Dept. of Labor, we all (six kids, my wife and I) migrated to America in 1979 as legal immigrants under my profession as Chemical Engineer. Our oldest son, Jocel had finished high school, our second child, Eric was in his senior high then, our third child, John was in first year high, our fourth child, Elaine our daughter was in her fifth grade, our fifth child, Joebart was in his,fourth grade, and our sixth child, Jose was in grade two. While in the Philippines, all our boys went to San Beda College, a Catholic school for boys and our daughter went to College of the Holy Spirit, a Catholic school for girls in Manila, Philippines. My wife and I raised our six children basically with a solid foundation of our faith abounded by the Filipino culture and traditions mixed with Western influence. Our strong family values are what had helped us sustained our move to America. Exposed to the Western culture, we strived to continue our basic ways in raising our children in this new land. Adjustment period came to our family was mandatory; we had to blend with our new society with great departure from our customs way back where we came. Because my wife and I were too busy at work then, we have missed many quality times with our children; plus, our children were busy at school, too. In this new environment, we could not eat at the same time, unlike before in the Philippines. The only time that we were together was at the church and on weekends. So, we have thrived and flourished embracing our new paradigm.

       At this point in writing this story, after 38 years in the United States, my children have been married and have raised their own family. My wife and I have nine grandchildren, all born in Southern California. We are so close to our children and to our grandkids. We have constantly given direct counsel and advice to our grandkids in regard to: respect for elders, family peace, honor parents, hard work, preparation for life, faith, health, and leadership to name a few. For example, for over six years now, I have been sending text messages every single day with Bible Verses to each of my grandkids and to me children with a prayer for each one of them as I type each name. I thought I should continue doing this for the rest of my life – it works.

       Lately, with our grandkids in their teens and twenties, I saw the fruition of their parents’ teachings to be close to our original family values - hard work, faith, respect, honor to parents and family, leadership and ambition. We see their family’s strong faith flourishing despite challenges that abound in this millennium.

       Now, as I write this article, which is dedicated to my grandchildren, I am evaluating my position and my role as a grandfather. I say this because on one occasion, I have advised one of my grandkids that he should listen to his father and understand that he should give his father a chance to raise him per what he deems good for him but realize that his father and mother are “parents training on the job” and are therefore learning from each other including their children. If I continue to intervene in the upbringing of my grandkids by their parents, I think it will be a hindrance to both. From my original culture, grandparents continue to dictate parents on the proper upbringing of grandchildren. In this new culture, Western and especially in this Millennial, will this work?

       My research and observations have taught me lots of lessons. I will try my best to change the way I think to make things work. This will involve a paradigm shift for me and a new discipline of sustaining what works. I also urge other grandparents to see if what I’m suggesting will work for them.

Share the Bible

Maintain daily sharing of bible passages to my grandchildren and their parents. This includes principles from the Bible so that they might learn that the Lord is good to those who obey Him and He also disciplines those Who are His because He loves them.

Avoid Interfering

Grandparents should not try to dictate their children how they should raise their children, but allow them to learn by themselves. If grandparents have done a good job of training their children to be parents, the job should be passed on to the parents, which should be their turn. As in sailing, parents are like the captain who steers the boat, grandparents are the like the compass for direction if needed. A well-trained captain of the boat can navigate without a compass. Grandparents, however, if they see that parents are lost, they should make the compass handy for direction.

Parenting is a Process

During my over 45 years of experience in business especially in the manufacturing industry, I have applied the tools of Continuous Improvement, which include Statistical Process Control (SPC). It is a technique of controlling a process by identifying variations in the quality of a process or product. Variations could come in a mixture of good or bad. SPC is used to identify the bad and then eliminating the causes of the bad. Technically, the bad are called assignable causes of variation. Once the assignable causes are eliminated, the process is deemed to be under control and stable. Usually, bad causes of variations are resolved by a team effort.

       In parenting as a process, this technique is very helpful to the entire system, which is formed by a team of parents and their children, with the grandparents as consultants only with the role to support the team.  Once both parents and their children embrace their own team as a unit of interdependence and collaboration, they should be left to themselves.

       Grandparents may not insist that their children should use the same methods that we used in raising our children because they are the parents…we are not.  Even though this is so very tempting, grandparents can drive their children farther away and cut off any possible influence they might have in their grandchildren’s lives.

Provide the Right Environment

Every child has the right to grow in a healthy environment – to live, learn and play in healthy places. Acting to safeguard children’s environment encompasses physiological, implementation by parents. Creating healthy settings – homes, schools and communities require the concerted, coordinated effort of every family. A balanced training program should be developed by both parents from a wide range of opportunities is available to improve children’s up-bringing.

       In conclusion, remember: “The best way we can do is provide the right environment – love them and train them and pray for them and provide them the tools they will need to make wise decisions as they grow older. We do this both by due teaching and by our example – in other words both by what we say and by what we do.” – Billy Graham, Nearing Home.

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