Let the Children Teach Us Once More

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I just love watching how children, specially at play,
even though they might have just met each other for the first time.
Spontaneously and very naturally, they soon become friends
and are deep in play and in a fantasy world all their own – in no time at all.
Much sooner and with a lot less effort than adults.

Today, in the Philippines, our national leadership would destroy our children
by passing a law bringing down the age of criminal responsibility to 9 years old.
Can children really be held criminally responsible at this tender age?
What kind of society would compromise its future by imprisoning
its children in such a ludicrous and cruel prison?

They say the youth are the hope of a nation.
How can a nation remain hoping if children are treated like hardened criminals?
Parents are always hopeful for the future because they want to see
their children living in and creating a better world;
perhaps even to redeem their shortcomings and weaknesses.

Children are born with and in love.
They learn about anger and hatred and revenge much later.
How can a nation live in love and harmony
when children are seen as full of hate and malice even at a tender age?
There are no parents who would like to see their children
grow in hate and anger; but rather dream of having loving and compassionate
children.

Children carry with them the promise of a brighter tomorrow.
They are a guarantee we shall survive in spite of our follies and sins as adults.
How can we be so blind to this truth when even beasts protect their offsprings?
Without children, there is no future.
Without a future, why do we even care or try?

 

 

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Possessed by Possessions

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I read the news today, oh boy.
The rich just got richer;
and the poor are getting poorer.

Today, the top 23 billionaires in the world control as much as wealth the bottom fifty percent of the world. Last year, these billionaires saw their wealth increase by almost a trillion dollars; while the bottom 50% saw their collective income decrease by 13%.

There is something about material possessions that warp that human soul and distorts men’s values and principles. Shouldn’t there be limit to what a person can own? A million? A billion? A trillion? While many struggle to get by on merely two dollars a day; a handful of people have amassed wealth they will never be able to spend in their own lifetime. Nay, not even in a thousand lifetimes.

When will it ever be enough? Or, is it ever enough?

 

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Let Freedom and Justice Ring

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Today is the feast of Martin Luther King. His message and work for freedom, justice and equality remain relevant to this day.

It is unthinkable how any man could think of himself as the owner of another person, even in a benign and benevolent way. Yet even today, there are still people, and in some instances whole societies, who would consider children and women as chattel to be owned and possessed like they were just any material thing or objects?

Love, compassion, justice and forgiveness are the obvious answers. But they are so obvious, right under our noses, that we don’t see them. Oh when will we ever learn? Oh when will we ever learn?

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Listen to the Children

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Today is the Feast of the Hold Child (Santo Niño) in the Philippines. And in many places all around the country, there will be mardi-gras-like festivals celebrating the Infant Jesus during the month of January — Ati-atihan in Aklan, Sinulog in Cebu, Dinagyang in Iloilo.

We adults always pretend to teach children. And yet often, children have more to teach us. Here is something I wrote a few years back:

To be a child is to wake up in the morning, unencumbered by the past and with a future full of limitless possibilities.

To be a child is to see the world with eyes of wonder, wishing for explanations or reasons yet open to mystery and to the unseen and the non-rational.

To be a child is to see kindness in every human encounter and not to look for a catch or hidden agenda behind such kindness.

To be a child is to sing in great abandon about every joy and not to dwell on tears and disappointments.

To be a child is to see universe in a grain of sand and to feel all of humanity in a mother’s tight and warm embrace.

To be a child is to fully relish the present moment and, at the end of the day, not to wish for tomorrow to come sooner.

To be a child is not to care and yet live every moment swathed in love.

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The Seeds of the Ordinary

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History is often written about and around great personages and great events.
It would be interesting to re-read history from the perspective
of the ‘small people’ in a story or event:
– a great battle from the POV of a foot soldier,
– a great romance from the POV of a maid of the lady love,
– a great tragedy from the POV of a messenger.
Their story will probably resonate better with my own ‘ordinariness’.
In the Gospels, it is the ordinary folks like fishermen, the sick,
and strangely enough the evil one,
who often recognized Jesus as the Christ first,
even earlier or faster than other good men.
For out of the seeds of the ordinary grow out that which is extraordinary.

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Transit Umbra,Lux Permanet.

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It is so easy to fall into set ways and be comfortable with the routine
and then complain about how boring life can be.
Change is a challenge to move ahead and become better.
Water that is not stirred becomes stale and turbid.
Muscles that are not used atrophy and soon die.
And whatever we do not use, we must lose.

We often wish for a life of ease and comfort,
free of pain and tears and sufferings.
But we know it is through our struggling
that we get to enjoy the exhilarating heights
or delight in the coolness of the valley.
We must suffer some falls and bruises
for us to appreciate life’s graces.

And so it is in our lives.
We hate the darkness so we go seeking for the light.
We know we were not made to hate; so we seek to love.
We are afraid of death because we are meant to live forever.

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Grand-Parenting

T.S. Eliot said it again for me so eloquently – “to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

I have been on the parenting journey before. And I enjoyed every moment of it. Grand-parenting is arriving where we started and knowing the place for the first time.

Grand-parenting is a gift, a present – just as the life we have all received is. To see new life from the new lives we have brought into the world is an indescribable joy. We know we have been here before and yet every moment seems like a novel experience we have never experienced before. We know the joy over the birth of a baby. And yet, this baby we are holding now seems to be the only baby in the world – most beautiful, one of a kind, unrepeatable. It is strange how so common an experience can seem to us to be the only one of its kind.

Grand-parenting  is a Faith experience, a journey of discovery. More than the earthly joys that grand-parenting has brought me, it has taught me lessons of the spirit I only faintly understood until now.

Jonathan is the first born of the fruits of my seeds. He is now entering his teens. He has the typical mood swings of teenagers. But deeper in him, I can see another Jonathan struggling to break free from his child-ish cocoon. He has talents seeking to unfold. He has a dream aching to be expressed. And he is very antsy to get on that journey all of us must take. Yet, in the midst of all the moods and anxiety, the excitement and sense of adventure; there is that sweet loving child who is so generous with his hugs and affections and always willing and sensitive to reach out to people in need. the very same sweet child that captivated me the first time I held him in my arms.

Jane could have been just an ordinary girl but everything she does I see with love, wonder and amazement. Her early artistic attempts could have been just the meaningless doodling of an infant but they are an affirmation for me that there is a loving God who makes all that Jane does so wonderful and life-giving. Even as a child, Jane was attuned to sounds, sights, and smells that only she could sense. Memories of the heaven she just left behind, I used to believe. If I am deaf and blind to the sounds, sights, and smells that God sends me, How could I miss them when I see my Jane.

Maia was barely two months old when she embarked early on her journey with her parents to a foreign land. She started out delicate and seemingly fragile. But deep inside her is an indomitable spirit that told me, life will not be denied. Behind her angelic smile and calm disposition lies a fighter who will never give up. And we wake up every morning with her picture waiting for us to greet her ‘Good morning’. I count the days we can hold her again in my arms.

Mikhaela is on her way. There is a lot of excitement over her coming. And I wait her coming with great hope and joy, like the Advent waiting we just went through this past Christmas. I am already imagining how she will look like, what she will be doing and saying, her voice, her mannerisms, and even her cry. But I am sure that the real Mikhaela will be more, much, much more than I can imagine. It teaches me to never second guess what God has in store for me. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”

I love being a Grand-Parent.

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