Archives for April 2013

Playground Safety Facts For Parents

Playgrounds are one of the happiest places on earth for children, at least for my own tots. Trips to the park and playground have always been welcomed with exuberance and enthusiasm. My children love the playground, but their fondness of it is not the only reason why I take them there. As a parent, I believe that the playground is not just a place for fun and play, but also a great place for learning and development.

However, despite the wonderful opportunities that playgrounds have to offer it cannot be denied that they can also be a source of injury for youngsters. While there is no need for panic, there is a necessity in knowing the facts on playground safety. Here are some that you may well benefit from:

  • According to the National Playground Safety Institute, lack of or improper supervision is associated with approximately 45 percent of playground-related injuries.
  • The most common playground equipment pieces associated with injuries are climbers and swings.
  • Compared to older children, young children have a higher risk of sustaining head and face injuries. Older children are more likely to suffer from upper limb fracture or arm and hand injuries.
  • About 45 percent of playground-related injuries are severe–ranging from fractures, internal injuries, concussions and dislocations.

For more playground safety information, I recommend you reading this post: “Playground Safety: Facts and Tips for Parents of Toddlers and Preschoolers.”

Remembering Pope John Paul II: A True Inspiration

This morning, I was made to remember one of the most loved Popes that ever lived–Pope John Paul II. While visiting Catholic.org, I read a post titled “Pope John Paul II could be recognized as a saint in record time;” and it told of a second Vatican-approved miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed John Paul II and the plans for his canonization.

Pope John Paul II was a wonderful leader of the Catholic Church–he maintained unswerving fidelity to its teachings, preserved the purity of the Catholic doctrine, and tirelessly preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But more importantly, what made us all love him even after he died was his loving nature, kind spirit, and inspiring wisdom.

In his years of papacy, Pope John Paul II served not only as a leader but also as a father, a beacon of light, an inspiration, and a source of strength and wisdom.

Let me share with you one of the most inspiring messages of the late Pope:

It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; He is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is He who provoked you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is He who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is He who reads in your heart your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle.

It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be ground down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal.

Truly beautiful words that I hope resonate with you as much as they do with me.

How to Teach Your Kids to Love Reading

I have always loved reading. The pleasure of a good book is one of my favorite things in the world. Having gained so much from my penchant for books, I also want my children to have a passion for reading. In this age of internet, television, iPads and smartphones, getting children to love books is not as easy as it sounds. Yes, it’s not a walk in the park, but it can certainly be done.

Although it will require a great deal of our time and energy, helping our children learn to enjoy reading is one of the most important things we can do as parents. Children who love books are found to have a higher aptitude for learning, better communication skills, better coping capacities, and a healthier self-esteem.

There are many tips out there on how to instill the love for reading in our kids. One great post I can recommend for a bunch of wonderful pointers is this one: “Top 10 Tips to Help Children Love Reading.” But as for me, I think that the most effective way to encourage our children to love books is to constantly read to them–the earlier, the better.

The Gift of Choice: One of God’s Many Gifts

A very inspiring story brightened my morning today, and I am quite thankful to have read it. I would like to share the story with you: “Living in the Light.” While the story brought me a lot of wonderful realizations and lessons, I would like to focus and reflect on the subject of “choices”–our God-given freedom to choose.

The freedom of choice is one of God’s best gifts to mankind, but like many of God’s gifts the liberty to choose can also be dangerous. The perils of making the wrong choice are evident in the Bible. As a matter of fact, it is the wrong choice of our first parents that put us here in this sinful world. In the same way that the choice of Adam and Eve to disobey God’s warnings brought them the punishment of death, the choices we will make in our lives will have their corresponding consequences and rewards.

As the Apostle Paul wrote, “For you were called to freedom, brothers.  Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13)

We can choose to live a life in bondage of sin or choose to live a life in Christ and be free from the dangers of the world.

Teens, Trends, and Parenting Advice for Both

The teenage years are said to be the most difficult time for parenting. It is during these years that children become more assertive of their independence and less responsive to parental authority. While having a sense of autonomy is normal for teenagers, it is often this feeling that gets a lot of teens in trouble.

Although adolescence is a time for parents to help our children become less dependent on us, it is also a time for us to be more attentive and watchful. I read a post entitled “Parents Be Aware: Dangerous Teen Trends” and it reminded me how risky and illogical teenagers can be. Parenting teens can be tough because teens mostly just want to fit in (remember how that felt) and do not want to hear the logical advice you have for them.

We must understand that the primary goal of the teen years is to achieve independence, however we should forget that it is during these years that children need proper guidance from parents. We need to make sure that the way we deal with our kids during these difficult years will keep them from (not push them into) doing unsafe and inappropriate things.

Too Much Technology for Kids Can Cause a Serious Addiction

I read a post titled, “Toddlers Becoming So Addicted to iPads They Require Therapy” earlier and it really made me stop and think WHAT?!!! I cannot believe that some kids’ attachment to their gadgets is bad enough to need therapy. Reading further about this matter made me understand that this problem is indeed real and that therapy for gadget addiction is not just some overblown solution to a small problem. As one doctor says in the study, “This condition (addiction to gadgets) could seriously interfere with a child’s ability to form normal social relationships, so that something as natural as human interaction could become exhausting for him or her.”

Although I believe that gadgets can help enhance learning for our children, overexposing them to these things can cause serious damage in their health and development. To see to it that we get the positive benefits of technology and not its bad side, we should see to it its use is covered by clear rules and restrictions, monitor how our children are making use of the gadgets that we are giving them as well as keep track of the time they spend with it.

Most importantly, we should talk to our children and make them understand about the bad effects of improper and/or excessive use of gadgets .

Jesus Christ is the Only Way to Salvation

Pope Francis opened the week with a beautiful message about salvation, saying that “The Only Path is Jesus, He is the Gate, He is the Way.” I found this reminder to be simple, but very important. Often people forget that there is only one way to eternal life–and that is through the grace of Jesus Christ alone.

Salvation is not a complicated thing. It is a simple, freely given gift that we can all receive and take part of, if we want to. All we have to do is believe and accept that Jesus Christ died for us, was buried, and rose from the dead. In other words, there is nothing we need to give up to be saved, only our disbelief. As it says in Acts 16:31, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved…”

There is no other way to enter the gates of heaven,  but through the open gate of love that is Jesus Christ. He has done his part in making salvation available to us by dying on the cross of Calvary. Now, it is our choice to either accept his gift, believe in him, take the path that he offers or reject him and turn away.

Sharing the Gospel in This Modern World

I read a post this morning called “Mother Angelica’s Role in My Reversion to Catholicism.” It’s an inspiring story of a man who found his way back to the Lord with the help of the Catholic television show, EWTN. Reading the story did not only make me feel joyous, but also caused me to think about how the Gospel of Christ is being shared in this modern world.

Unlike the early followers of Christ who had to walk on foot across deserts or sail across dangerous oceans just to share the love and grace of Jesus, modern-day Christians are blessed with technology and methods that can make gospel-sharing easier and more far-reaching. How many of us are actually doing our part in spreading the good news of salvation? How many of us are actually obeying the command of Jesus to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature”?

Each of us is called to share the Gospel, first of all through our lives and secondly by talking about it to others. With the technology in our hands, we can easily spread the love of Jesus to others.

Remember that we will only be going home until all the world has heard of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14) Don’t you want to go home?

Why the Church is So Vital to Faith

A post from Why I Am Catholic titled “Because the Church is the Port in the Storm,” inspired me today. The eloquently-written post by Frank Weathers reminded me of just how important the role of the Catholic Church is in my life.

People who profess they are Christians, but do not attend Mass or believe in the value of a place of gathering to worship are not new to most of us. Nowadays, more and more people are belittling the importance of membership saying something along the lines of: “I don’t see the need to be a member of the church. I think all that matters to God is that I believe in him and treat other people right.”

Apostle Paul said in Ephesians 5:25, “Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” This verse alone ought to tell us that the Church is not something that is of little value. I’m willing to admit that it has flaws because humans run it, and all humans are inherently flawed in one way or another. However, one thing that must never be forgotten is the fact that Jesus started the Church and loves it so much that he died for it.

God gave us a place to worship so that we may receive the blessing of fellowship–fellowship that strengthens our faith and draws us nearer to him. As it says in Hebrews 10:24–25 says, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Growing Children: Appreciate the Time You Have

Reading anything about children growing up and leaving home just makes me emotional. A post I read this morning, Learning To Let Go,” did exactly that. I mean, don’t we all feel this way? Don’t we all get teary-eyed imagining how our little babies could grow up one day and want a life away from us? Stumbling onto posts like these take my mind off all the things that make parenting little children stressful and exhausting, and make me turn to how much of a blessing it is to still have a lot of years ahead of me before any of them have to go away. Appreciate the time that you have with your children now!

Let me share with you one of my favorite parenting quotes by Alice E. Chase:

To My Grown-Up Child

My hands were busy through the day;
I didn’t have much time to play
The little games you asked me to.
I didn’t have much time for you.

I’d wash your clothes, I’d sew and cook,
But when you’d bring your picture book
And ask me please to share your fun
I’d say: “A little later, son.”

I’d tuck you in all safe at night
and hear your prayers, turn out the lights,
Then tip toe softly to the door…
I wish I’d stayed a minute more.

For life is short, the years rush past…
A little boy grows up so fast.
No longer is he at your side
His precious secrets to confide.

The picture books are put away,
There are no longer games to play,
No good-night kiss,
No prayers to hear…
That all belongs to yesteryear.

My hands, once busy, now are still,
The days are long and hard to fill,
I wish I could go back and do
The little things you asked me to.

-Alice E. Chase