Archives for June 2013

Battling Your Child’s Bedtime Fears

Reading “The Monsters Under The Bed” inspired me to do a post about the very common parenting dilemma that is children’s nighttime fears and nightmares. Battling bedtime your child’s bedtime fears can be trying.

It’s not uncommon for toddlers and preschoolers to be afraid and dream of monsters. While experts say that this does not reflect a serious underlying emotional or psychological problem, we can’t help but feel bad about our children not being to sleep peacefully at night. So what can we do to minimize these fears and reduce the discomfort they bring upon our kids? Here are my suggestions:

1. Track what triggers your child’s fears–scary stories, movies or TV shows–and minimize exposure to these things.

2. Emphasize to your child that the monsters he read about in storybooks or saw on TV are only pretend characters.

3. Don’t ignore, devalue your child’s fears; even though you have to tell your child that monsters are not real, you should acknowledge the fact that your child’s fear is very real.

Battling your child’s bedtime fears is a very real problem for parents. What suggestions do you have for those struggling now?

Encouraging Kids To Play Outside

Who would have thought that there would come a day when parents would have to encourage their kids to go out and play? As one parent reminisces about her wonderful memories of spending time outdoors as a child in her post “What Ever Happened to Playing Outside?” I cannot help but also recall my childhood years spent riding my bike, climbing trees and playing hide and seek with my neighbors. Encouraging kids to play outside seems like a thing of the past, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

I want my children to have these kind of happy memories too, that is why I encourage them and even create opportunities for them to play outside. Later on, I realized that there are many other things that my children can reap from outdoor play aside from creating wonderful memories such as better social skills and physical health. Encouraging kids to play outside has so much upside to offer.

May we have the will to not let this age of electronics rob our children of all the beautiful things that unstructured, active and natural outdoor play has to offer.

God’s Strange and Mysterious Works

Have you ever done something and realized later that God was actually working through you the entire time? Like for instance being able to share your faith, give hope and offer comfort while drinking a cold beer in a restaurant like the woman in this post: “God Uses Us Even in the Strangest of Settings.” God’s strange and mysterious works shine through in her story, and I thought it was a true inspiration.

God works in mysterious ways. We can never really know when God will decide to use us, so we just have to be ready and receptive all the time. No, there is no right place and right time to share the love and grace of God. God really doesn’t care who we are, how much education we have, how knowledgeable we are of the Bible you are or how unprepared we feel. So long as we open ourselves to God’s working, He can and will use us in many ways–surprising ways. God’s strange and mysterious works have no end, and will continue forever.

Take this quote as inspiration:

“David was the youngest son of a shepherd, but he became the greatest king of Israel. Paul ardently persecuted the early church, but he became the one who would spread the Gospel to the Gentiles. Mary was an ordinary teenage girl who became the mother of the Messiah. There are times in our lives when things seem almost hopeless’ but God wants to use us all for great purposes. He does not look at our current condition, but at what we have the potential to become. We should view others and ourselves in the same way…We should try to view all things with the faith and hope that God can and will transform us into the people He wants us to be.” 

Do You Trust Your Intuition As A Parent?

I picked up a few interesting points while reading this post: “Parents Must Trust Their Intuition,” so I decided to share my thoughts on the matter with you and hopefully you will share yours with me too. The main question here is simply: do you trust your intuition as a parent?

Although I have always been willing to listen to advice and ideas from friends, families and “parenting experts” on how to raise kids, I have always believed that God has endowed me with innate capabilities and wisdom to bring up my children–maybe not perfectly but–safely and properly.

A lot of parents nowadays end up feeling confused and stressed out with raising their kids because they pay too much attention on what other people are saying. They become too concerned as to whether they are doing the right and the best thing/decision for their kids; when in fact, they are the experts on their kids more than anybody else.

Now there is nothing wrong with listening to parenting advice so long as these things help enrich our parenting experience. If what you are listening to just fills your heads with doubt and robs you of self-confidence then you might want to draw the line. Remember that you and your child share an unbreakable bond that will always be the greatest source of information of what’s right for you, your child and for your family. So do you trust your intuition as a parent? I know that I do. Have confidence in your God given abilities.

Through God’s Love We’re As Good As New

I read a short but very wonderful illustration of God’s Loving Restoration this morning. The author likened each sinner to an “old discarded car that appears worthless except for the one who views it through eyes of love.” However through God’s love we’re as good as new.

Yes, we are all like beaten-up old cars that have practically no value, but God because of his great love for us was willing to pay a high price just to get us to be what we are really meant to be–spiritually and morally upright and glorious. He so willingly sacrificed his only begotten Son just to give us all undeserving and rebellious sons and daughters a chance to be new again.

Revelation 21:5 says, “Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.

Yes, God will give you a new life, a new hope and a new heart; but only if you will let him. Will you? Through God’s love we’re as good as new, and that is something that makes me happy.

Evangelizing is Something All Christians Should Do

I celebrate with the people of Fargo with the installation and ordination of their new bishop, Bishop John T. Folda. The newly appointed bishop gave a very inspiring message during his Mass of ordination. I was especially moved when he gave these words of encouragement: “We must proclaim Christ, in season and out of season, by our words, whether vocal or written or blogged or tweeted or in any other medium available to us – we must share Christ with all our brothers and sisters around us.” Evangelizing is something all Christians should do in my opinion.

Indeed, we must all take part in sharing the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. As opposed to what a lot of Christians think, we have all been commissioned by God to evangelize. And I believe we all have our own means of doing so. “Proclaiming Christ” is not just limited to preaching, it simply means sharing the good news of Jesus–however and whatever way we can. Evangelizing is something all Christians should do.

Read more about the ordination of Bishop John T. Folda here: “Jesus Is Source of Joy.”

Asking God for a Sign

Have you ever been in a situation that prompted you to ask God for a sign? An article I read this morning titled, “When Dreams Come True” inspired me to put together a little post about asking God for a sign.

I know a few people who do not believe that it is right or appropriate to ask God for signs. I am a firm believer that God is more than willing to help me make decisions in my life. Another thing is, the Bible encourages us to ask for signs. One example would be the verse from Isaiah 7:11 “Ask the LORD your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.”

I sincerely believe that the Lord wants to get involved with every little detail of our lives. So we should not hesitate in asking for His help at any time for anything. As opposed to what others are saying, I believe that asking God for signs is not seeking for proof of his existence or capacity; instead, it is simply asking for God’s love and reassurance. Asking God for a sign shouldn’t be frowned upon.

How about you? Do you ask God for signs?

Choosing The Right Kind of Toys For Your Kids

Play is one of the most powerful vehicles children have for learning new skills, concepts, and experiences. Research shows that 90% of play in children involves a toy. With these facts at hand, we can easily conclude that toys are vital in the development of our children. However, the problem is, not all toys are appropriate and helpful to our children; as a matter of fact, some may even do more harm than good. Choosing the right kind of toys for your kids is super important.

My criteria for choosing toys are these four simple characteristics: fun, age-appropriate, stimulating, and safe. I am also not a big fan of gizmos and gadgets because as the Kaiser Foundation said, “The real educational toys are not the flashy gadgets and gizmos with big promises, but the staples that have built creative thinkers for decades.” 

If you need help choosing the right kind of toys for your kids here are some good tips: “How To Choose Toys.”

We All Have Something To Give

I was very inspired reading a letter from a Mom to Catholic Sistas telling about how her little boy was inspired by Pope Francis. He decided to donate the $465 he received as gifts from family and friends for his First Holy Communion. The sweet 8-year old even said to his mom, “if we don’t help the hungry, who will?” The money he gave to the local Ecumenical Kitchen fed about 350 people. If you want to read this story in detail, you can do so HERE. The moral of the story in my opinion is that we all have something to give.

It is so inspiring and heart-warming how a child can possess such a selfless spirit. If only all of us think the way this little boy thinks, the world would be a much better place.

We do not need to be millionaires to be able to give to the less fortunate. Like the widow that Jesus praised in Mark 12:41-44 who gave “two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents” as an offering, we just need to whole-heartedly present to the Lord whatever it is that we have and it will surely go a long way. We all have something to give, and that should be a focus.

Yes My Children Make Me Happy

An article from the Pacific Standard magazine titled, “Do Children Make Us Happy?” caught my attention this morning. This shouldn’t be surprising as I believe reading a title like this would catch any parent’s attention. So while I answered yes my children make me happy, I also had some thoughts on the article.

The article brought me up and down–convincing me that parenthood is indeed marred with struggle, doubt, anxiety, and even terror and then restoring me again to my belief that with parenthood comes the happiest days of anybody’s life. To answer those non-parents who believe that parenthood can never give anyone genuine happiness, I’d like to quote this sentence from the article, “If we define happiness in the superficial sense of getting what you want, parents indeed may be less happy than non-parents.” So yes my children make me happy and I know that definitively.