TIME OR MONEY?

Would you rather have more time or much money? time-or-money

The question sounds preposterous, I know. But as far as my practice is concerned, I see that more and more people are having issues with these two things.

“There is so much to do but too little time”, is the lament of many. Or,” If I only have more than enough money, I would really be happy.” These are common expressions which tell us that there appears to be a scarcity of time and greater desire for wealth.

Yes, time and money affect psychological health. In a recent study, people who report frequent feelings of time scarcity are less happy and more prone to anxiety and depression than people who are feeling time affluent.

But what causes this rising feeling of time scarcity? Is it because we have less time now? Not at all.
Surprisingly, decreasing feelings of time affluence can be due to RISING WEALTH, according to a study. As incomes have risen around the world, so too have feelings of time pressure.

Why is this so? In economics, it is called the law of commodity. When any resource is perceived as scarce, it is also perceived as more valuable. Hence, when our time becomes more financially valuable, we may also view our time as increasingly scarce.
So, if earning more money makes us feel more pressed for time, it behooves us to change the way we spend our money. Instead of buying things, let us buy time.

To find out if this strategy worked, researchers surveyed 6,000 adults. They found out that people who spent money on time-saving purchases reported greater satisfaction with their lives.

Another experiment was performed. The researchers gave the same amount of money on a group of people and told them to spend the money in a way that would save time. On another weekend, the researchers again gave them money, but this time told them to buy a material thing like books or clothes.

Result of this experiment showed that on average, people were happier after spending the money on a time-saving purchase than after spending the same amount on a material thing, and the happiness benefits of “buying time” were explained by reductions in feelings of time pressure.

Time saving purchases; outsourcing for work, hiring additional helper, etc. is not the only effective way to make trade-offs between time and money. There are others who choose to work fewer hours, even if it means making less money. Others buy or rent places near their workplace so they could walk.</p

The same researchers made a vignette and asked people to choose between Tina and Maggie. Tina values more her time than her money. She is willing to sacrifice her money to have more time. On the other hand, Maggie values her money more than her time. She is willing to sacrifice her time to have more money.

Although respondents were split down the middle on this question, results showed that people who identified with Tina reported that they were happier than people who identified with Maggie. Implication? People who say they prioritize time over money appear to be better off.

There is nothing wrong with being wealthy. But contrary to common beliefs, wealthier people do not appear to prioritize time over money. And they report significant stress in their lives.

What this shows us is that money is both a cause and a potential solution for the time scarcity that modern life is experiencing. Although having more money is linked to feeling pressed for time, it is not inevitable. Hence, we need to rethink our spending decisions, transform wealth into well-being by using money to buy time.

Be Grateful

We should find the reasons to be grateful and count our blessings especially this new year. We need to make a conscious effort to focus on what we have and what went right because to be grateful is the secret to health and wellbeing.  For thousands of years, “this greatest of virtues and the parent of all others”, said Cicero, have been the subject of philosophers, religious, and spiritual thinkers. But beyond their conjectures, there really have been no hard scientific evidence associating gratitude to psychological and physical wellbeing. Not until recently.


Robert Emmons and Mike McCullough are two psychologists who researched extensively on the effects of gratitude towards health and emotions. They know people associate being grateful with happiness. But associations do not prove causality. The best way to know this was to perform an experiment.

These brilliant psychologists randomly assigned subjects into groups. The first they instructed to keep a daily gratitude journal or gratitude list, the other group focused on hassles, and the control group was neutral. And these are what Emmons and McCullough discovered.

In one experiment, the group of people who kept weekly gratitude journals had significantly better results on a range of psychological and physical well-being measures than the people in either of the two comparison groups. The gratitude journal people exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week than the other two groups (who recorded hassles in one group or neutral life events in the other).

Participants who kept gratitude lists were more likely to have made progress toward important personal goals (academic, interpersonal, and health-based) over a two-month period compared to participants in the other experimental groups.

In another study using daily self-guided exercises with young adults, the participants in the gratitude intervention group reported higher levels of the positive states of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy than the other two groups (who focused on hassles, or on how they thought they were better off than others). Also, the participants in the gratitude intervention group were more likely to report having helped someone with a personal problem or having offered emotional support to someone than those in the other two comparison groups.

In a third study, this time of adults with neuromuscular disease, a 21-day gratitude intervention resulted in better sleep duration and sleep quality, greater amounts of high energy positive moods, a greater sense of feeling connected to others, and more optimistic ratings of one’s life, relative to a comparison group.

In general, Robert Emmons found that people who view life as a gift and consciously acquire an “attitude of gratitude” will experience multiple advantages.  Gratitude improves emotional and physical health, and it can strengthen relationships and communities. Gratitude enriches human life. It elevates, energizes, inspires and transforms. People are moved and humbled through expressions of gratitude.

If you wish to cultivate an attitude of gratitude, you can try this exercise. Set aside five  minutes each night for the next two weeks, preferably right before going to bed. Prepare a pad with one page for each of the next fourteen days.  Think back over the previous twenty-four hours and write down, on separate lines, up to five things in your life you are grateful or thankful for. Common examples include “waking up this morning,” “the generosity of friends,” “God for giving me determination,” “wonderful parents,” “robust good health,” and other creative expressions of gratitude.

You can evaluate through writing in a journal the changes in your outlook, emotions, social interactions, and your general attitude towards life and events. If this worked for you after your evaluation, incorporate it into your nightly routine.

Christmas and Hope

One time, the radio station called me live on air to speak about my thoughts on our practice of celebrating Christmas even as early as September. No doubt, ours is the longest in the world!

At the onset of the “ber” months, radio stations begin to play Christmas songs. And no, it does not end after Christmas day but continues up to January and even February, when Valentines day set it. That’s the only time when households begin to keep their Christmas decorations.

christmas-and-hope

Looking closely, I see that this shows our penchant for celebrations and festivities. Being the only Christian nation in Asia, we collectively hold in the highest regard the birth of Jesus. We look forward with merry anticipation the coming of the Savior and so we brightly adorn our surrounding with multi-colored lights and vibrant decorations.

And this is good. In a country like ours, where bad news overwhelms the good, we need something with which we can pin our hopes on. Truly, when I first heard a Christmas song a few days ago, it stirred in me a sense of euphoria, of images of reunion, of giving and sharing, and of a new beginning.

And so for most of us, celebrating Christmas early becomes a mechanism where we are able to cope with life’s harshness. No, it is not a denial of what is, but it is a testament that we can choose to be happy and merry even in the midst of hardships and trials. That our optimism best serves us as we focus on prosperity rather than despair.

christmas-and-hope

But this celebration of hope should teach us and propel us to action. The warm and exciting feeling that the season brings needs to be translated into better relationships and changed lives.

Hope is like oxygen, we cannot live without it, according to Shane J. Lopez, a researcher on hope. Her research together with colleagues shows that hope leads to everything from better performance in school, to more performance in the workplace, and to greater happiness overall.

And it makes sense. According to Lopez, “When we’re excited about ‘what’s next,’ we invest more in our daily life, and we can see beyond current challenges.” Unfortunately, only half of us measure in hope. But fortunately, it can be learned. And we Filipinos obviously show it best.

Hopeful people share four core beliefs, according to Lopez. First, they believe that the future will be better than the present. They look forward on what is to come, knowing that it brings more tidings than today.

Second, hopeful people believes that they have the power to make a better future. They see themselves as capable of bringing to life whatever they desire and hope for.

Third, hopeful people understands that there are many paths to reaching a better future. These people recognize that reaching the goal may take several turns and curves and there is no single road to actualizing the goal.

Lastly, hopeful people see that these paths to the future are not without obstacles. They are replete with theme. But regardless, they maintain their vision and work out to realize them.

christmas-and-hope

Let me be the first to greet all of you a Merry Christmas. Let us all look forward with hope to that day when Christmas is not just all about bright lights and gift giving, but truly a celebration with the Savior in heaven.

P.S. We are conducting a Young Couples Christian Life Seminar on Sunday, December 17, 2017. I am inviting young couples 40 years old and below to join. In a world where marriage and family is disintegrating, we need hope. Anyone interested, email me at kitbalane@boholchild.com or text 09988851339.

Arts and Healing

Dolly (not her real name) was brought by her mom in the clinic because she did not want to go to school anymore. She was transferred to another school but the same thing happened, she only attended class once. arts-healing

I recommended that she be admitted to therapy. And part of Dolly’s intervention is allowing her to join the arts activity of the students. And she loved it. Only after a couple of weeks, Dolly began to warm up and is now arts-healing exposed to her cohorts in Grade 2 and soon will become a regular student and part of the class.

And there are still many other kids in Bohol Child Head Start who were able to overcome their shyness, separation anxiety, impulsiveness and hyperactivity, and other deficits because of the power that arts bring.

multiple-intelligence

It is very heartening to see how arts become a tool for healing. And we do not need to be traumatized to understand how arts can alleviate our emotional and psychological pains. For instance, when we are emotionally troubled, many of us tend to sing or dance these troubles away. Or, I had a close friend who was able to write a really striking and beautiful letter when she and her boyfriend split.

Still many others resort to doodles, sketches, and drawings to express the content of their minds and hearts. I have a client who until now gets easily affected with bad news that she sees on tv or the internet. To help herself, what she does is write short stories about it and through the process, get a sense of control over her thoughts and emotions.

multiple-intelligence

To understand the relationship between arts and healing, we need to understand brain functioning as well. The brain is divided into two hemispheres, the left and right. It is believed that these two hemispheres have specific functions.

The left brain is moderated by words. It communicates verbally, is analytical and critical, and able only to tell us what we think and feel. On the other hand, the right brain communicates in images, is symbolic and emotional, and can tell us what we actually think and feel.

When we use words and logic, we reach out to the left brain. But the right brain responds to stimulation facilitated by images and symbols.

Therefore, what words cannot contain and express, creative therapy, like arts, can. Creative therapy is based on the fact that the creative process of art making is healing and life enhancing. It provides a creative outlet for emotions that are too painful, intense, embarrassing, or unclear to express verbally.

multiple-intelligence

Creative therapies include visual arts, may it be in 2d or 3d, dance and movement, music, poetry, drama, writing, sand play, clay, and other modalities. The advantage of arts over verbally mediated therapies is that it is absorbing and enjoyable to do. And in the process, you get to be empowered thereby increasing self-awareness and self-esteem.

multiple-intelligence

But art therapy is not art education. They are two very different things. In arts therapy, the creative process and artwork are considered in terms of their therapeutic significance rather than their artistic merit per se. It is low-skill, high sensitivity art.

Art therapy is not arts and craft. It is not product oriented but rather it is self-expressive. It is not a purely recreational activity, it is therapeutic. In other words, the significance and power of art therapy is not on the product but on the process.

So, what are you waiting for? Unleash your creativity and relish the healing and freedom that art brings.

 

Contact Bohol Child Head Start | Like our facebook page | Arts and Healing

 

SPECIAL DADS

special-dads

I arrived for lunch last Friday with Oido, my 5 year old son, crying in his mommy’s office. I learned that she scolded him because he just barged in and accused her of something that she did not understand.

special-dads

Only when I arrived did she realize that Oido was frustrated and angry because she lost the Father’s Day card he made from his class he gave to her. He wanted to surprise me and he lost that opportunity..

special-dads

I was touched and was beaming with pride for my son. I felt so special and just embraced him and told him that I am more than surprised. And when we found the present, he showed me what he wrote on it: “I love you Daddy”.

special-dads

These are the moments when being a father feels so extraordinary. Although when it comes to raising children and being a parent, most of the attention goes to Moms. That is very understandable. Mommies are the ones who endured pregnancy, labor, nursing, and all others.

special-dads

But does this put Daddy’s role at the sidelines? Not the least. In fact research suggests that Dads are important in a number of ways. First, Daddy’s presence in a household is associated with fewer behavioral problems in children. For instance, children raised in homes without fathers are at a greater risk for delinquent behavior and committing a crime than children raised in homes where the father is present.

special-dads

special-dads

Relatedly, girls raised in families without a father are more likely to become pregnant as teenagers than those who live with your fathers. There is also evidence that children who have two parents in the home are more likely to do well in school for the help and encouragement they get from both parents.

special-dads

But the most convincing evidence of how important Dads are come from research on Dads interaction with their kids. Dads’ interactions with their kids differ from that of mothers. They play differently, that is, they tend to play more physical than mothers do. And they tend to encourage children to take more risks than moms do. Does it make a difference?

special-dads

Research suggests that paternal physical play is associated with positive outcomes for children. Dad’s encouragement for risk taking allows children to do things on their own. Because most Dads tend to provide a safe and secure environment with supervision, they encourage their kids not to be afraid to try new things.

special-dads

In general, Dads are necessary for raising happy and healthy children. Their roles are very significant in the home and cannot be relegated just to anyone.

This Father’s Day, here are some more tips for all Dads out there to enhance their impact on their children. First, Dads can show more emotions and vulnerability. Let go of the stoic type and learn to be more of a feeling person.

special-dads

Second, Dads can begin to truly listen and empathize. In most households, Dad’s voice is the rule. But when Dad begins to lend a listening ear from the heart, it can make relationships much better.

special-dads

And lastly, Dads can be more affectionate. Most Dads are allergic to physical affection that is why children tend not to open up to them. But when Dads become more affectionate by hugging and kissing, and embracing their children, it melts barriers and foster emotional bonds.

special-dads

Happy Father’s Day!

Middle Child Syndrome

middle-child-syndrome

I am a middle child. And yes I can attest to the effects on the personality if you were born second or third among siblings. But not all of these effects are unhealthy. As a matter of fact, research shows that middle children possess characteristics which are uniquely necessary to be successful in life.

middle-child-syndrome

However, there are also real risks for middle children, especially if parents are not well attuned to the dynamics of family interaction. Being a middle child increases the possibility of being second rate in many aspects which may bring about apathy and resentment.

middle-child-syndrome

Looking closely at how we parent our own children, my wife and I admit that the level of attention, energy, and intensity we devote to our second son is lesser in degree compared with the eldest. With our first born, there was a different kind of excitement and exhilaration. My wife had to stop working to focus on parenting him.

middle-child-syndrome

When our second born came, we were more relaxed and confident with our parenting skills. And our general attitude was that he will turn out fine just like the eldest. Of course we gave him everything that he needed. But the level of intimate interaction was lessened and much of the babysitting delegated to the yaya.

middle-child-syndrome

With the coming of the third child, a different level of delight again permeated the family. And all eyes were focused on the new angel. What happened to the second born? He became part of the spectators and awe-gazers and was relegated to the background.

middle-child-syndrome

Comparing my three children, we see the stark difference in their personalities which we partly attribute to the degree of our parenting. The eldest (9 years old now) is an achiever in school and confident in his ways. But he is a little entitled, impulsive, and rough in his manners. He is also a natural leader being the mayor in his class.

The second one (7 years old) is academically average. He learned the basics a little late than his kuya. But he is sweet and emotionally attuned to others. He is quick to say “sorry” and “thank you” and is sensitive to our needs. While he is shy in public, he has no problem making friends and relating with them.

Although we haven’t heard yet from Gabriel (second born) that he feels neglected and unrecognized (we hope we’ll never do), most middle children complains of such. Those who were surveyed reported that they felt abandoned by their parents and that the attention they get are not as much as the eldest or the youngest. But I wish to underscore the fact that the unfortunate experience of less attention from parents for a middle child is also what gives them the character that helps them be flourishing in life.

Far from being doomed to failure and loneliness, research shows that middle children are more likely than their siblings to be successful and enjoy strong social lives and thriving careers. The apparent disadvantages they endure in childhood turn out to be beneficial, in many cases giving them the attributes of empathy, independence, creativity, patience, and being a team player, among others.

middle-child-syndrome

But middle children are also too willing to please others. Perhaps, from their desire to get the attention of their parents, they developed this pattern of being too good and they tend to avoid confrontation, which can mean they are too easily influenced by their friends.

While most first-borns are assertive, dominant, and show leadership qualities, middle children excel in the arena of relationships. Studies show that 80% of middle-borns remain faithful to their partners compared to 65% of first-borns and just 53% of last-borns, perhaps the latter are used to getting their own way, which as we know doesn’t always happen in a serious relationship.

middle-child-syndrome

Whatever the case, this information should alert parents to be mindful of their parenting and effect of birth order on their children’s characteristics. My wife and I recognize these possibilities and so we make a conscious effort to really spend special time with Gabriel through special dates. With this, he would know that he is celebrated as he is and he is one special creature, given special attention just like the rest of his brothers.

P.S. Bohol Child Head Start is still accepting enrolees for Preschool, Grade School, and Special Intervention School. Come and contact us at 416-1248/09295571136 or visit www.boholchild.com.

SEX ED

Of Condoms and Sex

sex-education

Sex-Education – The DOH has started to strengthen its campaign on implementing the Reproductive Health Law, and I heard on the radio that they plan to distribute or make available condoms to students as part of the strategy to prevent unwanted pregnancies and contracting sexually transmitted diseases.

sex-education

But one congressman reacted to the plan insisting that such a move require more serious thinking and study. And rather than distribution, emphasize education, he said.

sex-education

I could not agree more. I understand that the DOH do both. But to me, the best place to start and intensify this education is in the home. It is very important for parents and adults to talk about sex in the home when it comes and answer sensibly children’s questions and respond appropriately to their sexual behaviors.

sex-education

sex-education

Let us face it. Times have changed. We have become a sexually saturated society. It is in our commercials, in our movies, primetime shows, in our music, the internet, and magazines. And sooner or later, your child is going to learn about sex and you would want that he learns it from you rather than someone else.

sex-education

Because what all these advertising are promoting is mostly misinformation. They create unrealistic fantasies about what sex should be and people, especially adolescents, end up disillusioned when reality leaves them empty and cold, realizing that it does not fill their longing for personal happiness.

sex-education

Our sexualized culture does not allow us the option of not talking about sex and sexuality with our children, otherwise, they will believe the lies that they see and hear around them. Let us take heart that we still hold so much influence in the lives of our children. If you ask adolescents who influence them the most, rock stars and pop artists do not top the list but parents do.

sex-education

Today, the options are clear. You can either choose to initiate and direct the conversation, or you can let culture’s preconceived ideas dictate your child’s belief about sex.

sex-education

Sexuality is one area of life where correct information, delivered in the correct context, with the correct emotional atmosphere, is crucial to healthy growth. And when it comes to your child, it shouldn’t be a onetime conversation. It needs to continue throughout the child’s life.

sex-education

Sex is best taught in the context of the family’s morals and religious values. It is essential that the emotional and moral tone of the sex education be compatible with those beliefs. Sexual facts are not as important as the tone used to deliver the message.

sex-education

So, the most important question is, Are you ready? You begin with examining your very own attitude towards sex and your very own sex life. Articles in the internet and magazines provide advice on how to spice up your sex life, or how to drive your spouse crazy but do these tips really equate to great sex?

sex-education

Research shows that people who have the best and most frequent sex are those who are married, monogamous, and religious. Isn’t this opposite to what media tries to make us believe and embrace?

sex-education

As a parent, your behaviour and attitude about sex, spoken or unspoken, will be imprinted in your child’s life. If you are afraid and uncomfortable to talk about the topic, that is also the message your children will get. If you are unprepared and know nothing about it, you will fumble in times where they need answers. Mixed messages are dangerous.

sex-education

Therefore, sex education in the home begins with the parent examining his or her values and attitudes toward sex. If deep seated issues are present, parents need to strive to make sense of them and experience personal healing. The rest will naturally flow out from there, as parent and child build a strong emotional bond where sexual issues can be explored healthily.

For consultations, contact 09122506898.

Contact Bohol Child

sex-education

Teach Your Kid Good Morals

In our age where people seemed to have lost their sense of right and wrong, how do we teach our children good moral character? It is imperative for us parents to make sure that our children are grounded so that they navigate life with a clear set of values and ideals, otherwise, we cannot hope for a future that is truly meaningful for them.

I believe you will agree with me if we make the Bible verse “Do unto others as you would have them do to you (Luke 6:31)” as our standard for a moral life. And for our children to live by this moral code, they need to imbibe the abilities to feel other’s feelings, to think twice before doing anything, and judge how their actions will affect themselves and others.

But how do we begin? Learning moral values starts at home. Its seeds are planted in the quality of attachment a child has with his parents or caregiver and sprout into care, respect, and fairness, as he grows. A parent who is responsive to the needs of the child will send the unmistaken message that “you have worth and value.” The sensitivity of the parents to the child’s needs will in turn saturate his young mind and develop in him a sense of trust and the same sensitivity towards others.

Being cared and valued, a child will feel good about himself and develops his wellbeing. Constantly exposed to this pattern of caring, this becomes eventually his code and believes that it is the right thing to do. And so, this becomes the bedrock for caring and feeling for others.

With sensitivity for others comes a healthy sense of wrongness and guilt. It now becomes easy for the child to identify with others and how they feel and spot anything that is not in line with his internalized moral code. Because others, primarily his parents, have done right to him, he will also seek to do right with others. Anything that is not will disturb his wellbeing and he will do everything to restore this through proper rectification of his behavior.

Around preschool, the child is now ready for more grounding by teaching him the do’s and don’ts of behavior. At this stage, what a child considers right or wrong are the things that Mommy and Daddy say are right and wrong. Parents are like gods. They are infallible. But because he has experienced care and sensitivity from them, he readily trusts and obeys because it makes him feel good.

Hence, a sensitive parent makes this an opportunity to instill more values into the child. Parents must see to it that they find situations everyday wherein they could model and teach values. For instance, whenever one of my sons is hurt, I invite the other son to help me soothe him. Or when one son takes the other’s toy, I tell him to look at how frustrating it is for his brother, or ask him how he would feel if it was done to him.

If at preschool the child sees right and wrong through the parents’ eyes, the child now begins to internalize these values at around 5 or 6 years old. Your values become her values. Hence, your virtues, right or not, become hers. Hence, we need to be careful.

It is very important for parents to be role models to their children. It is said that we should not worry too much that our children do not listen to us, we should worry instead that they are always looking at us. Indeed, as they grow, they look for role models to imitate. Because they have impressionable minds, the behaviors they see around them become etched in their subconscious and guide their behaviors.

By around 7-10 years old, the child will now start to engage in moral reasoning. He does things because they are the right things to do. If he has been constantly immersed in values such as sensitivity to others, politeness, respect, etc., then these become his “right things” or his normal. Because his parents take these virtues seriously, he would also take them seriously.

In the presence of other children who have come from uncaring and insensitive homes, the morally-grounded child shines. Because his values are intricately part of him, the alternatives do not appeal that much because it upsets him and disturbs his wellbeing. And so therefore, he only imbibes those values which strengthen his internalized values and discard those that do not to preserve his wholeness and internalized pattern.

With this, he tends to attract friends with the same inner radar. But even then, we parents must know who our children’s friends are because they are very influential in forming their sense of values particularly during late childhood and adolescence. We need to know what they do and especially what they watch.

In the advent of technology, there is every opportunity to be influenced may it be through the internet, mobile phone, or tv. We know of children shooting others to death, not because they intend to, but because they saw it done on tv and they just reenacted it. In viewing movies or programs where there are elements of violence and sex for instance, we should sit down with our children and engage them in moral reasoning, asking them if what these actors and actresses do are right or wrong.

Our child’s moral exposure needs to continue not only with friends but also in school. It is important to choose a school where good moral values are upheld and preserved. By so doing, we provide our children every opportunity to grow with empathy, care for others, respect, and integrity, and become productive citizens in our society.

Children and Happiness

What makes couples happy? Among the several patterns that emerged, there is one thing that many of us parents may find quite interesting: that of having children.

High profile research in recent years suggested that couples who have children are less happy than their unmarried counterparts. There is this study funded by the state in the United Kingdom which surveyed 5,000 couples of all ages and sexual orientations.

The study, which involved intensive interviews and surveys, found that childless married and unmarried couples reported being more satisfied in life and feeling more valued by their partners than did pairs with kids.

How does the child factor affect married couples? It influenced their levels of intimacy. Fathers were twice as likely to cite a lack of sexual intimacy as the biggest downfall of their relationships, while mothers reported that they want to have sex less often than their partners do.

Unmarried parents were found to be slightly happier than married parents. But among those interviewed, mothers reported being happier with life than any other group. Childless women reported being the least happy.

Another study which tracked about 13,000 people in the U.S. showed that those who have kids were more depressed. Part of the reason for the dissatisfaction is that raising kids is stressful. Daniel Kahneman, an economist and cognitive scientist found that, of the pleasure to be derived from 19 everyday tasks (such as watching TV, shopping, and child care), child care ranked 16th on the list. Perhaps, it is not difficult to spot why.

Researchers from Stony Brook University and Princeton University released another analysis claiming that the days of those without kids are more even-keeled. Childless couples go through life as if driving on a flat racetrack while those who have is like riding a roller coaster. Concretely, people with kids have more joys and happiness as well as more negative emotions like anger, worry, and stress.

And of course, kids are expensive. In the U.S., the estimated cost of raising a child from birth through age 18 is pegged at $241,080. This does not include paying for college. How about in the Philippines? Tuition fees in preschool are almost like that of college already.

But given all these, I would still not exchange my children for anything. Yes, the stress is at its peak when the children are still very young or in their adolescent stage. However, all these are offset if couples are prepared for parenthood.

This should be a wakeup call for those who are getting married and want to have children. And a sterner warning for young adults who are sexually active and are prone to unwanted pregnancies. To have children requires planning and adequate preparation. Because when they come, they surely demand so much attention and energy.

But if you are prepared, no amount of earthly undertaking can ever replace for being a parent. Happiness may not be as high as those who have no kids, but the meaning they bring to our lives is always worth it.

Father and Sons

Dear Sons,

I can’t help but ponder on how fast you have grown up. Looking back, I realized that I’m starting to miss the days when you were younger and so dependent on us. Soon, I’ll not be able to wrestle with the three of you, you’d be much stronger. But I’m excited to see that as well.

Now, you are starting to have your own mind and in a few years, your mom and I know you will each be on your own. Our only prayer is that you may look back at your own life with fondness and find beautiful memories which will define who you are and guide you where to go.

You are boys and soon will be men. In this dog eat dog world, it is so tempting to conquer rather than share. But I’d like to believe that I have set a good example for you to emulate. If I do, then follow me. But never ever forget that you can become much better than I am.

Nevertheless, allow me to tell you some things which helped me so much in my own journey. I also learned this from my own father and others whom I looked up to.

First, LOVE YOUR GOD because he loves you more than anyone else can. But loving entails work. So, work out your love for God more than anything else in this world and you will discover life to the fullest. Remember, everything works for good to those who love Him.

Secondly, RESPECT WOMEN. Women are never commodities nor objects of our desires as mostly portrayed by some media. When you have found the one whom you will spend your life with, lavish her with affection and care. Remember, what you do to your better-half, you do to yourself. If you like to learn more, just ask your mom and she will tell you.

Third, WORK SMART AND HARD. Yes, there is no substitute to hard work. But you also need to learn how to channel your energies and skills appropriately. Because if not, work becomes tedious and boring. Find your passion and the very nature of your calling, and there you can unleash your creativity and your genius.

Fourth, DO NOT BE AFRAID TO FAIL. Failure is necessary. Pain is inevitable. But find the gem in every mistake that you commit and learn from it. Never ever give up just because you faltered. Many a man becomes a success for not giving up than having all the brains in the world. Remember, you only become a failure if you think you are.

Fifth, BE GENEROUS. There is only one secret to abundance, and that is to give back. Give not only when you have extra but give even in times of famine. The real reward of generosity is not what comes back to you but how much bigger your heart gets and livelier your spirit becomes. That is what my teacher told me and I believe her.

Lastly, KEEP YOUR INTEGRITY. Walk your talk. Live what you preach. In this overly materialistic world, it is so easy to compromise our values in exchange for money and power. But remember again, at the end of the day, when all the glitters are gone, you are what you value. I hope you will be able to find something of real value ‘where no moth or thief can destroy’ and live it out.

I’ll never tire telling you that I am so proud of you and you inspire me to be the best that I can be. May you remember what I tell you and continue the legacy.

Love,
DAD