Desiring to be an intentional, invested and involved mom in the lives of my children... I share a glimpse of my triumphs and failures on my quest to capture their hearts ♥♥♥
by Tini Tadeo-Castillo
Here's the continuation to the life skills list we intend to teach our children. For those who missed the first part, you may read it here : Life Skills 101 - Part 1 Praying that as you read both consecutively will bring inspiration and encouragement to moms and parents like me. Thanks!
Basic Homemaking and Hygiene (Mom) – While this is something shunned by boys and girls, it is admittedly a life skill they MUST learn. What kind of parent wouldn’t want their kids to know how to take care of themselves? From budgeting to meal planning, a trip to the market/grocery, preparation/cutting, all the way down to cooking, cleaning the sink and washing dishes—both Jam and Leila must learn. We intend to partner up for the first few weeks —me with Kuya and Dad with Leila then eventually and gradually, we switch thereafter. The idea is to do it with them until they can do it themselves. Laundry 101 was already accomplished last weekend but definitely needs to be done more over the next weeks until both kids get the hang of it. Of course, not to be spared are the cleaning of the bathroom (yay, good luck!) and house cleaning like putting floor wax, scrubbing and dusting windows and furniture. It will also include feeding Kichi, our dog, cleaning his kennel and bathing him. Summer will be oh so interesting for my big babies! Of course, not all chores are fun and so we will try to devise a plan with rewards to keep them motivated. Maybe, we ought to masquerade it as something else? LOL! We will take a stab at anything to keep a good attitude while they work and keep their outlook on a situation as something positive, no matter how unappealing the task may look or sound.
Repair & Maintenance, Troubleshooting (Dad) – The other night, we told stories about the genius that is MacGyver, who uses his very interesting vast knowledge to devise a plan to come up with a clever solution. We told them how he improvises using common items, his ever reliable Swiss army knife and duct tape. This kept our kids interested and really curious thus I was tasked to download some episodes to watch so we can keep them inspired. Hopefully, we learn a thing or two from the legend that is Angus! Dad will show all three of us how to fix the faucet, educate us how a circuit breaker works, how to clean the A/C and to how install gas to the stove.
Driving and Road Discipline (Dad) – With all the road rage and anger management issues related to traffic that we see every day on TV, social media and even with those we know personally, it is very important that our children learn driving skills and road discipline from their Dad. I am blessed that my husband demonstrates humility when driving. He’s not one to be easily angered when someone cuts him and not the type to race on the road. I appreciate that my kids see this. It helped that Paul used to drive a school service so he is careful and his current work is related to monitoring risky driving habits. He is able to share to us the wisdom he gains at work like driving risks, identifying negative driving behaviors and the correction of such, to avoid unnecessary road mishaps. He is very intentional in teaching all of us defensive driving and I truly appreciate him for it. I keep telling our kids that I feel the safest when Dad drives and that they have to acquire the same Zen-driving skills if they are to drive their own cars and make me ride with them. Also, this life skill includes demonstrating how to pump air on a tire and how to change it (hopefully I will be exempted from this haha!). Eventually it will be elevated to car parts, functions and troubleshooting.
Physical Fitness (Dad & Mom) – Choosing a healthy lifestyle isn’t always easy. Coming from families who have higher risks to diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, allergies, gastrointestinal problems and all sorts of cancers, we find that we must be more intentional with this. We both decided to quit smoking and while it was difficult at first, it came as a surprise that we were able to. It was truly a matter of will, of how much we loved our children, enough to realize that we were being selfish if we didn’t. We do want to live longer to see them realize their dreams and that was enough motivation to do so. And because Paul is a diabetic, everyone adjusts according to his dietary requirements. Everyone takes it as a serious job to remind Dad not to eat chocolates (unless there are dark!), to cut back on his rice, to avoid past, pizza or burger (unless it is his cheat day). In the same way, we also try not to make him crave for what he feels he is missing out. We are thankful also that Jam plays ball regularly and does his best to encourage his Dad to play with him. We will also try to play badminton when budget allows and plan to jog together this summer when school ends. We always do our best to remind Jam and Leila that our bodies are temples of God and that we are accountable to Him for how we take care of it.
Environmental Awareness (Dad & Mom) – I admit I grew up without so much care about the world I live in. But with a series of calamities that happened over the last 5-10 years, I became aware of how I, in one way or another, contributed to climate change. Now, I find the urgency to be a better steward in terms of God’s beautiful and largest gift to mankind – nature. We intend to teach our kids how to be better stewards than us when we were younger. Saving water & electricity, garbage segregation, recycling starts at home—we must better educate them on this so they can be responsible citizens of earth.
Last but never the least and truly the most important…
Spiritual Discipline and Personal Relationship with God (Dad & Mom)— This is important and go hand in hand. As they will be faced with problems, crossroads and decisions in the future, it is imperative that they should turn to God first and put His will at the top priority. And they can only do this if they are educated why, trained how and encouraged to have a relationship with the Lord as early possible. Since we became Christians, it became clear to me and my husband that we cannot give what we do not have. Therefore, it must first be evident in our lives and in our relationships. We do our best to have family devotions and bible studies at home, regularly go to church on Sundays, do ministry and serve in church with them and pray as a family. This didn’t come easy as it was a bit awkward at first. Over dinner, we also freely discuss as a family how our day went and how God moved with, for and through us. Over time, it became instinctive and became a part of our identity as a family. When faced with personal struggles, we ask our children to pray for us, as we deal with it and they both serve as our accountability partners when needed. This reinforces that there are no judgments at home, that there is an open communication line for all, and that we are allies, a unit working together with and for God. Eventually, we shall also encourage them to join us in fasting. Though they have an idea how it goes and why it is done, there is no better teacher than experience. We would love for them to see and experience breakthroughs in their lives through this spiritual discipline. As they see how we prioritize and put full weight on our relationship with God, we pray that we are able to model something very essential for them to learn. We pray that this life skill will give them a strong conviction of their faith when we finally let go of all ten fingers.
Oh wow! That looks like a pretty long list! I didn’t realize how much life skills there actually are, to teach our kids until I began listing them. It is a good exercise as it gave us a better grasp at reality, how we are actually preparing Jam and Leila for the road ahead. It gives us an overview which areas we need to work on and at the same time gives us an urgency to work on ourselves to be a better role models. The idea is to teach them now what we were only able to learn at 22, 28, 35 and through trial and error at that. While we know experience is the best teacher and many important lessons we learned through it, we’d like to be able to give our children some fair warning for what’s up ahead and down the road. It won’t hurt to give them a heads up, right?
There is a huge difference between a child who trains before joining a marathon, than another who joins a marathon and realizes he can’t get far because he wasn’t trained. We can all agree we want our child to be the first one. But that one good question to ask ourselves—what am I doing to prepare and train my child for that marathon?
Life Skills 101 - Part 1