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New City Magazine - June 2016


The Age of Dreams and That of Reality


The Job of Parenting

 

 

 
The Age of Dreams and That of Reality

"On our wedding anniversary we had dinner out. While for us it was a nice moment for bonding, sadly many other couples around us were focused on using their mobile phones, all but ignoring the other person with them. They seemed to be people who were just together there by chance." (Jay and Miriam)

 


The Job of Parenting

I wish to tell you, that I'm so much in love ... and it's beautiful! Why do I feel this way? (Luke)

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The Age of Dreams and That of Reality

In our youth group, we talk about everything. Enjoying our "freedom," we come up with ideas that our parents don’t always understand. In fact, my father says that we are only good talkers, and suggests that we should do something with our lives, something concrete. I think he is exaggerating! Or isn’t ours perhaps the time to dream? If we don’t do so now, when can we dream? (F.Gm.)

Life is a journey made up of different stages, and when you’re in your 20’s, you are at the point of opening up to wider horizons, of dreaming and embracing high ideals, of realizing your own independence and identity...

but it’s also the moment where you must try to achieve certain goals, to acquire stability, and begin showing concern for others. At every stage, we need dreams and ideals to illuminate our paths; but we fulfil ourselves only by putting into practice what we’ve understood, by building up true relationships, and taking care of others, etc.

Even as we dream now, it’s necessary to do something concrete. Then, even in the later stages of life, one mustn’t stop dreaming.

In your relationship with your father, he’ll remind you of the first aspect, i.e., to be concrete, and you’ll remind him of the need to keep on dreaming. According to a research in the US, many teens dream of getting a good education, finding jobs they’ll love, getting married, and having families, but many are also concerned about not being able to realize those dreams.

It's easy to assume that teenagers don't listen to their parents. But the latest All State/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll on childhood in America reports that when it comes to expectations about school, kids are listening loud and clear—even through their ear buds. They seem to be paying attention when adults talk about tough economic times and are aware of the rising expenses associated with college.

A recent Gallup Youth Survey was made on teens regarding their life goals and career aspirations, and inquired specifically about their plans after high school. Teens understand that while higher education is no firm guarantee of success, it is one key to landing a job they will enjoy and find fulfilling.

Teens will always nurture admirable dreams, but in economically tenuous times, they tend to be realists as well (Lyons, 2004; National Journal 2013). In his recent encyclical Laudato Si, Pope Francis underlined that “reality” is greater than ideas.

What does this expression suggest? Certainly not that we should not come up with thoughts and ideas, but that these ideas become real and verifiable only when they are implemented. I remember that at your age, we were just as idealistic–especially about our dream to solve the problem of poverty around us–when we were challenged to start a social center in a nearby slum area.

Armed with nothing but youthful enthusiasm and our dreams, we said yes. We were all students with no financial means then, so we turned to our “elders,” who, emboldened by our drive and courage, generously provided us with funds, volunteer doctors and expertise, while we supplied the muscle and hustle, turning an old, abandoned warehouse into a social center to provide healthcare, as well as nutritional and livelihood projects for the people around us.

Working closely together, we turned that dream into reality in the Bukas Palad Social Center which, aside from its headquarters in Tramo, Pasay, now also has branches in Tagaytay City, La Union, Cebu and Davao.

Dreams and reality go hand in hand and what better way to show this to the world than by our inter-generational collaboration, appreciating and complementing the “gifts” that each generation brings. With your group, then, you can certainly dream of a better world of peace, but you have to make it tangible now with small but significant gestures of tolerance, of reconciliation, and fraternity.

Continue to protest against the evils and falsehoods you see in society, but always ask yourselves what first concrete step can be taken to effect change. As Christians, you can nourish yourselves with the Scriptures, but also commit yourselves to putting into practice God’s Words. You will discover that these are Words of Life, a life that demonstrates the truth of those Words. The ideals of the Gospel are global and universal.

Yes, indeed, we have to think globally, but we also need also to act locally and concretely. Someone, in fact, coined the word "glocal" to strike a balance between global ideas and local concretizations.

Truly, we can both keep dreaming and begin transforming these dreams into concrete realities.

Francesco Chatel, Ting Nolasco, Frances Orian and Fr. Am Mijares

 

References:

Lyons, Linda (2004).
Teens Dreams Grounded on Reality. Retrieved from gallup.com National Journal (2013).

Heartland XVIII: Raising the Next Generation in a Changing Nation. Retrieved from http://heartlandmonitor.com/ heartland-monitor-xviii-childhood-in-america/

 

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The Job of Parenting

I wish to tell you, that I'm so much in love ... and it's beautiful! Why do I feel this way? (Luke)

First, let’s define what parenting or child rearing is.

It is the process of promoting and supporting the physical, emotional, social, financial, and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood. Some people aspire to jobs, like those of a doctor, a teacher, a carpenter, a football or basketball player, etc.

For parents, the task of caring for a child falls upon them with the birth of their first child, and most parents know that it is a lot of work from morning to bedtime. It is actually more than just a job; it’s a profoundly beautiful and fulfilling vocation, but it can also become complicated and exhausting.

Aside from the tasks directly associated with being a parent (e.g. feeding the children, providing for their needs, watching over them, staying up when they are sick, providing for their school needs, and many other things), we also need to relate with our children as individual persons. This can be quite challenging.

First, every child has his or her own personality and tendencies. Second, we all have our own beliefs and feelings that we have the right to teach our children what we believe is good for them. Third, there are no schools to teach the art of parenting.

Fourth, different experiences that children go through, even in the womb, in infancy and in every stage of their lives can influence their characters, the way they deal with others, and their responses to situations.

While parents naturally want the best for their children, many children, owing to different circumstances, grow up with prejudices against their parents, or deviate from what their parents want, and may sometimes end up in trouble.

However, although a person can always go against the teachings and values imparted by his parents, there is less chance of one’s going down the wrong path when he has been educated towards what is good. May we suggest some parenting ideas:

  1. Remove your own prejudices about your child’s character. No child has a bad character. Each has his or her own personality, and when they mature, they can grow up to be responsible members of society. For example, a little girl who is timid when relating to others, if well supported, guided, and not reprimanded for her shyness, can turn out to be a caring woman for others.
  2. In a parent-child relationship, everyone is right. So, in our relationships with our children or with anyone, we should always look for the reason or motivation of an action. This helps us develop humility— a very important value in education.
  3. It is also important to allow children to make mistakes. In this way, we help them understand that what is important is not so much that we are perfect and self confident, but that parents are all humans and committed to the task of educating and of mutual learning until the end. To do this, each parent should feel that their children are not so much their own, but are rather beloved persons who have been entrusted to them. In other words, they can foster an atmosphere of love and forgiveness so that each child could grow, as sunlight lets the plant grow by itself. The life of the child is ultimately a gift from the Creator and does not belong to the parents.In his classic book The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran wrote: “Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.”
  4. There is no perfect parent. As parents, we, too, can make mistakes and fail. When this happens, we should also be ready to ask for forgiveness from our own children and start over again, together with them. In this way, the parent-child relationship is not one where the parent commands and the child obeys, but instead, it becomes a journey undertaken together.
  5. In our neighborhoods or circles, we can organize a “school” for parents or a regular get-together in which several parents can come together, learn from each other and grow together in the beautiful vocation of parenthood.
  6. Finally, let us always pray for our children and entrust them to God, for they belong to him in the first place. As parents, we can only do so much in a fast-changing world, a world which we ourselves may not always understand and know how to deal with. But God always knows what to do, and if we put our children in the hands of God who is a Father, the Parent par excellence, then we can be at peace.

Perhaps, you have experienced this… Your kid may have just thrown the biggest tantrum on planet Earth, but when he looks up at you with his shining eyes and toothy grin, you fall head-first into that gushy cloud of kid-love that has helped the human race move forward for millennia.

It’s a kind of twisted but beautiful joke that only parents can understand. That heart-swelling, earth-shattering, all-consuming love for your kids is what creates the challenges of parenting, yet that’s what makes it all worthwhile. It’s the reason of your woes, but also the cure for them. It’s a force that can drive you to near-madness, yet a balm that can soothe your battered heart.

Love makes parenting tougher, but it also renders it easier.

Ezio Aceti, Jenni Bulan, Ann Pasa, Frances Orian, and Fr. Am Mijares

 

 

 
 
 
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