01 Jun

by Doc Shi 


A lot of my friends noticed my kids are the "lambing" type. They embrace my friends with their head leaning on the shoulder as if going to sleep. They pick flowers for me everyday just because they want to make me smile. Every time I leave for work, they both give me butterfly kisses and they love fetching me from work. Well, there are a lot more to tell you but I'd rather share how Jay and I managed to raise these affectionate kids amidst our busy work schedules (especially that I am in my 3rd year of training in OB-GYN) and topping it with having no yaya, AT ALL!

Tip #1: HUG your kids frequently. I learned from a religious group that if we receive 10 hugs in day, we become healthier. Because of that, we practice hugging each other at home not just regularly but frequently. When I feel so tired and consumed from a day's work, I hug each of my kids 10 times. In return, I get 20 hugs back! I don't just feel better, I feel comforted that after the harsh and stressful day, I come home in the loving arms of my family. When my kids see me looking overworked - which is most of the time, they just hug me! But not just me, if my kids see you sad, they'll hug you, too!

Tip #2: KISS them even in public. Bigger kids wouldn't want this but if we start them young, they will get used to it and not feel embarrassed kissing Mom and Dad in public. Let Dad kiss Mom in public, too! Come on! We are husband-wife, whom do you expect us to kiss? I mean would you rather let kids see strangers kissing or their Mom and Dad? Media has been showing us not so good examples of PDA (public display of affection) because #1, the ones kissing in television are not even married! Let us set good examples to our kids by showing "decent" PDA being husband and wife. Let's start it by kissing each other during the Sign of Peace when hearing mass and when saying goodnight before going to sleep.

Tip #3: Say the magic words regularly: Don't just teach, show them that you say these words, too.

PLEASE and THANK YOU. Training kids in doing household chores make them responsible but we should not forget to say "please" and "thank you" of the things they help us with. It may just be picking up a trash that did not shoot straight in the trash bin or doing their own laundry. It is their job, yes, but appreciating what they do by saying thank you boosts their confidence that they are doing the right thing. Likewise, saying please teaches them humility, especially coming from Mom and Dad.

I LOVE YOU and I'M SORRY. These are among the priceless words we rarely hear spoken sincerely. Others would say it is not nice to speak these words too often. I think otherwise. Saying "I LOVE YOU" even if you don't totally mean it at times would make your brain think you mean it until you realize that yes, I truly love you! Especially among husbands and wives, there are really days you'd wish you hadn't married this creature beside you! Still, we have to say those 3 words to remind the other person that you love them and make sure you let the kids hear it! This gives them the security that it is beautiful to express your feelings. Just like please, saying "I'M SORRY" is humbling. No matter how hard, if you know you are at fault, even if you are Mommy/Daddy, say sorry sincerely. Be the model. If kids say they are sorry, make sure they understand what they are sorry for, and then forgive them. No need to take it against them. Let it go! Forgiving teaches kids to not just accept their mistake but also love themselves because they know they are forgiven. Let's not be too had on them. If we magnify their mistakes, they will feel bad about themselves and later on become fearful in committing one or worse they become defensive and refuse accepting one.

Tip #4: BE SWEET. I remember this famous quote, "The best gift you can give your children is to love their mother". I believe the best gift parents can give to their children is loving each other. No matter how long you have been together, no matter how boring some days may become, husbands and wives should find ways to keep the fire of love burning. Just as in Ephesians 5: 25 said, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her." In other words, keep it sweet and simple. No need for a "Christian-Grey-Charlie-Tango" helicopter ride surprises. A simple bunch of flowers bought from Carbon Market during "monthsaries" will do. Or, carrying your wife's things and opening the front door for her will do! This way, kids learn to be expressive and creative in showing their love.

Tip #5: BE CONSISTENT. Being loving should not only be confined to the 4 walls of your household. Be loving in dealing with your neighbors, even to animals and plants. Jay and I ask the kids to share and personally hand extra food to street children. Our family also has this tradition of having medical mission and feeding program every year during my husband's birthday. I realized that this tradition transformed and molded us in becoming more generous and empathetic to others. Generosity is a concrete form of love that returns the love we share a thousand-fold. Love should be shared, persistently and consistently, especially to the unlovable. Remember, consistent actions yield consistent results. Loving consistently yields loving kids.

These tips may work on you, too. So I encourage couples especially with small kids to train them to be affectionate while young. Most of all, we, as parents should pray that they remain faithful to the mission God HAS planned for them while growing to be loving individuals.

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