More than the physical nourishment our children need, the fulfillment of their dreams as society’s leaders and builders are shaped by how we nurture and nourish them today.
Last week, Republic Cement invited me to grace their series of school visits in Batangas to launch “Lusog Tibay” campaign in partnership with Gawad Kalinga. With the very first “Kusina ng Kalinga” in Taysan Batangas, they commit to feeding 750 public school students daily for school year 2017 to 2018. The theme of the kick-off is holistic nourishment and overall well being.
I was honored to speak before mothers and children about the kind of care we give them using a mother’s hands. Allow me to share my talk.
I used 3Ps for the mothers in the audience so they can easily remember: pagsisilbi (service), pagmamahal (affection) and pagdarasal (prayer).
Pagsisilbi. It is through labor and service that children’s physical needs are met—through lovingly preparing nutritious meals for them and choosing home-cooked meals over instant food, even if it is more time consuming to prepare. It was important to emphasize the need to cook nutritious food for our kids.
According to Republic Cement’s survey, some mothers requested Kusina ng Kalinga to serve processed food as it is more familiar to and more appealing for their kids to consume. There was an urgent need to appeal to these moms that serving food to their kids is more than just laying them on the table. Just because a dish is satisfying, doesn’t mean they are nutritious. As mothers, we are responsible not just for feeding our kids, but for feeding them right.
I also shared to them the topic about consumption of water: How meeting the daily requirement of eight glasses of water is crucial for individuals to function well and how drinking a total of 12 to 16 glasses can actually aid in weight loss. Hello Mommas who barely have any time to sweat!
Pagmamahal. It is also with the hands that we make our children feel loved. We nourish them emotionally by caressing them, holding them, hugging, kissing and massaging them—that alone make love more tangible. This is the very reason why the hands must never be used for spanking. For even though discipline through the rod is one of the highest expressions of love, it must never be administered using the hands, only by the rod.
Pagdarasal. The last “P” I focused on my talk is on the importance of prayer life in nourishing our own and our children’s spiritual needs. How our hands must be used more to pray for patience, provision, wisdom, joy, peace of mind and sanity as well as our children’s daily protection and future.
From my personal experience, I shared how prayer was the practice that helped me remain sane and joyful to this day, six years into my solo parenting; how the peaceful life is the by-product of prayer life. Prayers spared me from worrying about things I have no control over, like my child’s safety whenever I am away, and kept my peace of mind intact.
Did you know that a happy mom makes a happy home? And a happy home invites family members to hangout in it more? When children are happy because their home is peaceful, they are less likely to look for cliques and wrong groups to be filled with love and attention they need.
Also, I know I have mentioned this in previous a column, the best academic performers in school are from the happiest of homes. Need I emphasize even further the importance of praying as a foundation to a peaceful home life?
Finally, cultivating our children’s spiritual life through prayer (for and with them) is one concrete way of training them according to Proverbs 22:6. Prayer is a habit we want to teach them while they are still young to make sure the roots grow deep. To raise children who are grateful for every single thing and who know Who to ask for any need.
In order to properly raise healthy children, we need to nourish them holistically—covering all aspects of their well being, their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs. No doubt we will create healthy kids today to build a stronger republic tomorrow.
PS: Now that I am a mother, I praise God for my mother’s and grandmother’s veiny, wrinkly, calloused and rough hands. These are hands that have and continually serve and love our families.