Post written by Raymund Tamayo
My wife and I had our second child, our son Rafa, last March 24.
To be honest, having kids is an overwhelming feeling. It’s a mixture of emotions… on one side you’re so happy seeing them and being with them, then on the other side you tend to worry on how are you going to provide for all of their needs. On one side you’re thanking God for the blessings of becoming a parent, then on the other side you’re asking God for help to raise these kids the right way.
I’ve been meditating a lot on being a better father, or a better parent, because I believe that taking care of a little child should be the responsibility of both parents.
Here are some of my thoughts on how to become a better parent (some of which are still in progress in my life):
- Put God on top of my family. As a father, I know I’m the spiritual leader and head of the household. I’ve accepted that responsibility. But I acknowledge that I’m still under my own master and leader, the Lord Jesus Christ. I always look to God for guidance and strength and patience on how to take care of my children.
- Love my wife. The best thing all of us can do for our children is to love our spouse sincerely and unconditionally. Be faithful. A strong and healthy marriage is the foundation on which children base their lives. Home becomes a safe place that models and encourages selfless love. Successful parents are faithful and they love their spouse unconditionally.
- Show them that I love their mom. This is different from #2 because it was an internal thing, and I should do it even when no one is looking, while this one is external in a way that I have to show my kids that I love their mom. I shouldn’t contradict their mother in front of them. I shouldn’t fight with her in front of them, and most definitely I shouldn’t abuse her. I believe that how I treat their mother will affect their self-esteem, and the way they will treat other women when they grow up.
- Teach them self-esteem. Through experience and through observation, I’ve found out that self-esteem is very important to have as a person. It is vital that I teach my children self-esteem while growing up to help them be better persons and citizens in their adult years. How do I do this? I can think of some ways like showing them (not only telling them) that I love them and that they are important to me, by spending time with them, by talking and listening to them, by praising them for the things they do and accomplish. I believe there a lot more ways to discover in doing this.
- Correct them and teach them discipline. This is one area of parenting that I’m most careful of. I believe in the old proverb “Spare the rod, spoil the child,” but I don’t overdo it. Honestly, I rarely spank my kids. I’d rather be kind and patient and gentle with them. I’d rather teach than scold, and train them discipline by modeling it to them. If all else fails, and if it’s absolutely necessary, the rod will come into play.
- Encourage them to grow spiritually. I want to teach them and show them that the greatest things in this world are not things. Instead, they are invisible, life-giving, and eternal.
These are just some thoughts I’ve had these past couple of days. I expect many more will come, and I promise to chronicle more on this blog as they arrive.