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Contents

Volume 3 | Number 4 March-May 2016

Parents’’Corner 7 Honoring

About My Mom

2 Homework

Ako Ay Pilipino

4 Family Note

Why Bother to Vote?

5 Frameable

12

Jubilee Year of Mercy

9 Balancing

The Gang’s All Here!

12 Preventing

Sweetness Overload

16 Bonding

Time to Talk

19 Parenting

Special Section

Brainy but Lazy?

The Family and the State

22 Our Christian Duty to Vote 26 Learning by Example 29 Raising Politically Aware Citizens 32 Changing the Culture of Corruption

22

Youth Talk Alden’s Time to Shine, 35 Smoke-Free Zone, 38 On Air, 41 Look Before You Leap, 43 Bad Company, 46 March-May 2016 • FamilyMatters 1


Homework

Ako ay Paano nga ba natin ipinadarama ang pagpapahalaga sa ating lahi at pagmamamahal sa ating bayan ngayon? Mahalaga sa isang tao ang maging isang ganap na kasapi

By Fr. Bernard P. Nolasco, SDB

2 FamilyMatters • March-May 2016

ng isang bayan bilang mamamayan nito, may ipinagmamalaking dugo, lahi, at kasarinlan. Ang kasaysayan ng mundo ay puno ng napakaraming magigiting na mga tao na nagbuwis ng kanilang buhay upang ipaglaban ang kanilang bayan laban sa mga nais sumakop nito at baguhin ang kanilang pagkatao, paniniwala, at pamumuhay. Mga bayani silang ituring sapagkat ipinagtanggol nila ang kasarinlan ng kanilang bayan hanggang kamatayan. Ano nga ba ang kanilang ipinaglaban at ipinagtanggol at sila’y hinirang na mga bayaning Pilipino? Ano ba ang nais nilang sabihin o ituro sa akin at sa iyo, mga Pilipino sa kasalukuyan? Ano ang nais nilang sabihin o ituro sa mga isisilang pa lang sa ating bayan? Ano nga ba ang ‘Pagiging Pilipino’ na kanilang minahal hanggang kamatayan at iningatan na di mapasakamay sa mga nais sumalakay dito? Sa paanong paraan ko ba naiintindihan ang aking pagiging Pilipino? Talaga bang maituturing ko ang sarili ko bilang isang Pilipino? Mahal ko ba ang aking bayang sinilangan bilang isang Pilipino? Paano ko ito ipinapakita o isinasabuhay?

Ako ay Pilipino! Naiintindihan ko ba talaga ang ibig sabihin nito? Kung noong sinauna’y ipinagtanggol ng mga magigiting nating mga bayani ang ating bayan laban sa sumasakop na mga dayuhan, ipinagtatanggol ko pa rin ba ang mga kaugalian, pagpapahalagang moral, paniniwalang maka-Diyos, at mga tradisyong maka-Pilipino laban sa mga banyagang ideolohiyang salungat sa mga ito? Ako ba ay isa sa mga Pilipinong pilit na isinisingit ang mga banyagang kaugalian at paniniwala na lantarang kabaliktaran sa maka-Pilipinong kaugalian at paniniwala? Ako ba ay isa sa mga tinaguriang mga manggagaya ng kung anu-anong kultura at ideolohiya na parang anay na unti-unting sumisira sa kulturang Pilipino na likas na mayaman dahil ito ay maka-Diyos at makatao? Ako ba ay Pilipino na may tunay na malasakit sa aking kapwa Pilipino o wala? Nakakalungkot na mapanuod sa telebisyon o mapakinggan sa radyo ang mga balita tungkol sa mga Pilipino na pinagsamantalahan, niloko, sinaktan, pinatay, dinaya, ninakawan ang kapwa nila Pilipino: may mga pulitikong nanumpang maglingkod sa bayan ay naging mga hari


Ako’y Isang Mabuting Pilipino Ako’y isang mabuting Pilipino Minamahal ko ang bayan ko Tinutupad ko ang aking mga tungkulin Sinusunod ko ang kanyang mga alituntunin Tumatawid ako sa tamang tawiran Sumasakay ako sa tamang sakayan Pumipila at ‘di nakikipag-unahan At ‘di ako pasiga-siga sa lansangan Bumababa’t nagsasakay ako sa tamang sakayan (Nagbababa ako sa tamang babaan) ‘Di nakahambalang parang walang pakiaalam Pinagbibigyan ko’ng mga tumatawid sa kalsada Humihinto ako ‘pag ang ilaw ay pula

ng bayan; may mga pulis at sundalong nanumpang magpapairal ng batas at kaayusan ay naging mapang-abuso sa kanilang kapangyarihan; may mga rebeldeng mamamayan na sa simula’y makabayan ang mga adhikain ay naging mga makasarili na ang layunin. Paano naman tayong mga karaniwang mamamayan? Ano ang mga ginagawa natin na nagpapatunay na kilala natin ang ating pagiging Pilipino sa isip, sa salita, at sa gawa? Tumatayo ba ako nang tuwid at sumasabay sa pag-awit ng Pambansang Awit nang may paggalang at buong karangalan? Ipinagtatanggol ko ba ang lahat ng tradisyon ng pamilyang

relihiyon ng aking kapwa Pilipino at di ginagamit ang aking pananampalataya para sa pansariling kapakanan? May pakialam ba ako sa pamamalakad ng gobyerno o wala? Ako ay Pilipino! Ano nga ba ang ibig sabihin nito sa akin at sa iyo? May mabigat na hamon ba ito sa akin at sa iyo o wala? Minsa’y narinig ko radyo ang isang awit ni Noel Cabangon tungkol sa pagiging isang Pilipino…isang MABUTING PILIPINO. Ito’y nakatawag pansin sa akin dahil may taglay na hamon ang awit na ito. Bilang pangwakas, payagan ninyo akong gamitin ang napaka-makabayang awiting ito.

Ako ay Pilipino! Naiintindihan ko ba talaga ang ibig sabihin nito? Pilipino mula sa kabanalan ng kasal, paggalang sa buhay mula sa unang araw ng paglilihi ng ina sa kanyang dinadalang sanggol, paggalang sa mga magulang at mga nakakatanda? Ginagalang ko ba ang lahat ng batas lalo na kung walang nakakakitang alagad ng batas? Ako ba ay makakalikasan, Pilipinong tinataguyod ang ikabubuti ng pangkalahatan sa aspeto ng kaayusan, kalinisan, at kalusugan? May respeto ba ako sa

Nawa’y habang binabasa ninyo ang liriko ng awiting ito, bigyan ninyo ng pagkakataon ang inyong sarili na magnilay-nilay bilang isang mabuting Pilipino. Nawa’y payagan ninyo ang inyong sarili na pakinggan ang tinig sa inyong maka-Pilipinong puso at damdamin na nag-aanyaya tuwina na tayo’y maging tunay na mga saksi ng ating pagiging mabuting Pilipino sa isip, sa salita, at sa gawa. 

KORO: ‘Pagkat ako’y isang mabuting Pilipino Minamahal ko ang bayan ko Tinutupad ko ang aking mga tungkulin Sinusunod ko ang kanyang mga alituntunin ‘Di ako nagongotong o nagbibigay ng lagay Tiket lamang ang tinatanggap kong ibinibigay Ako’y nakatayo doon mismo sa kanto At ‘di nagtatago sa ilalim ng puno ‘Di ako nagkakalat ng basura sa lansangan ‘Di bumubuga ng usok ang aking sasakyan Inaayos ko ang mga kalat sa basurahan Inaalagaan ko ang ating kapaligiran (Ulitin ang koro) Lagi akong nakikinig sa aking mga magulang Kaya’t pag-aaral ay aking pinagbubutihan ‘di ako gumagamit ng bawal na gamot O kaya’y tumatambay at sa eskwela’y ‘di pumapasok Ipinagtatanggol ko ang aking karangalan ‘pagkat ito lamang ang tangi kong kayamanan ‘di ko ibinebenta ang aking kinabukasan Ang boto ko’y aking pinahahalagahan (Ulitin ang koro) Ako’y isang tapat at totoong lingkod ng bayan Pabor o lagay ay ‘di ko pinapayagan Tapat ang serbisyo ko sa mamamayan ‘Di ko ibinubulsa ang pera ng bayan Ipinagtatanggol ko ang mamamayang Pilipino Mga karapatan nila’y kinikilala ko Iginagalang ko ang aking kapwa tao Ipinaglalaban ko ang dangal ng bayan ko. (Ulitin ang koro 2x) ‘Pagkat ako’y isang mabuting Pilipino

March-May 2016 • FamilyMatters 3


Family Note

Family Matters Volume 3• Number 4 March-May 2016

Why Bother to Vote? Now more than ever, the outcome of the national elections in May is one of utmost importance to us as a people, since our choice of new political leaders will impact on whether our country continues to post impressive economic growth and remain one of the fastest rising emerging economies. We are starting to see the fruits of our efforts to cut graft and corruption, improve transparency in government, reduce poverty, and implement reforms aimed at attracting foreign investments and improving the business environment. What all of this proves is that it is in fact possible for us Filipinos to change—to grow more disciplined, to establish new laws and best practices that comply with international standards, to demand greater private sector participation in public affairs and state decision-making, and to seek full accountability from those we install in power. One effective way to protect the precious gains we’ve made and continue along this path of growth is to ensure we elect the most deserving candidates— those who have the willpower and moral fiber to push through with reforms against strong opposition by the powerful few that want to retain the status quo to the detriment of the rest of the nation. Thus, in this issue, we’ve decided to tackle for our special theme the role of the family in creating a society where democracy, the common good, social responsibility, and equality are upheld, foremost through the family’s participation in the voting process. Our special section, “The Family and the State,” which starts on page 22, will open your eyes to the imperative to not give up your right—and your duty—to vote. It will also give you guidelines for selecting the most capable leaders—not just opt for “the lesser evil”—and provide tips on how to stir in your children political awareness and the desire to have a say and even be actively involved in governance. In relation to this, we know that the seeds of democracy are first planted in our own homes, and our children then put into practice in the outside world what they observe in their personal life. One way to uphold democracy in our homes is by doing something as simple as holding family meetings, where everyone is given the chance to speak freely and take turns in leading family discussions. For ideas on how to organize regular dialogues, flip to page 16. And on a lighter note, the kids must be rejoicing now that the school break is upon us! If you’re planning your traditional summer trek out of town but thinking of bringing the extended family this time for even more fun, we’ve got you covered. Turn to page 9 for sure-fire tips on how to organize a trouble-free summer outing where the whole clan—from apo to Lola—is —is coming along for one unforgettable ride.

Romelda C. Ascutia Editor rascutia888@gmail.com

4 FamilyMatters • March-May 2016

PUBLISHER Don Bosco Press, Inc. ADVISER Fr. Bernard P. Nolasco, SDB EDITOR Romelda C. Ascutia ART DIRECTOR Early Macabales CONTRIBUTORS Maridol Rañoa-Bismark Aileen Carreon Anna Cosio Rolando C. delos Reyes II, MA Ed, RGC Fr. Vitaliano “Chito” Dimaranan, SDB Excel V. Dyquiangco Erlinda Esguerra Gabriel Joshua M. Floresca Ruth Manimtim-Floresca Annabellie Gruenberg Stephanie Mayo Ross Valentin, M.D. PHOTOS AND STUDIO DBPI-MultiMedia Section DBPI-MMS PHOTOGRAPHER Raymond S. Mamaril PRODUCTION COORDINATOR Early Macabales CIRCULATION Don Bosco Press, Inc. PRODUCT SPECIALIST Jino Feliciano LEGAL COUNSEL Sapalo Velez Bundang & Bulilan Law Offices PRINTER FamilyMatters Is a quarterly magazine published by Don Bosco Press, Inc. (02)816-1519 (02)893-9876 Antonio Arnaiz corner Chino Roces Avenues P.O. Box 1601 MCPO, 1223 Makati City Philippines All Rights Reserved 2016 by Don Bosco Press, Inc. No part of this magazine maybe reproduced without permission from the publisher

Tell us what you think? Your news and views are welcome. E-mail us at familymatters14344@gmail.com All submissions become the propertyof FamilyMatters and will not be returned. Letters may be edited, and full names will be published unless otherwise specified by the sender.


Frameable

Things to Do in the Extraordinary

Jubilee Year of Mercy By Fr. Bernard P. Nolasco, SDB

In calling for the Jubilee Year, Pope Francis is encouraging the faithful to know the face of God’s mercy—Jesus Christ Incarnate—and to show that face of mercy to our friends and neighbors, as well as our enemies. To that end, we have prepared for you a to-do list for this Extraordinary Jubilee Year (December 8, 2015-November 20, 2016). You may choose, if not all, at least some of them to help you spend this year more meaningfully and graciously. Forgive those who have hurt you or have done you wrong.

Go to Confession regularly—if possible, every month.

Perform at least one work of mercy every day.

Go on a pilgrimage.

Read and meditate on the Sacred Scriptures, especially the Gospel of Luke. Share the Good News of God’s mercy through your words and good deeds.

Celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday in your parish, receiving Holy Communion in the state of grace in order to receive the “clean slate grace.”

Place the Divine Mercy Image in a prominent place in your home and venerate it daily.

Offer a novena of chaplets for the intentions Jesus gave St. Faustina in the nine days preceding Divine Mercy Sunday.

Pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy daily, imploring mercy “on us, and on the whole world.”

Make the Stations of the Cross regularly, especially at 3 p.m., the Hour of Great Mercy.

Read Divine Mercy in My Soul—Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska.

Fulfill the conditions for the plenary indulgences and offer those indulgences for the souls in Purgatory.

Resolve to learn more about the saints who are outstanding for receiving mercy or showing God’s mercy to those around them.

http://www.thedivinemercy.org March-May 2016 • FamilyMatters 5


6 FamilyMatters • March-May 2016


Parents’’Corner: Honoring

About My Mom

Two priceless gifts the writer appreciates having received from her late mother. By Erlinda Esguerra Upon receiving this assignment to write an article about the things we forget to say thank you to our mothers for, I did a little research about what other people said. One went, “Thank you, Mom, for making all my meals.” I couldn’t say that because cooking was not my mother’s strongest suit. We had a cook who prepared our daily meals. Another said, “Thank you, Mom, for always being there to calm me down whenever I freaked out.” I could not also say that because our family was relatively tame and not given to much drama. And I did read hundreds of the little things people were thankful to their moms for, some for something as simple as their mother helping them find a missing shirt, some as profound as for their mom being the tower of strength in times of trouble.

8 is Y! May R’S DA THE MO

March-May 2016 • FamilyMatters 7


Parents’’Corner: Honoring

If there is any ounce of compassion in me it would be only traceable to her good example. Being in my 60’s now, it was quite a challenge to jog my memory knowing that there were a million things my mother had done for me for which I never had a chance to say thank you. So I tried a different tack and asked myself what were her influences that have stayed with me up to now and formed an indelible part of my existence. As I look back, the first thing I thank her for was her spirituality. She was a praying mom, always reminding me to say my prayers before I went to sleep. She made love for God such a pleasurable experience, and portrayed God as someone who we can go to without fear. She so succeeded in instilling love for God that I remember how one Christmas, when I was still in grade school ages ago, I asked her for a gift, not for a pair of shoes or a pretty dress, but for a missal like the one we used in school. I loved those gold edges and the tiny silk ribbon you moved to

That spirituality would embed itself in my soul, and would never leave me even in the most trying times of my life.

mark the pages. That spirituality would embed itself in my soul, and would never leave me even in the most trying times of my life. Thank you, Ma. The second was her compassion for people. I beg your indulgence because it’s like claiming I’m compassionate. But if there is any ounce of compassion in me it would be only traceable to 8 FamilyMatters • March-May 2016

her good example. I have seen her always reach out to the poorest of the poor, never withholding her help. During Christmas she had the most fun planning games for the house help so she could give them prizes. Relatives would come from as far as Pangasinan whenever there was an emergency, and her door was always open to help. The problem was she wasn’t what you would call a rich woman, but at the rate she was sharing her resources, I knew she had abundance of a different kind. I think it’s because of her that I feel a tug in my heart and am moved to tears when I pass A. Bonifacio Avenue and see a family living in a cart. (This cannot be, Lord!) I think it’s because of her that I cried when I missed giving a few pesos to a homeless man because the red light had turned to green. I think it’s because of her that my husband and I bought toys for children in the hospital battling serious illnesses. And the more I grow in years the more I realize the Lord is telling me that there is so much to be done and that He will be there to do it as long as I make myself available. Love of God and love of neighbor. Two priceless gifts among so many, two of the best gifts I could ever receive, that I did not even get to say, “Thank you, Ma.” And now she’s gone. But I have a feeling our moms are not looking for those thank you’s. It’s just who they are.   There’s a Jewish proverb that goes, “God could not be everywhere so He created mothers.”

10

reasons reasons to to be be grateful grateful for for your your mom mom

1 For still loving you unconditionally even though you talked back and yelled at her.

2 For working overtime and selling tocino so you can go to private school.

3 For watching over you day and

night when you were confined for dengue.

4 For instilling in you values,

patience, compassion, and a sense of hope.

5 For giving you rules and boundaries to help protect you.

6 For admonishing you to watch out for reckless drivers and ‘riding in tandem’ thieves whenever you head out the door.

7 For always bringing home your

favorite pasalubong even when it’s not on her grocery list.

8 For putting your needs before hers. 9 For maintaining a clean, comfy home even when she works full time and there’s no house help.

10 For believing in you and

encouraging you to give your best.


Parents’’Corner: Balancing

The Gang’s

All Here!

Pulling off a summer trip with various generations of the family coming along takes some serious forward thinking. By Ruth Manimtim-Floresca Because we Filipinos are known for our special closeness

Blogger Rey Belen (foreground) and his balikbayan relatives chill together during a recent clan reunion.

to our extended family, it’s not unusual for us to organize big family gatherings during the school break, on special occasions, or when balikbayans (overseas Filipinos coming for a vacation) first land back home. One great way to celebrate the summer break, a momentous event, or a clan reunion with our extended family is by traveling together. Rey Belen, a blogger and social media consultant, says almost all of their relatives have settled abroad and when they visit his family here, they often go on a big vacation to mark the occasion. Just this past December, the clan—eight adults, three kids, and one senior citizen—decided to vacation in Boracay. “It took us months to plan the trip as we were squeezing it between two weddings and one reunion in the space of two weeks,” reveals Rey. “We considered a lot of things such as my Lola’s condition because she is recovering from a stroke and needs to be in a wheelchair most of the time. So transferring her from place to place was a challenge.” They also had to choose the ideal place to hold activities for adults and children alike. “The more people who will go on a trip, especially with young and old, as well as family members needing special care, the harder it is to plan, as many things need to be considered. Of course, budget is another consideration. So nothing beats early planning,” advises Rey. Pie Pusing, general manager of 8008 Tours and Transport Services, agrees that going on vacation with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and even one’s household staff makes for a great bonding activity.

March-May 2016 • FamilyMatters 9


Parents’’Corner: Balancing

Ideally, set a date three months in advance so you’ll have more time to plan. DRAW UP A PLAN

Here, Rey and Pie share tips on how to have a memorable time when traveling with family members consisting of different generations. 1. Set a date and advise everyone in advance. This is so those employed can file a leave of absence from work. This summer is also a good time since the kids don’t have classes. “Ideally, set a date three months in advance so you’ll have more time to plan,” suggests Pie. 2. Search and research. “If everyone is busy, consider getting a travel agent to save on time. But make sure you stay on top of things and set parameters for the trip,” recommends Rey. “With the Internet full of information, it’s easy to look for the best places to go, activities to do, and prices that the whole family can afford.” You may also delegate to your children, nieces, and nephews tasks like finding additional details as young people are very Internet-savvy. 3. Ask friends and other relatives for ideas. They may be able to suggest

itineraries of nice places they’ve already been to. 4. List down the places you want to see. “Whether it’s a trip to the beach or a combination of learning history, church visits, and adventure, always consider the interests and capacity of other family members,” reminds Pie. To prevent unpleasant surprises, Google for seasonal events, such as town fiestas and government activities, in the areas you plan to visit that may result in road rerouting. 6. Find good deals. Look for value for your money in terms of accommodations, transportation, entrance fees, activity packages, and meals. Pie recommends attending a travel bazaar or expo as there are a lot of affordable choices there. “It would be good to do this two months before your target date so you can better budget the costs and be ready for them.”

SAFETY AND SECURITY TIPS Before the day of departure, keep the following in mind: 

7. Ensure passports are updated if you’re planning to go overseas. 

Pie Pusing’s big group poses for a wacky shot while on vacation.

10 FamilyMatters • March-May 2016

Secure your home. Double-check that appliances are unplugged, and doors, windows, and gates are locked. Keep certain lights on at night. Ask a trusted neighbor or a relative to keep an eye on your house and to feed your pets if you’re leaving them behind. Set a meeting place. Instead of spending extra time picking up each other on the day of the trip, designate an area where everyone will gather. Pick an overall coordinator to keep track of everyone. Assign stopovers. Mark the stops where you can refuel, go to the bathroom, or have snacks and coffee. You might also want to prepare sandwiches, biscuits, and drinks for long road trips since stores might be difficult to find along the way. Bring extra breakfast items. Take along some cereal, milk, and bread with you as some hotels and resorts have a limited amount of food. “A pack of apples and bananas can also provide great relief for those with sensitive stomachs,” advises Pie.

The more people who will go on a trip, especially with young and old, as well as family members needing special care, the harder it is to plan.


It’s important to create a buddy system. Team up one child or an elderly with one adult who can be responsible for them. Travel Hacks:

Carry a first-aid kit. Stock this with medicines for flu, headaches, and stomach troubles as well as essentials for patching up scratches or small wounds that might be incurred during physical activity. Ensure, too, that you have alcohol, hand sanitizer, Band-Aid, ammonia, insect repellant,

Check for safety measures. Know where the fire exits and first-aid clinic are in your hotel as well as the location of the nearest hospital in case of emergency. Ensure your room has locks on the door and windows. Remind children to be extra careful when roaming around especially in dark areas where there might be

‘Earn’ from Your Trips Going on trips with your loved ones can be endless fun. But did you know that there are ways to get something back from your expenses? 

Sign up for airline loyalty memberships. Points or miles accumulated can be used to get discounted or free flights in the future. Have each family member sign up for an account because points are granted individually, and some programs allow members to pool points to get bigger discounts. Examples of these programs are Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay Miles, Cebu Pacific’s GetGo, and Air Asia’s BIG Loyalty Programme.

 Book

and sun block in hand. In addition, remind family members to bring their maintenance medicines, if any. 

Stay earth-friendly. Bring drinking water in a large container as well as individual water bottles that you can refill so you don’t spend on costly beverages while also helping preserve the environment. Prompt everyone to look for trash bins, or ask them to keep items for discard in their bags until they can find a garbage can. Keep a list of emergency numbers. Also, jot down the mobile numbers of everyone on the trip to so as not to waste time and avoid worrying when looking for each other in crowded places. It’s important also to create a buddy system with pairs being accountable for each other. Team up one child or an elderly with one adult who can be responsible for them.

deadly mosquitoes. 

Ensure that minors, persons with disabilities, and senior citizens have their ID cards. This way, they can avail of government-mandated benefits they are entitled to. ID cards are also useful for identification purposes in case someone gets lost. Document precious moments. Aside from mobile phones and cameras, don’t forget to bring extra batteries, power banks, chargers, extension cords, and monopods to make sure there’s no interruption to capturing lots of good memories.

accommodations online. Some websites like agoda.com and asiatravel.com enable you to earn additional points for future discounted or free stays or dinner when you reserve electronically.

 Check

for credit card promos. Banks often offer discounts when you use their credit cards in making hotel bookings and restaurant payments. Some credit cards even give freebies as rewards for charging certain amounts.

Apart from giving kids a good time outdoors, Pie also advises parents: “Teach your children the importance of that vacation. Going on trips is not only for relaxation, it is a great opportunity to develop leadership skills, foster social interaction, learn from one’s elders, as well as gain experiential knowledge.” March-May 2016 • FamilyMatters 11


Parents’’Corner: Preventing

Know the many health dangers of too much sugar for your children. By Ross Valentin, M.D.

Children just love sugary foods and beverages. And because sugar is present in

almost all foods and beverages, kids are consuming more than they actually need. The World Health Organization recommends that for both adults and children, the intake of free sugars must be reduced to less than 10% of total calories. The American Heart Association recommends the following: •

Preschoolers shouldn’t consume more than 170 calories, or about 4 teaspoons, of added sugar a day.

Children ages 4 to 8 should consume no more than 130 calories, or about 3 teaspoons a day.

For pre-teens and teens, the maximum amount of added sugar included in the daily diet should be 5 to 8 teaspoons only.

12 FamilyMatters • March-May 2016


Children who load up on sugar can develop stomachaches and poor appetite that prevent them from eating nutrient-rich foods, leading to obese but malnourished kids. DANGERS OF SUGAR

Sugar in excessive amounts can lead to health problems in kids. Tooth decay: Studies show a strong association between the amount and frequency of sugar intake and dental caries. Sugary foods and drinks can cause tooth decay, especially when eaten between meals. Sugar found naturally in whole fruit is less likely to cause tooth decay than juices or blends. Poor diet and malnutrition: Children who load up on sugar can develop stomachaches and poor appetite that prevent them from eating nutrient-rich foods like fruits and vegetables. This is the reason why children who gain a lot of weight or who are obese are still nutrient deficient and malnourished. Cardiovascular disease: Among adolescents and adults, consumption of added sugars is associated with an increase in cardiovascular risk. Studies show that a diet low in sugar and high in polyunsaturated fatty acids decreases the risk of developing coronary artery disease, suggesting that so-called junk foods are strongly associated with the development of coronary artery disease.

Obesity and diabetes: Too much sugar can make kids gain too much weight, putting them at greater risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol—the three major contributors to heart disease. In particular, drinking lots of sugary drinks has been linked to an increased risk for type 2 diabetes. Cold and cough: Many children who consume lots of food with added sugar complain of chronic cough, runny noses, excessive mucus, and symptoms of sinus infections. Acid reflux and croup: Because sugar is highly acidic and takes longer to digest, sugar-laden food tends to backflow to the esophagus (reflux), causing spasms of the larynx. Children then wake up during the night with a barking cough and breathing problems. Weakened immunity: When children eat too much sugar, the balance between good and bad bacteria in their body is altered, weakening their immune system.

WEANING FROM SUGAR

Making your children eat less added

sugar can be challenging. Altering what they have been used to—a high sugar diet—requires some changes in your behavior as well. Be your family’s best example. As the parent, you can start by reducing your own consumption of sugar-rich foods and drinks. This is a lot easier than forcing your kids to eat less sugary foodstuff. Educate yourself about sugar. Read up on sugars and in turn teach your children about them. Instead of banning sugar in their diet outright, make them understand why it’s bad for their health. A simple message in simple terms is often very effective. And don’t forget to offer praise when your kids choose to eat healthily. Be patient. Changing unhealthy eating behavior does not happen overnight. If you don’t see favorable results after your first few attempts, don’t be discouraged. Carry on slowly and celebrate little successes. Educating your kids repeatedly will eventually create healthy eating habits in them. Get them involved. Make your children participate in forming healthy eating habits. One way is to take your kids with you to the grocery to help you

March-May 2016 • FamilyMatters 13


Parents’’Corner: Preventing

Swap, swap, swap!

Substitute sugary foods and drinks with healthier ones. Replace this…

With this...

Sugar-coated breakfast cereal

Whole-grain breakfast cereal with no added sugar

Sprinkle of sugar on breakfast cereal

Topping of fresh or dried fruit

White breads, bagels, and muffins

Whole-grain versions

Creamy or cheesy sauces

Tomato- or vegetable-based sauces

Sugary drinks

Glass of water

Soft drink

100% fruit juice (with no added sugar) mixed with soda water

Cakes or biscuits

Currant bun, scone, or malt loaf with low-fat spread

Marmalade, honey syrup, or jam on breads and pancakes

Bananas, low-fat cream cheese, or low-fat spread

Ice cream

Plain yogurt

Tins of fruit in syrup

Tins of fruit in juice

A simple message in simple terms is often very effective. And don’t forget to offer praise when your kids choose to eat healthily. 14 FamilyMatters • March-May 2016


Allow them to choose the healthiest food when eating out. The more they own the process, the better it sticks with them. look for healthier, less sugary options. Allow them to choose the healthiest food on the menu when eating out. The more they own the process, the better it sticks with them. Have fun teaching healthy eating. Using a bit of creativity, you can either come up with a song about sugars or you can create a game that involves choosing the food with the least amount of added sugar. Children learn and adapt faster through song and play. Gradually substitute with natural sugar. Avoid taking away added sugar abruptly from your children’s meals. Instead, slowly mix food with added sugars with food with natural sugars in their meals over time. Kids will eventually get used to the taste of natural sugars. Give non-food rewards. Instead of food, reward your kids with learning materials or enjoyable experiences such as playing board games, going to the museum or the beach, doing puzzles, or making handicrafts together. Make the right buying choices. Healthy diet begins at the grocery. When going through the shelves, choose fruits, whole grains, plain

yogurt, and vegetables over canned foods, processed foods, powdered juices, candies, power drinks, sweet cereals, and flavored oatmeal and yogurt. Look for sugar-free options as well. Serve healthier thirst quenchers. Make water the drink at home. Offer low-fat, sugar-free milk and whole fruit (100 percent) juices as well. When serving fruit juice, accompany it with sandwiches made of meats or poultry on whole-grain bread. The protein in the meat and the fiber in the whole grain will help maintain steady blood sugar levels. Avoid giving powdered and concentrate fruit juices, soft drinks, and energy drinks, as all of these are high in added sugar. Less is more. Lessen the portion of your kids’ sugar-rich food and beverage and you can expect more healthy children at home. When preparing food, try halving the sugar you use in your recipes. Remove white sugar from your dining table. If your kids are used to adding sugar to their hot drinks and breakfast cereals, gradually reduce the amount of sugar you put until they can cut it out altogether. 

Always read the label

When buying food, make it a habit to read the nutritional facts on the label and the ingredients list. Never base your choice on just the color, amount, or appearance of the food or the beverage. Sugar can hide in unsuspecting foods like pasta sauce, prepackaged oatmeal, salad dressing, processed foods, and cereal. Nutrition labels tell you the amount of sugar a food item contains. Compare labels and choose the brands that are lower in sugar. If the carbohydrate (sugars) figure is over 22.5 grams of total sugar per 100 grams, it is considered high. Carbohydrate content that is 5 grams or less per 100 grams is low. And since “carbohydrates” on food labels also include starchy carbohydrates, it is important to check the ingredients list because it will tell you if the food contains added sugars.

March-May 2016 • FamilyMatters 15


Parents’’Corner: Bonding

Parent:

Time to Talk Find out how family meetings can bring positive vibes to your home. By Stephanie Mayo

Before you scoff at family meetings as “boring,”

“corny,” or even “a waste of time,” know that, on the contrary, holding them regularly can produce long-term benefits. The family meeting is, in fact, the most positive and easiest—not to mention the most fun—parenting tool you can use to create a happier and healthier family environment, minimize conflicts, and even prevent teenage rebellion and miscommunication.

16 FamilyMatters • March-May 2016

“Holding a Weekly Family Meeting will be one of the highest return investments you will ever make,” says Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., in his emotional fitness column in Psychology Today. “I believe that parents have two jobs, 1) to teach their children how to love and 2) to teach them how to live without their parents. The Family Meeting will help you accomplish both of these goals.”


Holding a Weekly Family Meeting will be one of the highest return investments you will ever make. PLANNING YOUR FIRST

Before holding your first family meeting, you have to know how not to organize it. Family meetings should not be set up in a formal, authoritarian environment where you dominate by preaching or by laying down unbreakable rules. This will only cause resentment or even rebellion among family members. Instead, make family meetings democratic (everyone has the right to speak), casual, fun, engaging yet highly productive. Family meetings should preferably be held once a week, whether in the house (choose a cozy place like a couch or the kitchen table and provide snacks) or outside the home, like at the park or a favorite restaurant. Before you call for your first meeting, however, your kids should know exactly what will happen, and they should be made excited—or at least curious enough—to attend the first one. Here’s how to go about it. STEP 1: Post an invitation to the family in the most prominent area of the house—on the fridge or a whiteboard. Or post it on a Facebook group page for the family’s viewing (set the privacy settings to “secret” as this is your private family online forum.) Make sure you list down the components of the meeting in your invitation. Make your language plain, hip, or casual for easy understanding. State open questions, like those concerning the schedule, venue, and proposed fun activity. STEP 2: Dinnertime—when the family is complete and everyone has likely read your invitation—is the best time to explain each part of the meeting. Then come to an agreement on a consistent schedule for holding these gatherings,

FIRST WEEKLY FAMIL Y MEETING! Date:____

___Time:______ ___ Venue: ________ _ 1. Agenda 2. Brainstorming fo r solutions 3. Christian value fo r the 4. Family fun activity week : Popcorn night? Ice cream night? Mov ie night?

like Tuesdays every 8 p.m., or Sundays at 5 p.m. and on a time limit, like 30 minutes maximum especially if there are young children involved.

 End with a fun activity: Board game,

The Meeting Components Here are the key parts of a family meeting.  Agenda: Problems you want to raise, like the mess on the living room floor, or Daddy singing karaoke too loud that daughter can’t concentrate on her homework.

STEP 3: A week before the meeting, post an “agenda list” in a prominent location in the house or on your Facebook group page where participants can write down what they would like to discuss, along with their names to make it official: “TV in the living room too loud at night. – Chito” or “Leaving lights on. – Mom.”

 Brainstorming: On solutions to

problems raised in the agenda, or on coming up with a calendar of activities for future family events, vacations, or outings.

Christian or moral value for the week: Should be expressed more as a reminder and not an admonition. Here’s a great list for your reference, with one item to be discussed at each meeting: silvamethodlife.com/moralvalues-list.

movie marathon, eating favorite family dessert, walk in the park, trip to the mall, etc.

Ground Rules Setting down meeting guidelines and codes of conduct should be geared toward ensuring the meeting is an effective, productive, and engaging experience.  Establish a chairperson and a secretary. “The chairperson’s job is to see that each agenda item is addressed in order, to ensure that no one interrupts

Make family meetings democratic, casual, fun, engaging yet highly productive. March-May 2016 • FamilyMatters 17


Parents’’Corner: Bonding the person speaking, and to keep the discussion on the topic at hand. The secretary writes down the decisions reached,” said Aletha Solter, Ph.D., in “Family Meetings for Conflict Resolution” (Mothering Magazine).  Dad, as the household head, should be

the chairperson for the first meeting, and he can assign the responsibility to the next capable member for the next meeting, like to mom, and then to teenage daughter, and so forth.

 It should be clear to everyone that

parents have the final word when it comes to difficult decisions.

 Kids as young as 4 years old can

already be included in the meeting so they can fall into the weekly habit. If you see that they don’t participate or listen, don’t reprimand as they don’t have enough skills to fully concentrate and engage in discussions. What you

POTENTIAL GAINS

“One advantage of family meetings is that they eliminate the need for nagging,” said Aletha Solter, Ph.D., a developmental psychologist and founder of the Aware Parenting Institute, in the same article mentioned above. “If a solution is not followed during the week, the person who notices this can simply write the item on the agenda again. At the next meeting, the family can discuss the consequences of not following the agreed-upon rules until a consensus is reached on that.” She cites some of the short- to medium-term perks provided by family meetings: “Appreciations help to enhance self-esteem and contribute to family cohesiveness. Fights and arguments between siblings generally decrease, and you will find that you

Each member should be allowed to express his or her views without criticism, mockery, or interruption. can do is ask them to tell you about their day so they can feel more like participants and less as spectators.  Before proceeding with the agenda,

ask each member to mention the positive events and the good efforts made by family members during the week. This will enhance everyone’s confidence and self-esteem.

 Parents should be careful not to

dominate the conversation. Each member should be allowed to express his or her views without criticism, mockery, or interruption.

 Before the meeting ends, open the

floor to anyone who wishes to discuss how the meeting went, and what might be done to make the next one better.

 Make your weekly meetings a

priority. Frequent postponements or cancelations will take away the importance and value of the meeting.

18 FamilyMatters • March-May 2016

can abandon all forms of punishments, rewards, and nagging,” she added. Solter also identifies the longterm beneficial effects. “Parents who raise their children with a democratic approach to discipline and attention to children’s feelings and needs usually find that their children do not need to rebel during adolescence. The parent/ child relationship remains one of mutual respect, with each person willing to honor the other’s needs.” Finally, as a great parenting tool and an effective platform for cultivating a democratic system, family meetings teach children valuable lessons, such as effective communication, mediation, and conflict-resolution skills—abilities they can use for a lifetime. 

More Reasons to Meet According to christianmommies.com, family meetings can accompish the following: 1. Strengthen connections among individuals to create a closer family. 2. Create family value statements and operating principles.

3. Enable members to share appreciations and give thanks for many blessings. 4. Improve family communication. 5. Provide leadership experience, since everyone gets a turn at leading meetings. 6. Update everyone regarding upcoming commitments, activities, and events. 7. Give an avenue to celebrate each other’s successes. 8. Establish a safe, respectful environment for solving problems.


Parents’’Corner: Parenting

Brainy but Lazy? What to do when your child has brains but refuses to develop his potentials. By Aileen Carreon

Is your supposedly smart child performing poorly in school? Are his grades declining? Is he showing

disinterest in his studies and manifesting a lack of motivation? Academic underachievement can be perplexing to parents, especially when they know their child is in fact smart. He scored high in national achievement tests, and even used to ace his exams ang get really good grades in school. So why is he not performing to his full potential? More importantly, what can you do to help? According to psychologist Naira S. Orbeta, tweens and teens today are presented with so many competing environmental stimuli that it has become a struggle to get them interested in plain old-fashioned academics. These distractions include electronic gadgets that promise many

fun and exciting possibilities for young people to explore and enjoy. Underachievers choose to immerse themselves in nonacademic activities like spending most of their time playing video games or reading their favorite novels. They “escape” to their own choices of learning. They may feel too lazy to do their homework or review their lessons for the day, but they sure have plenty of energy when it comes to non-schoolrelated stuff. To help a son or daughter who is underachieving, Orbeta underscores the need to, first and foremost, cultivate a good and open relationship with your kids. “Thinking that kids of today are not motivated is wrong,” she says. “They are motivated but not by the same things that parents think they should be motivated by. We are basically March-May 2016 • FamilyMatters 19


Parents’’Corner: Parenting

If your kid comes to you in all honesty and says I am not doing well in school and I hate it, acknowledge the honesty. Don’t get mad. looking at them through our own eyes and perceptions. We attempt to attribute our own motivations to them. This will never work.” As parents, you also have to look within yourselves and understand your own values and priorities. “If your kid comes to you in all honesty and says I am not doing well in school and I hate it, acknowledge the honesty. Don’t get mad at what he or she is expressing. Don’t get back at him and say ‘because you are so lazy,” adds Orbeta. Rather, find out why your child feels this way. If you react negatively, he might start to hide things from you or lie outright because that was the message he received, advises Orbeta.

some of the end-of-term week projects centered on the video game.

FOR YOUR TEEN If your child is an adolescent, Orbeta suggests doing the following:

• Since teenagers are beginning

75

to form their identity, the worst thing you can do is to simply dictate rules. It becomes even more imperative now to include them in the rule-making process or they will simply rebel. Both you and your adolescent have to come to an agreement about the rules.

• Take an interest in their lives. Allow

• Discuss guidelines. Don’t dictate,

but ask your child what he thinks is acceptable. This is like a negotiation: You give in to some things, but not to all. Agree on the rules, write them down, and post them to serve as a constant reminder.

• Ask your child what his real

interests are and show enthusiasm for them. If possible, make his interests part of his school work. As an example, my nephew’s school noticed that many of its students were into Minecraft and so made

their friends to come over. Many parents think that teens coming together spells trouble, but it is better that they do so under your watchful eye than in some unsafe place.

WHAT WON’T HELP

What you should not do is turn up the heat on your child. Understand his situation and try to figure out what can be done. Getting angry, screaming, giving out too severe punishments, and nagging are never helpful. Also, don’t start comparing your child with a sibling who is doing well in school or your neighbor’s kid who

FOR YOUR YOUNGER CHILD If your child is a gradeschooler, Orbeta offers these specific ways to help.

• Talk to the teachers so that you are

all on the same page. It is hard to do one thing at home and another thing in school.

• Identify a time and place to study.

Don’t be a “tiger” parent who makes your kid study several hours at a time. And if the school sets work that is unreasonably hard, it is a good idea to become involved in the parents’ association and voice your sentiments.

20 FamilyMatters • March-May 2016

Since teenagers are beginning to form their identity, the worst thing you can do is to simply dictate rules.


The main point is for your children to realize that school is a worthwhile endeavor, that almost everything one does in the future can be related to school in some way. happens to be in the same school and is earning accolades. And, certainly, don’t compare your child’s performance to your own. If your child is by nature confrontational and rebellious, stay calm yourself. Gently point out how underachieving is self-defeating and hurting no one other than himself. The main point, according to Orbeta, is for your children to realize that school is a worthwhile endeavor. Make them understand that almost everything one does in the future can be related to school in some way. “Ask them what they dream of becoming,” she adds. “If they say they want to be in a band, then say they would have to study and take music seriously. If they want to become a gamer, say that to create games one needs math to do programming. If they want to play college basketball, tell them that to do so they would still have to pass the academics.” “So work on their internal motivations, while working on the behavior that is unacceptable based on what you previously agreed on. Let them know that they have to honor the agreements they made. If they wish to modify the agreements, tell them to explain why and be open-minded. If it is fair, then do so. But be consistent and enforce the agreements mutually agreed on,” adds Orbeta. Finally, love your kids in spite of their grades. “Don’t tie your unconditional support to what you view as academic success or failure,” adds Orbeta. Show and tell your child how much you love him and never give up on your child. 

More ways to motivate your child 1.

Teach life balance. It’s not about excelling in academics all the time. Rather than focusing solely on your child’s grades, help him achieve greater balance between school, friendships, volunteer work, family life, and other activities. This will add depth to his intellectual and emotional development. 2. Support your child’s learning style. Find out if he learns best by listening, seeing, or doing. Your child will more likely want to learn if he uses the learning style that feels most natural and effective for him.

3.

Encourage rather than praise. Encouragement leads the child to form his own positive assessment of himself, while praising leads him to rely on your assessment of his accomplishments. An example of encouragement might be: “Wow! I can see you spent a lot of time on this paper. It must feel good to see the result of your hard work.” Praise, on the other hand, might come out this way: “Wow! You got a high score on your test. You make me so proud!” fun. Don’t turn studying into a 4. Show that learning is fun chore. Demonstrate that learning can be exciting and can happen anywhere. Take your child to parks, museums, theaters, or even just for walks around the neighborhood, and pique his imagination and curiosity by asking questions or providing interesting information.

5.

Encourage resilience. Imbuing children with resilience can help them bounce back from mistakes or difficulties in school and motivate them to keep going when others would give up. Raise resilient children by offering tons of love, support, and empathy in both good and bad times. March-May 2016 • FamilyMatters 21


The Family and the State

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Ch ris O to tia ur VO n D TE uty How parents can become responsible and wise voters—and in�luence their children to become the same. By Rolando C. delos Reyes II, MA Ed, RGC

22 FamilyMatters • March-May 2016


Responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation.” Pope Francis, in this statement made in his encyclical Evangelii Gaudium, is expressing our Catholic social teaching of the importance of practicing good citizenship in our Christian life.

Concepts of manhood, womanhood, relationships, and authority—which are vital in formulating their socio-political and cultural beliefs—take root from children’s experiences within their own families.

Election fever is high again in our country. Amidst the flood of paid advertisements on TV and radio, and the proliferation of propaganda and mudslinging among politicians, how do we respond as responsible citizens? And as parents, how can we influence our children to vote wisely, whether in this coming election (if they are already of voting age) or in the future?

FAMILY FIRST!

The family is the basic unit of society, and the centerpiece of the Domestic Church. Children are very impressive, and the principles they see in their family life stick with them the most. Concepts of manhood, womanhood, relationships, and authority—which are vital in formulating their socio-political and cultural beliefs—take root from children’s experiences within their own families. The roles of fathers and mothers in the family—who works and who stays at home, who makes demands and who does the household chores, who is followed and who is ignored, who makes the crucial decisions for each person or for all—are important aspects of the politics of the home. The relationship between husband and wife, and between parent and child, demonstrates who is in authority, who is heard and cared for, and who is left behind. Family situations where conferences are held and consensus is arrived at or where only those in authority are the ones deciding for the whole paint governing

styles that may be attractive or repulsive to the children. Since the family is the microcosm of society, whatever the child sees in the family tends to be applied and magnified in the larger picture of the municipality, province, or country. Thus, when a child says, “Ganito kami sa pamilya ko,” he or she is demonstrating the values and belief system at home. So the question is: What are teaching them?

KNOW WHAT YOU WANT

In the 2010 presidential elections, the network organization Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan led by executive director Scholastic Joseph Raymond Patrick Sanchez, SJ, released on Pinoy Voters’ Academy a trainer’s manual in which they presented the LASER test they adapted from Dilaab Foundation Inc. Let us see some of the pointers and questions they raised in the manual on March-May 2016 • FamilyMatters 23


The Family and the State how to discern the candidates we should vote for during elections:

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IFESTYLE: How does the candidate conduct himself or herself? Are these actions deemed fit for public office? Does he or she spend beyond his or her means? If an old-time politician, how has the person’s lifestyle changed after holding office? How “simple” are these aspirants’ lives?

A

CTION: Did the candidate previously serve as a public official? If so, what were his basic platform, thrusts, and projects? How would you assess the performance? Was he or she ever charged with or convicted of graft and corruption? Did the person utilize the position and power for private personal gains? Did he or she walk the talk?

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millions of Filipinos? One must also look at the candidate’s personal convictions on relevant issues—as professed Catholics, it is our moral obligation not to vote for anyone who is for abortion, contraception, same-sex marriage, divorce, euthanasia, and other legislative measures which the Pope rightly calls part of the “ideological colonization.” This coming elections, we must vote pro-life and pro-family.

RIGHT INFORMATION, RIGHT DECISIONS

As election day approaches, expect more dialogues, forums, and debates

S

UPPORTERS: Who are the people or groups supporting the aspirant’s candidacy? Do these supporters possess a good reputation and act wisely? Who gives the candidate the campaign machinery?

E

LECTION CONDUCT: Does the candidate use “guns, goons, and gold” to gain an advantage over competitors or to win at the polls? Does the candidate have a clear, relevant and moral platform that is expressed in concrete programs?

R

EPUTATION: Does the candidate possess the necessary or minimum level of intellectual and emotional faculties to discharge his or her functions effectively and efficiently? How does the person show he values his or her own family? How does the candidate give importance to the family, the youth, the poor, the vulnerable?

These are guidelines that one can follow in creating a profile of a good candidate for any position in government. We may sum up the best candidate’s qualities in one word: integrity. Integrity means a candidate is consistent in all his or her thoughts, words, and actions. One must look at how this candidate manages his or her personal and family life, because if he or she cannot manage this, how can that person manage the lives of 24 FamilyMatters • March-May 2016

by different candidates vying for the different positions in government. Traditional and social media will capture and cascade these activities, creating more confusion for people wanting to see the truth versus the lies being thrown at the public square. That is why it is important to establish the character of a good candidate, and draw insights based on the guidelines above to arrive at moral decisions on whom to vote. Listen to the voice of our shepherds in the Church. Conduct small group discussions within the family and observe the discerning process of each member. Determine whether a media establishment is biased for or against certain candidates, because even marketing has a political side. At the end of the day, the candidates we choose should not be based on “winability,” popularity, or even just the lesser evil. That is not God’s will.

We need new blood in our political system— government workers and officials who will not succumb to the system of corruption and the culture of indifference to the plight of our most vulnerable countrymen.


We may sum up the best candidate’s qualities in one word: integrity. RIGHT OF SUFFRAGE

In 2013 elections, the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) released a letter containing the Ten Commandments for Responsible Voting. Let us see how we can practice these guidelines, and educate others to practice it too. 1. Vote according to the dictates of your conscience. 2.

Respect the decision of others in choosing their candidates.

3.

Seek to know the moral integrity, capabilities, and other personal qualities of the candidates you will vote for.

4.

Strive to understand the issues, platform, and programs of candidates and parties campaigning for your vote.

6.

Do not sell your vote.

7.

Do not vote for candidates using guns, goons, gold, and glitter.

8.

Do not vote for candidates tainted with graft and corruption.

9.

Do not vote for candidates simply because of utang na loob, popularity, good looks, or pakikisama.

10. Do not vote for candidates living an immoral life. 11. Always put the welfare of the country as top priority in choosing the candidate you will vote for. Our youth today, influenced by social media, are growing more skeptical about politics and culture. Let us stir the flames of their ideologies, of their desire to change the world by convincing them to diligently practice the right to vote. Let us fan the hope in them that despite the seemingly bleak future of our political landscape, our votes count. Let them be volunteers of PPCRV (and be volunteers yourselves), and experience the tedious task of protecting this right.

PUSHING THE ENVELOPE FURTHER

We need new blood in our political system—government workers and officials who will not succumb to the system of corruption and the culture of indifference to the plight of our most vulnerable countrymen. We must all work together to eradicate political dynasties and traditional politicians who are sucking the life out of our beloved nation. A challenge goes to each good Catholic man and woman out there whom God may be calling to public service. If we want to overturn the current political system in the Philippines, we must serve to the best of our abilities. First, serve God above all, and seek to continuously align your daily choices in life to the will of the Father. Second, serve your families—strive to fulfill the role that God designed for you—whether as a spouse, a parent, a brother/sister, a beloved child. Third, serve the community where you live— through the parish, the neighborhood association, and other organizations that you discern can most benefit from your talents and skills. And then, discern whether God calls you to serve our fellowmen through government office. Our history as a people paints a very dark picture of public service—it is replete with stories of Filipinos who were willing to compromise their principles and collude with foreign powers for personal gain, of Filipinos who became traitors to the nation’s cause, of those who instigated civil conflicts resulting in Filipinos killing one another or making others’ lives miserable, and of Filipinos who just lived to complain about the government. Yet we must not despair, but remain hopeful because of our strong faith. A new movement of Catholics must arise—led by those who are and will be in public office, and everyone else

The candidates we choose should not be based on “winability,” popularity, or even just the lesser evil. who has a deep conviction to change our nation. We must work together to ensure that God’s will is fulfilled in our country—healing our deepest wounds as a people, and delivering the common good through dignified work, education, and healthcare for all according to the teachings of the Church. Let us continue to offer prayers for the upcoming elections. Let us continue to gather our family to educate them about our moral obligation to participate in Philippine politics. Let us implore the intercession of St. Thomas More, patron of public servants, that we may truly serve our country by becoming good citizens practicing our Catholic faith. “Politics, though often denigrated, remains a lofty vocation and one of the highest forms of charity, inasmuch as it seeks the common good.” – Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium 205. March-May 2016 • FamilyMatters 25


The Family and the State

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Learning by Example

A child forms social values not from hearing lectures but from seeing his family and community live and act with morals and principles. By Fr. Vitaliano “Chito” Dimaranan, SDB, MTL, CAS, PhD Head, Social Action Group (Salesians of Don Bosco-North Province)

26 FamilyMatters • March-May 2016


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ertain PEPs in our lives do not usually go away quietly from the scene. Let me explain: People (P), Events (E), and certain Places (P) have a way of sticking like glue to our storehouse of memories, whether on the conscious or the subconscious level. To put it simply, we all remember stuff… for better or for worse.

I remember my Dad as being a generous man. I also remember, with some embarrassment, getting rather piqued by his seemingly misplaced generosity. He would readily give away redundant stuff at home. And even though by all standards, his means were very modest, he would readily part with things he probably thought we had one too many: an extra water pump, another hammer, a rusting saw, extra food, etc. The utility man or the factotum in the neighborhood, on whom he relied for small repair tasks around the house, would always go home with more than the remuneration he expected. And I, the stingy kid, would always feel like “there goes our new hand tool!” Not that my maternal grandmother was any different! She was always as busy as a bee. She had a loom on where she wove mosquito nets. She tended a small farm with sweet corn, cassava, succulent tomatoes, and fresh okra— all planted in the backyard and any available plot of land we had back in the province. Of course, we could not eat them all. So frequently, she would make the rounds of her children’s and grandchildren’s homes to give away the produce that somehow always tasted better than what one bought in the market. Just days before the town fiesta, all her three grown children (my mother was the youngest) would find huge chunks of meat from the pigs that

unbeknownst to us all, she had others raise, ready for slaughter before the fiesta. My grandmother gave away more than fresh produce and her uncontested specialty—native “puto” and a type of “kakanin” known only to us Mendezenos (Mendez, Cavite)— “hinalo” which was a type of sticky rice cake akin to “biko.” She also dispensed counsel, for she was a much soughtafter town counselor for problems that ranged from heart to hearth. I resented my father’s “misplaced” generosity. And I wondered how my grandmother could cope with all the responsibility of a growing extended family that she had to fend for even in her waning years.

where he came from. Neither would he tell us the details about certain things that, when asked about them, caused beads of sweat to drip down his forehead. But he was a good man and a hard worker. He took care of me and tilled my father’s little farm in exchange for a place to sleep in and food to keep body and soul together. My parents knew next to nothing about him, but they welcomed him with no questions asked.

MEMORIES FROM THE FAMILY

But as a grown adult for the longest time now, with both my father and grandmother gone, those PEPs, I realize, have rubbed off on me. I learned what it means to give, to share, to feel as one with others who may have less than what I have. I don’t write about this to boast, or to “get a rise” from anyone, but merely to illustrate something that I— as an educator, as a teacher of Social Theology, and as a priest—would consider as most important. Even as a young priest in the formation house for many years, I always wanted to share enjoyable things with others. I enjoyed trekking and mountain climbing early on, so I taught the seminarians to enjoy the same—to the point of spending huge amounts on gear and trekking stuff. I enjoyed certain concerts, for I liked music. So I tried to also allow those similarly interested to experience attending concerts, yes, including those on pop music. I have always been a firm believer in the truism that joy shared is always joy increased. I remember growing up as a very young boy with a “yaya” and a “yayo.” Kakang Gorio came to town one fine day from a far place he could not remember. He was a refugee and a vagabond. His stories were very sketchy, but it appeared that he was part of the Bataan Death March and suffered from what I now know as “post-traumatic stress disorder.” He did not remember

I have always been a firm believer in the truism that joy shared is always joy increased. Two years ago when Typhoon Haiyan ravaged central Philippines was a watershed moment for all the lessons of my childhood. Using only social media as my base, I was able to raise several millions in cash and several more in kind to help people in Eastern Samar. Don’t take my word for it… The whole thing is documented by several Facebook groups and pages, including the page of the Mary Help of Christians National Shrine. No, this is not about me. This is about the fact that social responsibility and a social conscience are things best learned in the context of family, not late in March-May 2016 • FamilyMatters 27


The Family and the State

finishing school. The family is, or ought to be, the figurative cradle of the mercy and compassion that Pope Francis keeps on talking about.

LEARNING FROM OTHERS

Let me now talk about how others also taught me the value of selflessness and social responsibility. Back in the days when the seminary was always short on everything imaginable—food, cleaning tools and materials, vehicles, even decent plates, saucers, pots and pans (I thought the seminarians were always in perpetual boot camp for the sheer lack of so many daily essentials!)—I started an endless round of fund raisings, including raffles and ballroom dancing events (Dancetime with Fr. Chito!). I remember Jan Jill, whose mother was an avid donor to all my causes. When she was turning 18 and planning her debut, Jan Jill did the unthinkable. She told her mother to give the money set aside for her debut to me. I remember the daughter of another woman who frequented our seminary Masses. She, too, was turning 18. Like Jan Jill, she also did the unbelievable and decided to give her funds to my cause—the seminarians’ welfare! Both daughters acted not out of impulse. Both thought well and deep about how best to really fulfill their own version of “joy shared is joy increased” belief system. Both happened to learn from their families. Indeed, a fruit doesn’t fall too far from the tree.

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Social responsibility and a social conscience are things best learned in the context of family, not late in finishing school. The family is, or ought to be, the figurative cradle of the mercy and compassion that Pope Francis keeps on talking about.

I firmly believe that the growth to social consciousness and social conscience hardly comes from sound bytes. It comes, unmistakably so, from seeing how others, adults and loved ones, do it and live it. The ancient Latins could not have said it better. Verba movent; exempla trahunt. (Words might move people, but it is examples that ultimately draw them to do similarly.) Let us do as God did—who is

merciful and kind, whose faithfulness knows no bounds. Let us do as Pope Francis does. He does it much more than He talks about it. And interestingly, the parents of Pope Francis were close to the Salesians in Argentina for one simple reason (among many others assuredly!): They experienced exactly the same compassion from the Salesians when they were just starting up and struggling migrants in the new world. May God bless us all in His mercy! 

The ancient Latins could not have said it better. Verba movent; exempla trahunt. (Words might move people, but it is examples that ultimately draw them to do similarly.) 28 FamilyMatters • March-May 2016


Spec

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The Family and the State

Raising Politically

Aware Citizens

What is the most effective way of introducing our youngsters to the abstract concepts of the rule of law and democratic governance? By Annabellie Gruenberg

March-May 2016 • FamilyMatters 29


The Family and the State

T

eaching children about laws and politics starts in early childhood. It is not about reading or watching the news with them so they will know what’s going on in society or about imposing rigid house rules. It is guiding them through the daily rhythm of activities at home, from sunup till sundown.

This was how our elders had raised their children in farms, fishing villages, and communities. There was a fixed time to wake up, have meals, do chores, play, bathe, and sleep, in tandem with the regularity of the movements of nature. In this way, children developed an understanding of natural laws without the need for coercion. Remember how our elders taught us to be respectful with our use of language? To use “po” and “opo”? To not eat at someone else’s house unless invited? To go home when the sun starts to set? And remember the fairytales, the fables, and the stories from holy books that gave us lessons in life and told of consequences for wrongdoings? Looking at all these activities, we see how laws were indirectly introduced to us as children at the level we could comprehend. Politics is also about relationships— how humans interact and relate with each other. For young children, this is again taught through daily interaction

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with family and relatives. Later on, as children step out of their homes, they establish relationships with their neighbors, playmates, and the whole community. When children start going to school, they now must interact with a new set of people in a new environment having its own rules and relationship dynamics. There will be places where they will be allowed to go and places where they can’t, structures where they can study, areas for holding other activities, and so on. These are like the boundaries and laws set down at home, but on a larger scale. In most traditional schools, children are given new rules to observe and follow, with corresponding punishments for transgressions.

LAW AND ORDER

Punishments are the old way. There are newer, more progressive, and alternative methods of dealing with disobedience that may be more effective, like establishing consequences. The difference is that punishment is imposed and subjective, while consequence is more about cause and effect. The latter method gives children the chance to understand why there are rules and what happens if they don’t follow. This reminds me of the time when the pioneer class of a progressive school where I was the administrator initiated a dialogue with me on why, after seven years without one, they were suddenly being given a student handbook and being asked to sign the “contract” at the back. The class, whose curriculum was designed to develop students who are free thinkers, wanted to understand this new policy. Coincidentally, at that time, a line of ants was crawling on the wall, and without saying anything, I disturbed

Looking at all these activities, we see how laws were indirectly introduced to us as children at the level we could comprehend. the line, scattering the ants. I told the students to observe what happened, then to imagine a street without traffic lights, signs, or policemen. From this example, they realized the importance of rules, policies, and laws, and the possible consequences if there are none. A year later, I had to take over the class, and one of our lessons was about Roman history and culture. We talked about the beginnings of a formal, structured government system, and then the students did

The difference is that punishment is imposed and subjective, while consequence is more about cause and effect. 30 FamilyMatters • March-May 2016


collaborative work on making class rules and regulations and brainstorming on the consequences. It was a democratic process that was appreciated by the students. They understood the need to implement laws, obey them, and dole out consequences to ensure order and harmony. As children grow older and develop a greater understanding of simple laws, parents and teachers may now introduce “The Rights of the Child” to them. It is important that children realize that the bigger society has laws to protect them. They have to know that their well-being and safety are important, that they are entitled to be heard, and that their status as children (and members of the society) is recognized. Knowing their civil rights gives them dignity and guidance as they grow up. How children are treated will be how they will treat humanity and the world when they grow up. If children are heard, recognized, and valued, this is what they will give back to the world. 

It is important that children realize that the bigger society has laws to protect them.

DEMOCRATIC PARENTING A home where there is freedom and equality produces children who grow up into adults who are capable of using their free will. How do we shift from authoritative parenting to a libertarian or democratic way of raising the next generation so they become more conscious, innovative, and active members of society? Here are some beginning steps. 1. Respect your child’s individuality and uniqueness. Each child is different, with his own thoughts and perception. 2. Let each one’s voice be heard. When you listen to a child, the child also learns to listen. 3. Teach children to observe and seek the true, the good, and the beautiful in this world, aside from what is shown in media. Train their eyes to see the essential. 4. Make sure equality and respect reign in your household. Have family or individual conversations especially when there are issues to be processed. Children will learn about proactive conversation when they personally see it. 5. Encourage and guide children on how to make choices. This is the best way to let them know there are good and bad consequences to the choices they make. 6. Exercising free will and freedom goes hand in hand with having more responsibilities. Show children that they cannot just do whatever they want and must be held accountable for their actions. 7. When rules are agreed on, it is important that everyone diligently follows, especially the adults whom children look up to as role models. 8. Adults in the family must take part in worthwhile community or socio-civic activities. Their active participation will encourage children to participate as well. Encourage them to join in school activities. 9. Help children realize that there is a right time for everything. This gives them a sense of appropriateness and teaches them to think first before rushing into anything. 10. Find time to listen to a child’s inquiry especially about something heard from media. Show interest in their opinions about current events. Hear out and process any complaints about certain activities. 11. Engage teens whenever you conduct a friendly dialogue with adults on social and political issues.

These are just a few of what you can do to ensure that a more democratic dynamic happens at home. If we adults see this whole exercise as an opportunity to learn with our children and if we continue working on raising freethinking, responsible children who understand the law and are active in politics, maybe the improvement we want to see in our society and the world is possible.

March-May 2016 • FamilyMatters 31


The Family and the State

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Changing the Culture of CORRUPTION Behind every strong society are families that understand their moral role in raising upright leaders and responsible citizens of tomorrow.

E

By Anna Cosio

lections are just around the corner yet I still can’t make up my mind who to vote for. Once again, we are faced with the choice of “lesser evils.” Aside from an alleged 32 FamilyMatters • March-May 2016

thief, we also have a self-admitted murderer and adulterer, and supporters of contraception, divorce, and same-sex “marriage.” The sad part is that each time the elections come up, people eagerly


campaign for and justify their choice of the lesser evil, instead of raising their standards and seeking leaders both competent and morally upright. It is as though there is such a scarcity of good people that we always have to settle for less. This reality is a bit perplexing in a country with a population of 100 million and where family values supposedly abound. How have we come to this? What have we Filipinos been doing that we seem to have perpetuated a culture of corruption? [1] [2] While it may appear that politicians and dirty politics are mainly to blame for this culture of corruption, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that the same corruption can be found in our own offices, schools, communities, and even churches. It simply comes in different forms, such as graft, bribery, backdoor deals, embezzlement, nepotism, and patronage. It is also done on various scales, from the national level to the municipal level, and down to the barangay level. Nevertheless, whether corruption is on a national level or happening in our own barangays, corruption is always personal, because all corrupt wheeling and dealing only considers the good of oneself, or one’s own family. To me, the kind of leaders that we have now just reflects what we are as a society and the kind of culture and values we espouse. Our society, in turn, is what it is now largely because of what our families—the basic building block of the community and thus of society as a whole—have become.

The family is the first training ground of children who will later become either responsible citizens or dregs of society.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “The family is the original cell of social life. It is the natural society in which husband and wife are called to give themselves in love and in the gift of life. Authority, stability, and a life of relationships within the family constitute the foundations for freedom, security, and fraternity within society. The family is the community in which, from childhood, one can learn moral values, begin to honor God, and make good use of freedom. Family life is an initiation into life in society.” (CCC #2207).

TRAINING GROUND

The family is the first training ground of children who will later become either responsible citizens or dregs of society. It sounds like a critical job for parents because it really is. There is no doubt that the youth is the hope of the nation, as Dr. Jose Rizal said, but I think a nation’s future also depends heavily on how parents raise their children. It is the parents who first teach their children what is right and what is wrong. It is the parents who pass their values on to their children by word and example. Ideally, children learn from their parents how

With the parents taking the lead, it is in the family where children learn how to work for the common good. March-May 2016 • FamilyMatters 33


The Family and the State

to love, forgive, and serve. They also see from their parents’ example that love often involves sacrifice and self-denial. With parents taking the lead, it is in the family where children learn how to work for the common good. It is where they learn that the world does not revolve around one person or one person’s needs. It is where they learn about freedom and its limits, that rights come with responsibilities and that they have to face the consequences of their actions, whether good or bad. The family is where children first learn to live in harmony with others. These are some of the good things children can learn from their parents. Of course, there are also negative attitudes and behaviors that parents may be passing on to their children, whether knowingly or not. For instance, children may learn that bribery is acceptable because they saw their parents a few times paying a traffic enforcer to get their way out of a ticket. They may also learn from their parents that they could use their authority or position to bully others or circumvent the law. They may learn from their parents that instead of gracefully accepting defeat, they could deliver a speech destroying the reputation of their competitor and of the institution which they perceived to have unfairly given out the awards. They may learn from their parents that cursing at people is normal and even fun, that it is all right to resort to violence instead of settling matters peacefully, and so on. Imagine if children grew up thinking these practices were acceptable. They would eventually

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become adults and leaders in their own fields. Many of them would become parents and pass on to their children their ideals, both good and bad, and so the cycle continues and a culture is created and sustained.

ENTERTAINMENT AND EDUCATION

This is not to say that parents are the only ones responsible for the broken society we live in. There is also the

media, which is used by those who have power and money as a tool to brainwash the masses. Apparently, what the Roman satirical poet Juvenal (circa A.D. 100) decried during his time when politicians gave out cheap food and entertainment (a.k.a. panem et circenses or “bread and circuses”) to keep the votes of poor citizens is still happening in this day and age. We also have schools where false ideologies are taught and immoral beliefs are tolerated because to them, morality is relative anyway. We have

institutions where rotten systems are already deeply embedded so that good people who enter them either turn bad or leave. But then again, parents, who are the first teachers of their children, lay the foundation on which faith, values, and virtues can flourish. A strong foundation will help children stay true to their Christian faith wherever they go and whatever life throws at them. As the Scripture says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he

will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). I cannot help but think that the most important job of parents is to raise children of integrity and godly character. If only all parents prioritize this task, then surely we would have not only better political candidates, but better citizens as well. We have hung our hopes on politicians for far too long. This time, let us address our country’s chronic illness at its roots. Let us start mending our broken society by being agents of healing in our own families. Let us build a strong society by building strong families. 

But then again, parents, who are the first teachers of their children, lay the foundation on which faith, values, and virtues can flourish.. 1 2

Political & Economic Risk Consultancy, Ltd. (April 1, 2015). “An Independent Fortnightly Report on Asian Business and Politics.” Conde, Carlos (March 13, 2007). “Philippines Most Corrupt, Survey Says.” The New York Times.

34 FamilyMatters • March-May 2016


Youth Talk: Talk:: Starring Youth Talk Starring

Alden’s Time to Shine The be-dimpled celebrity looks to his faith to keep him anchored and level-headed, knowing his phenomenal popularity is a God-given gift to be valued and appreciated. By Maridol Ranoa-Bismark It’s easy to think you’re above ordinary mortals

when you’re Alden Richards. After all, you’re the “Pambansang Bae” whom girls swoon over and who has amassed two million Twitter followers. You’ve received a gold record award for your second album Wish I May, and everyone seems to think you’re the best thing that’s ever happened to showbiz. But Alden—Richard Faulkerson Jr. in real life—refuses to let the tsunami of public adoration drown his innate humility. In fact, he can’t believe all the amazing things that have been happening to him, five years after taking his first baby steps in showbiz.


Youth Talk: Talk:: Starring Youth Talk Starring Above the adoring screams of fans, this 23-year-old native of Sta. Rosa, Laguna, still hears the voices of people who had sowed the seeds of stardom for him when he was still an unknown. “I think of everything that’s happened to me since I began working in showbiz, the relationships I’ve already built with other people. I don’t want to lose that. I don’t want to lose the friendship. I don’t want to lose the old people in my life, meaning, ‘yung mga una kong nakilala, because they are the important pieces that make me who I am today,” Alden explains. The AlDub Nation—the label applied to his massive base of fans supporting his love team with Yaya Dub a.k.a Maine Mendoza—also keeps the Kapuso actor’s feet firmly planted on the ground. Far from bloating his ego, seeing his followers jostling through the crowd and begging for an autograph, a fan sign, a photo, a video with him, or even a “pabebe” wave—humbles him. “I try to have a whole lot of sympathy for the people around me, especially for my fans. When they approach me I am very sympathetic to them because all they want is a picture and a wave at hindi ko ipagdadamot yan ever.”

Photo by NPPA

When my mom died, I realized that people won’t be with you forever. I learned how to value people and choose the right people to be with. EARLY LOSS

If Alden talks with uncharacteristic wisdom, it’s because the guy with that to-die-for dimple has had to mature faster than others of his age. His mother Rosario’s demise in 2008 prompted Alden to assume a role many of his then fellow students at De La Salle Canlubang in Biñan City, Laguna knew nothing about—as family breadwinner. Alden used the money he won as Ginoong Sta. Rosa 2009 and Ginoong Laguna 2010 to support his three siblings. He also entered part-time commercial modeling, and tried—but failed—to join the GMA reality show Star Struck and Pinoy Big Brother: Teen Clash of 2010. But Alden forged on in showbiz, never mind if what he really wanted was to become a pilot. Way before he faced the cameras for the first time, Rosario had known her second son had that “X factor” and was destined for stardom. She urged him to pursue acting, and the son obeyed, never doubting his mother’s vision, or 36 FamilyMatters • March-May 2016

her words telling him to wait for good things to come his way. Her passing not only left a void in Alden’s life, it became a wake-up call. “When my mom died, I realized that people won’t be with you forever,” he says. “I learned how to value people and at the same time choose the right people to be with, to make each moment of my life count, to do things with purpose and with good sense.”

HUMILITY AND GRATITUDE

Believing he has been blessed, Alden chooses to remain grateful and humble, knowing that not everybody has it as good as he has. “I always find time to pray. It keeps me stable. When I feel confused with everything that’s happening, I just pause and pray that everything will be okay.” Alden never hesitates to kneel down and talk to his Maker wherever he is. “There’s no place. Kung saan ako abutan. Any place, any time, in silence, by myself.”


In these quiet moments, Alden finds his core. “My moment with God is my time with myself. When I talk to Him, that is my time for myself.” Away from the crowds, Alden assures himself, “Relax, you can do it.” This was how he stilled the butterflies in his stomach before the AlDub phenomenon skyrocketed him to fame. Time for himself boosts the actor’s faith and deepens his spirituality. “I get my spirituality from my faith, because if you don’t have faith, prayer is useless. It’s like reading a book you don’t have interest in. That’s how I relate faith to prayer,” Alden states. Speaking of books, he says he finds the best advice from the Bible, in particular from a certain verse. “I can’t remember the exact verse, but it talks about having a substantial life, doing good things to other people. The Bible taught me a lot and I am still learning from the Bible.” Alden also heeds the wisdom of “doing everything according to God’s will.” God’s will is all he needs for a worry-free future, especially in a field where stars come and go according to the whims of the audience. Admitting he doesn’t know what awaits him five or 10 years hence, he has decided to “just surrender my plans to God and His will in my life.” Life’s uncertainties bring Alden to his knees to ask, “Lord, use me according to Your will. I surrender to You every day. Use me every day.”

This way, Alden has learned to appreciate even the smallest blessings, “enjoying and cherishing each day that the Lord has given me.”

SPREADING THE BLESSINGS

Alden knows that blessings are for sharing. He’s supporting Habitat for Humanity, which provides homes for the poor; Philippine Animal Welfare Society, which rescues animals that have been abandoned and abused; and Children’s Hour, which feeds, shelters and protects kids. But he knows he can’t continue to share his blessings without good health, a happy family, and a stable career. So he prays for these, too, and the grace to keep temptation at bay, especially in a world rife with spiritual challenges like showbiz. As for what he can advise young people, Alden hopes they grow up with fire in their belly and faith in their heart. Like a concerned kuya or older brother, he urges them to “always go for the gold, work hard, find their purpose, and [seek out what] makes them happy.” He also reminds young people “to dream big and have faith.” At this point in his life, God must be telling his celebrity servant, “So far, so good.” But far from making him complacent, this makes Alden strive to achieve more in order to please The One who showers him with unimaginable blessings. Yes, Alden’s heart and soul are in the right place. 

I always find time to pray. It keeps me stable. When I feel confused with everything that’s happening, I just pause and pray that everything will be okay.

Admitting he doesn’t know what awaits him five or 10 years hence, he has decided to just surrender his plans to God and His will in his life.


Youth Talk: Talk::Learning Youth Talk Starring

Smoke-free

zone

Here’s another stark reminder on why you’re better off never lighting up. By Gabriel Joshua M. Floresca While we were growing up, my brothers and I were

constantly reminded by our parents, both nonsmokers, about the dangers of smoking. I don’t intend to take up this habit at all. For me, the smell of cigarettes is disgusting, and even inhaling secondhand smoke hurts my nostrils. Many of us know about the health risks of smoking, and even cigarette packs carry mandatory labels with dire warnings. Yet, despite ample scientific proof that smoking is bad for them, smokers still seem unconvinced. In fact, almost everywhere I go, I see many people engaging in this vice. One reason for this is because the cigarette’s nicotine content can be addicting, making quitting hard. According to the American Lung Association, a single cigarette stick contains about 600 ingredients that when burned create more than 7,000 chemicals, of which at least 69 are known

38 FamilyMatters • March-May 2016

to cause cancer, and many more are deemed poisonous. Dr. Ethel Deloso-Anonuevo, a pulmonologist at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center, and a fellow of the Philippine College of Physicians and the Philippine College of Chest Physicians, says smoking causes a multitude of problems to the smoker, both immediate and long term. “It may be as simple as having trouble sleeping or poor performance in school to as bad as having cancer and dying from it at a very young age. Once damage to the body is done, it is potentially irreversible and progressive,” she says. According to the World Health Organization, smoking is the leading cause of preventable deaths in the world. In the Philippines, the 2011 Global Youth Tobacco Survey found that 21.7% of young people between the ages of 13 and15, of which 36% are boys and 20% are girls, have smoked. The report also states that 10.5% of those who have never smoked are likely to initiate smoking after a year.


A single cigarette stick contains about 600 ingredients that when burned create more than 7,000 chemicals, of which at least 69 are known to cause cancer. HABIT TRIGGERS

Deloso-Anonuevo says parents play a major role in whether teens take up smoking or not. She cites a study done by Dr. Josefina Cabigon that identifies some of the factors that affect early initiation into smoking. These factors include the absence of financial support, conflict in the family, parents’ educational status, and even the lack of parental visits to students living in dormitories. During my years of living in a college dorm, I’ve witnessed people being enticed to smoke. Even some of my friends who’d never touched a cigarette in their life began smoking in their first years in college, seemingly finding solace in smoking as they deal with the stress of studying. Therefore, parental guidance and support is key in preventing early smoking habits among adolescents.

?

Are e-cigarettes safer

Pulmonologist Dr. Ethel Deloso-Anonuevo describes electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes} as battery-operated devices that heat up liquid, usually containing nicotine, and turn this liquid into vapor to be inhaled by the user. “[An e-cigarette is] perceived as a safer alternative to cigarette smoking… and thus is unregulated in most countries. There are no safety checks on what the e-cigarettes contain, and this should be a big concern to the users as we actually don’t know what are contained in the e-cigarette liquid, [the] amount, and its safety,” she warns. “Some e-cigarettes contain substances that are safe when eaten, like the flavorings that are used, that may lure children to try them, but no studies support their safety when inhaled. The stomach/intestines are, for a fact, different from the lungs,” she further states. The American Lung Association, in a statement given on the results of an initial lab test conducted in 2009, said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found detectable levels of cancer-causing chemicals, including an ingredient used in antifreeze, in various cartridges used in e-cigarettes. Another study carried out in 2014 found formaldehyde, a carcinogenic substance, in some of the cartridges. “These finding are thus alarming as there is no way for the consumer/user to know if their brand of e-cigarette contains harmful substances,” Deloso-Anonuevo says. She also notes that large doses of nicotine may be contained in e-cigarettes, and there is no way for us to know about this until regulation of the industry is done. “What are acceptable levels to adults are often toxic levels to children. The toxicity of nicotine may begin with nausea and vomiting, and may progress to seizures and respiratory depression in severe cases of nicotine poisoning.” “The non-users are also not safe, so we cannot remain passive on this issue,” stresses Deloso-Anonuevo. “If secondhand cigarette smoke can harm a bystander, secondhand e-cigarette smoke may do that as well.”

March-May 2016 • FamilyMatters 39


YouthTalk: Talk:: Learning Youth Talk Starring

To counter the attractive image portrayed of smokers, parents must stress upon their children that smoking does not equate to looking ‘cool’ or ‘in’ as most of the shows imply. It may be as simple as having trouble sleeping or poor performance in school to as bad as having cancer and dying from it at a very young age. Once damage to the body is done, it is potentially irreversible and progressive. 40 FamilyMatters • March-May 2016

Deloso-Anonuevo says, “Ideally, parents should be the role models. But even for those who have parents who smoke, not smoking in the presence of children will have a big impact in prevention.” She adds that several studies also show how media influences the youth to start smoking. “There are already laws that prohibit tobacco companies from advertising on TV, but smoking on TV shows and [in] movies is still rampant.” Thus, to counter the attractive image portrayed of smokers, parents must stress upon their children that “smoking does not equate to looking ‘cool’ or ‘in’ as most of the shows imply,” Deloso-Anonuevo says. Parental guidance is also needed by kids to stay strong against the influence of their barkada. Says the doctor: “Peer pressure as one cause of teenage smoking is a well-known factor as well, and constant reminder from parents is possibly one of the keys to decrease its effect.” 

d the ved aroun to r e s b o is ay d Tobacco D is intende World No year on May 31. It inence from st ry world eve 4-hour period of ab tention to w at ea2 encourag tobacco, and to dra cco use and ba of all forms ad prevalence of to on e rly 6 milli r a p e s n e id — s w t the ffec hich e health e 0,000 of w its negativ ear worldwide, 60 exposed to ch y ers being deaths ea nonsmok f o lt u s e r are the . nd smoke secondha

Secondhand Dangers

Although we may not smoke ourselves, we are not safe from others’ smoke. Secondhand smoke—or smoke inhaled involuntarily from tobacco being lit by others—is just as dangerous to nonsmokers as smoking is to smokers. According to the American Cancer Society, there are two forms of secondhand smoke: mainstream smoke, or smoke exhaled by a smoker; and sidestream smoke, or smoke from the lighted end of a cigarette, a pipe, a cigar, or tobacco burning in an ashtray. Unfortunately, I am a victim of secondhand smoke whenever I go on my daily commute to and from school. That is why smokers are encouraged to keep in mind the people around them and to avoid smoking in public areas such as sidewalks and parks, as well as inside public vehicles like taxis, buses, and jeepneys.


Youth Talk: Choosing

ON AIR

More than a good voice, voice actors need emotional depth and good imagination. By Excel V. Dyquiangco When Ding Camacho first joined

the cast of a drama program entitled “Ito Ang Buhay” in junior high school, he enjoyed not just every recording they did, he was also in awe of the professionalism displayed by his co-voice actors. “I was amazed at how they varied their voices,” he says. “This gave a big push to my desire to be a professional voice artist. I did not consider this as an earning career, but just enjoyed every moment of our taping sessions.” From then on, armed with a degree in Fine Arts, Major in Advertising at PWU College of Music and Fine Arts, Manila, Ding started doing a lot of rehearsing, such as vocalizing and doing monologues to train his vocal chords to take on different character roles, as well as observing some of the best commercial radio voice artists. He says he tried to enhance and add to his skills because radio drama voice acting is not just about voice improvement but also about projecting emotions and freeing the imagination. “A good voice artist needs to control his voice, play with his emotions and have a wider and deeper range of imagination,” he says. “Sometimes you believe that you know everything but in reality the room for improvement is bigger than what you have already gained. There is no shortcut in voice acting. Everything should be done intentionally and passionately.”

Radio drama voice acting is not just about voice improvement but also about projecting emotions and freeing the imagination. SHARING POSITIVE MESSAGES

Ding doesn’t remember his first radio acting gig anymore, although he does remember how, in his early days, his director was always shouting at him, reminding him to say his lines clearly and audibly. Thus, early in his career, his selfconfidence was very low. But later on, he took his low self-esteem as a challenge. He told himself that if he wanted to be a good drama voice artist, he had to face his fears squarely, a philosophy he adheres to even today.

He shares that his most memorable acting gig as a voice artist was when his group did their first live radio drama show. “Being one of the old-time radio talents, I had to control and relax myself so as not to influence others, especially the new ones. We had no choice but to do it live because we did not complete the number of finished products supposed to be aired that day. But, by the grace of God we did it well, though with much trembling.” Besides his radio work, including March-May 2016 • FamilyMatters 41


What Voice Talents Do • Voice actors contribute their talent to audio books, cartoons, commercials, and instructional DVDs. • They can also be hired to add to the plot and storyline during productions, such as plays, television shows, movies, documentaries, and sports broadcasts.

The biggest challenge of his work is being able to convey clearly the intended message to the listeners— such as positive messages of hope, of salvation, of transformation. for a radio drama program aired every afternoon from Mondays to Friday, Ding and his team often get invited to book launches for a live retelling of books, especially those for children. He recently started lending his voice to the retelling of Lala Burara, which is about a girl who hates cleaning her room and is published by Hiyas, the children’s book imprint of OMF Literature. When it comes to the biggest challenge of his work, Ding says it’s about being able to convey clearly their intended message to the listeners—such as positive messages of hope, of salvation, of transformation. Other challenges he cites include maintaining a good partnership with the radio stations they are connected with, and training voice artists and scriptwriters to become excellent talents. Ding says he feels richly blessed 42 FamilyMatters • March-May 2016

• A voice actor might also find work as a radio disc jockey or talk show host. • In the Philippines, voice talents also find work dubbing foreign teleseryes (TV soap operas) into Filipino.

Famous Voice Actors 1. Mel Blanc (voiced Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck) 2. Frank Oz (Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Grover, Cookie Monster) 3. Deo Noveno (Pong Pagong) 4. Pocholo Gonzales (Kiko Matsing) 5. Dan Castellaneta (Howard Simpson) 6. Dely Magpayo (Tiya Dely) 7. Tom Kenny (SpongeBob SquarePants) 8. Casey Kasem (Shaggy Rogers) 9. Ester Chavez and Luz Fernandez 10. James Earl Jones (Darth Vader, Mufasa)

Secrets of Success with his choice of career, having learned lessons and formed values from his work experience. Regarding his plans, for now he intends to continue his advocacy of training young radio talents so that they grow as dedicated to and as passionate about their craft as he is.

 A voice actor needs to warm up and practice consistently to prevent voice strain.  Most successful voice actors have these things in common: acting experience, vocal range, and the ability to assume and maintain a character.


Youth Talk: Growing

Look Before

You Leap

When you’re young, vibrant, and strong, it’s easy to believe that there’s nothing you can’t do and that nothing can stop you. But here’s why you need to think before you act. By Aileen Carreon Slamming the door when you’re upset, spending

your allowance on a new gadget on display, or deciding to cut class at the last minute to watch a movie—all of these are examples of impulsive actions that may seem harmless to you but could actually do you or others harm. “Youth impulsivity is the tendency to do things on a whim suddenly, without thinking and without considering the

riskiness or consequences of behavior,” explains psychologist Naira S. Orbeta. While suddenly joining a running race or dancing in public is relatively harmless, other spur-of-the-moment actions by the youth often involve risky behavior that can get them in trouble—and even put their life in danger, according to Orbeta. March-May 2016 • FamilyMatters 43


Youth Talk: Growing

The teenage brain is like a car with a good accelerator but a weak brake. Practice the “Stop-Think-Talk-Do” cognitive-behavior strategy, a technique widely used as a therapy intervention for students with attention and impulsivity problems. She cites some of these possible consequences: Teens who take their parents’ car for a joyride can figure in a fatal crash or accidentally hit someone on the road. Those who take their parents’ gun and play Russian roulette can end up in a situation where someone gets shot. Young people who conduct hazing initiations thinking it’s just katuwaan (for fun) can cause death through paddling or other violent activities, while daring youngsters who try sex can get pregnant at age 13 or contract a sexually transmitted disease. This penchant to court danger through recklessness and risk taking may have a scientific explanation. According to a report by Harvard researchers for the American Psychological Association, “there is significant evidence to suggest the turmoil of teenage years is caused at least in part by biology.” Laurence Steinberg, a Temple University psychology professor, likens the teenage brain to a car with a good 44 FamilyMatters • March-May 2016

accelerator but a weak brake. Another study shows that the teenage brain is highly impulsive in the face of threat and points to the unusual activity in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), a brain region involved in behavior control and decision making. In a test of impulsivity conducted by neuroscientists, teenagers who managed to successfully resist an urge showed increased activation in the vmPFC, suggesting that young people have to work harder to avoid acting on impulse.

TAKING CONSCIOUS CONTROL

So while in general, teens are likely to act impulsively more than adults and kids, self-restraint is not entirely out of their reach. There are in fact adolescents who exhibit better self-control than many grown-ups. If they can do it, so can you. This will, however, require a conscious effort on your part.

Stop-Think-Talk-Do Orbeta suggests that you practice the “StopThink-Talk-Do” cognitive-behavior strategy, a technique widely used as a therapy intervention for students with attention and impulsivity problems. This tactic calls for you to “stop” before acting impulsively, and to “think” about the cause and effect or possible consequences of your intended action. The “talk” part entails that you verbalize to yourself or to other people what you plan to do before you actually “do” it. This process encourages you to rethink and reflect before doing something, thereby decreasing impulsivity. Manage your impulses. Feel them, but don’t give in to them. For instance, your teacher reprimands you and you feel the impulse to answer back, but decide not to act on it. You want to show your displeasure at being scolded, but act otherwise. Keep in mind that a poor decision or a sudden impulse is never an excuse for your actions and that you always have a choice. Deep breathing When faced with emotionally fraught, stressful, or threatening situations, you may also consider this tip: Breathe deeply through your nose and exhale through your mouth when you feel like having an emotional outburst. Notice how breathing positively affects your ability to control your impulses. Positive self-talk Aside from taking slow, deep breaths during stressful or anxiety-provoking circumstances, condition your mind by mentally saying things like “I can handle this. I can


stay in control.” Positive self-talk and stress management techniques will help you to make a good choice, says clinical psychotherapist Earl Hipp in his book “Fighting Invisible Tigers: Stress Management for Teens.” Diverting energy To channel your impulsive behavior into something positive and productive, Orbeta suggests joining a club, being part of a church group, or finding a hobby. Doing so will help you release energy and stress without engaging in negative impulsive behaviors.

WEIGHING THE CONSEQUENCES Aside from the onslaught of bodily changes, brain chemicals, and hormones, Orbeta says that youth impulsivity can also be driven by peer pressure and being more conscious of the judgment of others, by the desire to differentiate one’s self from adults and authority figures, and by being in the process of forming one’s identity.

In a desire to fit in, receive attention, or prove oneself to be better than others, a teen may engage in dangerous behavior. It is easy to throw caution to the wind when you are young, healthy, and full of energy. Not much thought is given to what could happen if things go wrong even just once for pushing yourself too far. Ask yourself: Is it worth losing a limb to show you’re cool? To deal with peer expectations and avoid dangers, you need to learn prudence. This means excercising caution, practicing discretion, and having regard for one’s well-being. Don’t get caught up in excessive concern over what your friends might think or in trying to outdo everyone else. Remember that impulsivity may be commonly associated with teens and may naturally accompany the development stage you are in, but you don’t have to be a slave to it. Don’t let it get the better of you. 

Keep in mind that a poor decision or a sudden impulse is never an excuse for your actions and that you always have a choice.

Tame those thrills Tips for controlling your child’s extreme daring

BE A SOURCE OF CALM. Parental stress that gets passed on to your child can exacerbate risk-taking behavior. IMPROVE COMMUNICATION. Encourage dialogue as opposed to giving sermons and lectures. SET RULES AND GUIDELINES. If you don’t, your child may be led to believe that he or she can do anything and get away with it. HARNESS YOUTHFUL ENERGY AND CREATIVITY. Steer your teens toward healthy activities like sports and other kinds of healthy interests that can help them blow off steam. CREATE A PEACEFUL HOME ENVIRONMENT. When parents fight, it can lead to poor child development and result in risky or aggressive behavior. MAKE TIME FOR THEM. When you neglect your children, this can lead to attention-seeking and then later to sensation-seeking. PROVIDE PROPER GUIDANCE. Encourage your child to think about his or her accountability for the consequences of a particular impulsive action. Relate actual experiences of your or others’ thoughtless actions in your younger days and the aftermath of these.

March-May 2016 • FamilyMatters 45


Youth Talk: Relating

Check out the 10 telltale signs that you’re in a toxic friendship. By Stephanie Mayo Maybe you’ve noticed that when you entered your teenage

46 FamilyMatters • March-May 2016

years, friends have become a vital part of your life. Your barkada seems to have become your everything, so much so that you even prefer spending time with them than with your own family. The good news is that according to numerous researches, friends are highly beneficial to your well-being and bring positive long-term effects. A report by Mayo Clinic says close friends “increase your sense of belonging and purpose, boost your happiness, reduce stress, improve your self-worth, [and] help you cope with traumas.” Fix.com reported that a “2010 meta-analysis of 148 different research studies found that people with stronger social relationships had a 50 percent increased likelihood of survival than those with weaker social relationships.” Indeed, whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, you cannot go through life without friends because everyone needs them for emotional support. Marilyn Barnicke Belleghem, a registered marriage and family therapist, says in a Canadian Living article that even if your friends are far away, just knowing that they can be there for you can envelop you in comfort. “It gives you a sense of being connected and not just free-floating in space,” Belleghem says in the article. “Having someone in our life who thinks we are important— someone who wants our opinion on things and who values our company—makes us feel wanted, boosting self-esteem,” she adds. In fact, not having close friends is quite detrimental to our health, resulting in a poor immune system, depression, and delayed healing of wounds and illnesses. So keep your friends—because they are crucial to your wellbeing. But just make sure that they are real friends, because there really is such a thing as a “frenemy.”


RED FLAGS It’s important to know whether your friends are fake or, worse, toxic! Fake friends can make you miserable at the very least and lead you down a destructive path at worst. Here are some warning signs your friends don’t have your back. 1. They’re not happy about your accomplishments. While true friends are proud of your victories and express their joy without reservations, shallow pals ignore or don’t comment on your successes, whether it’s getting excellent grades or winning a competition. Worse, the fake friend tries to put you down, judge you, or downplay your triumphs. 2. They gossip about you. Since you trust these friends, you open up about practically everything to them. But if you discover they gossip about you or make fun of you when you’re not around, then, unfortunately, you’ve only got yourself frenemies. 3. They only talk about themselves. So you guys hang out or talk over the phone, but you notice that the conversation is one-sided. They only care to talk about themselves, and when it’s your turn, they become disinterested and distracted, cutting you off to resume the conversation about them. Genuine friends show genuine interest in your life. 4.

You’re the only one trying to keep in touch. If you find yourself as the initiator all the time, the one calling or texting first, the one making plans to hang out, then it is not a real friendship. Genuine friends make an equal effort to stay in touch. If you stop initiating and the friend vanishes from your life, then you know it’s not a deep relationship.

5. They pressure you to do something you’re not comfortable with. If they force you to commit an act that makes you uneasy or conflicts with your values, then these friends have no respect for you or your principles. 6. You feel “used.” If friends hang out with you only when you’re loaded or they need help with assignments, then it’s time to question their motives. Genuine friends seek your company, and desire time to be with you—not the material things they can get from you. 7.

They ridicule you in front of other people. Friends tease each other a lot, but if they do it in front of other people, especially in ways that are humiliating for you, then something is wrong. If your friends always make you the butt of jokes, then ask yourself why. Friends should never intentionally hurt your feelings.

8. You are uncomfortable sharing problems with them. Friends should be your confidants. If you don’t share your concerns with your group, then there’s no genuine closeness between you. It’s a superficial friendship.

If your friends always make you the butt of jokes, then ask yourself why. Friends should never intentionally hurt your feelings.

9. Your activities are unhealthy. If you are pressured to lie, cheat, get drunk, or do other immoral or illegal acts, then better move on. Your friends obviously don’t really care about whether you get in trouble or even get jail time. 10. They abandon you when you need emotional support. You’re sick, or you have problems at home, and these “friends” suddenly disappear and don’t want to have anything to do with you anymore. True friends stick with you for better or worse. In fact, if you’re down, genuine friends just appear at your doorstep with a box of tissue and your favorite food or movie, ready to cheer you up.

March-May 2016 • FamilyMatters 47


Youth Talk: Relating

Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, you cannot go through life without friends because everyone needs them for emotional support. Being young and immature, you might be in a toxic relationship without knowing it. But your family, especially your Mom or Dad, who only wants to protect you, can see what’s really going on. Listen to them, because they only want what’s best for you. Be wise in selecting friends, and when you’ve found these precious persons that make your life colorful, make an effort to keep them. And, no, length of friendship is not really an indicator of its genuineness; what is, though, is the positive change that a friend makes in your life. 

Keepers or

Los

Are your friends worth keeping? These films all deal with the joys and pains of young friendship. The best way to watch them is with your best buds, of course!

ers

?

GENUINE FRIENDSHIPS 1. The Mighty (1998) – A touching story about the strong, genuine friendship between a bullied boy and a young boy with Morquio syndrome. 2. Intouchables (2011) – A French comedydrama about a guy from the ghetto and a wealthy quadriplegic. 3. Bagets (1984) – Focuses on five young boys who together go through adventures and misadventures common to adolescents as they prepare to pass senior high school. 4. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008) – Set during the Holocaust period, it’s a touching story between two little boys: one a Jew and the other a German. 5. Beaches (1988) – A movie that proves that best friends can literally last forever. Will make you appreciate your BFF.

BAD FRIENDSHIPS

If you are pressured to lie, cheat, get drunk, or do other immoral or illegal acts, then better move on. Your friends obviously don’t really care about you. 48 FamilyMatters • March-May 2016

1. Thirteen (2003) – A portrait of negative peer pressure, it is about a calculating, manipulative girl who forces her friend to self-destruct. 2. Mean Girls (2004) – The Plastics, a group of popular girls, represents all of what is toxic and unhealthy in friendships. 3. Heathers (1988) – About a conniving group of friends. 4. The Craft (1996) – About a new student befriending a group of witch wannabes. Talk about literally going with an evil crowd. 5. Jawbreaker (1999) – A popular group of high school girls accidentally kill their friend and endeavour to hide the truth.


Family Matters March-May 2016  
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