I returned to work today after a long sojourn, and the best part of my day was going to Mary Queen of the World Cathedral to pray and attend the 7:30 am mass.
A wonderful way to start my day as I return to the hectic world of teaching young children. A lot has changed within me the last few years, but the world and the job all remains the same. The staff changes and children changes throughout the years, but the same hectic reality remains the same.
I have changed. My faith has deepened and for those of us who walk in Jesus:
“Three things are necessary to everyone: truth of faith which brings understanding, love of Christ which brings compassion, and endurance of hope which brings perseverance.”
I give thanks for two beautiful children my husband and I adopted as babies. I give thanks to God the Father, Jesus the son, and the Holy Spirit for the graces and blessings bestowed upon us.
Yesterday we celebrated MeiMei’s 16th birthday – how quickly the time has past.
Father of Jesus, We praise you and give you glory For the wonderful things you do for us; For life and health, for friends and family, for this splendid day.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, Who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Hail Mary, Full of Grace, The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death.
Glory be to the Father, And to the Son, And to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, And ever shall be, World without end.
There’s a saying that the truth will set us free. When I think of all the controlled narratives in our secular world, of cancel culture, of hidden agendas cloaked in the name of Social Justice, how many of us see outside this? Seeing the truth of God sets us free from the chains of Satan’s machinations of lies.
Well, another old saying is “to divide and conquer.” Division or creating a wedge by making a group of people disagree and fight with one another is a sure way to ensure they will not join together against one. One of Satans greatest attributes is his ability to lie and cloak his lies in half truths.
The following video is a must watch by Peter Herbeck. He discusses God’s love for all of us – and uniting in walking away from our potentially dangerous life style. It is to recognize the social malaise and narratives that divide, and to know all are loved by God. God has no borders, and he simply calls us to him.
Love for Enemies (Luke 6:27-36)
27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
It’s been years since I’ve work on my own themes and images. For the past 30 years, I’ve worked on small and large scale projects for work. Much of these themes were related to children and education.
For the past two weeks, I have been sketching again…building a body of background drawings for larger paintings.
Today, I feel free to express what I want to without constraints. I can be creative and express through my sketches and drawings for myself again. I can laid bare my soul in praise of God and His amazing love.
I have also been working with an art therapist along with a spiritual guide from St. Ignatius Spiritual Centre. Both have helped me deal with all the stress and anxieties that COVID-19 has produced in my workplace and communities.
Officially I am on sick leave, and taking the time to heal physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Praise be to God for looking after all my needs. I can take the time to glorify Him in everything I do.
There are many ways to celebrate this particular devotion. Most churches have a daily recitation of the rosary. Some include the crowning of Our Lady’s statue. The important thing is that Mary be honored in a special way. At one time, the domestic celebrations of the month of May were widespread, especially by setting up a small May altar in the home.
“During this beautiful month of Our Lady, let us crown her with fragrant flowers – the flowers of love, gentleness, meekness and humility for one another, and ask Jesus to be truly a cause of joy to her as He was.” (From her letters)
Let’s take time each day and venerate our beloved Mother Mary.
19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? 1 Corinthians 6:19
For a whole year, I’ve been physically inactive. Aside from short walks with my dog to our neighbourhood park, I have not worked out. I feel my clothes getting tighter, my extra weight gain now visibly obvious. Urgh!
God has a way of revealing to us our shortcomings and imperfections. In my Alpha group this week I was moved by many of the personal testimonies shared. One participant reminded us that as we feed our spiritual body, we can’t neglect our physical one.
God has a way of communicating with us through the Holy Spirit. He often uses those around us, along with what’s within our sphere to guide and lead us. Well, again this week one of my favourite bloggers on Instagram posted:
God also moves me through the testimonies of a personal friend and colleague. Her stories gives me encouragement and strength. She inspires me with her kickboxing updates on Instagram. I admire her fortitude when she is also going through personal health challenges. Her faith in Jesus has inspired and deepened my own trust in Him.
Wow, I can’t ignore this, especially as everyday this week I have been waking up at 5:30. Each time, as soon as I realized how early it was, I snuggled back into the warmth of my duvet, “No!” “Please Jesus, it’s too early – 30 more minutes”. Then, “6:30!” “No, too early!”
Yesterday at 5:30 am, and I even felt a light nudge – a gentle caress on my left hand – the light and feathery touch of my guardian angel. I woke up immediately and seeing it was 5:30, I shamefully went back to sleep. “No!”
Finally, today at 5:30, I slowly got up and said to myself, “OK, I’ll listen!” After a coffee to wake myself up along with toast and jam, I prepared myself – in slow mode – to go work out. When I finally stepped onto the elliptical, it was cutting into my morning Rosary time, so I put on my earphones and listened to the Rosary while I silently murmured along with each breathe. It was not easy, but I did it!
Although I’ve been getting my daily spiritual nutrients, I have ignored my physical well being. Although I eat well (ok, I’ll admit a weakness for poutine and potato chips), and take my vitamins, I have neglected keeping my body healthy through exercise. I sit in front of my laptop or devices for the greater part of the day (as I am now, writing). God has been sending me nudges throughout the course of this week – all ignored! I finally stop to listen.
Thank you to all those around me for being God’s conduit.
My prayer is for God’s continued blessings for all those around me. I give thanks to all of you – my Christian family. Please continue to keep me in your prayers, as I do for each of you.
Come, Holy Spirit, send down those beams, which sweetly flow in silent streams from Thy bright throne above.
O come, Thou Father of the poor; O come, Thou source of all our store, come, fill our hearts with love.
O Thou, of comforters the best, O Thou, the soul’s delightful guest, the pilgrim’s sweet relief.
Rest art Thou in our toil, most sweet refreshment in the noonday heat; and solace in our grief.
O blessed Light of life Thou art; fill with Thy light the inmost heart of those who hope in Thee.
Without Thy Godhead nothing can, have any price or worth in man, nothing can harmless be.
Lord, wash our sinful stains away, refresh from heaven our barren clay, our wounds and bruises heal.
To Thy sweet yoke our stiff necks bow, warm with Thy fire our hearts of snow, our wandering feet recall.
Grant to Thy faithful, dearest Lord, whose only hope is Thy sure word, the sevenfold gifts of grace. Grant us in life Thy grace that we, in peace may die and ever be, in joy before Thy face.
Today I wanted to share with you this beautiful prayer, “Come, Holy Spirit”. It’s become one of my daily prayers. I discovered this prayer as a part of my Lent reading and following the, Consecration to St. Joseph by Father Donald H. Calloway.
God Bless everyone as we share and discover our own favorite prayer 💖
One of the keywords we hear in education – especially in the field of early childhood – is the word autonomy. Young children from as early as infants are taught to hold their own bottles, eat with their hands, and use a spoon or fork. By 18 months, toddlers start to learn to dress themselves (with minimal assistance) and prepare their mats for nap (again with minimal assistance), and by 5 years old they are completely autonomous. Yes, I can see how this can be beneficial to working parents, as it helps them get their children out the door with minimal stress and effort. What most parents don’t realize is that early autonomy in young children leads to other consequences as they get older. One of them is asking for help.
As I was tidying up my daughters bed this morning, I couldn’t help but smile at the way she made it. Her duvet carelessly thrown over her bed to hide her messy sheets and pajama underneath. Yes, I tidied it up. As a mom, I really don’t mind taking the extra time to do little “extra” things for my children. I get a sense of joy in doing it. There is something instinctive in me about taking care of their needs, just as it is painful to for me to hold back and watch as they “fall” and encourage them to get “back up”.
The mom in me loves to guide and nurture them, and I often imagine in my mind eyes the many times Jesus stepped in to take care of me. I had a replay of this image in my mind while praying the other night – of our Lord Jesus leading me back into his herd.
Early childhood education has changed over the last 10 years, shifting back and forth between nurture and nature. Coming from a Chinese cultural and Evangelical background, I grew up with a stay at home mom who took care of our needs. It was only when we were all grown up that she went into the workforce. As parents, my husband and I made a conscious decision to always have one parent at home. This meant an adjustment to our life style. My husband worked the night shift and I worked during the day. This way our children would always have a parent at home. Our children were nurtured for a longer period of time. This was something unheard of in western culture, where children as young as a few months go to daycare, and keywords like autonomy and independence become their mantra.
What sparked my long spew today?
This morning (6:30 am), I looked around for spare change because we had not renewed Aleeza’s bus pass (special thank you to my 18 year old son who keeps a jar of change in his room). As she is in school 2 or 3 days a week, along with online school on days she is at home, we forgot to renew her bus pass. Normally she is driven to school, and it is either her dad or brother who picks her up. Today was one of those days when neither of them were free to pick her up (Covid – 19 and the changing school schedule) from school.
Searching for spare change (sheesh who uses cash in a cashless society of online shopping or swiping cards) – I told her to explain to the bus driver that we (her parents) forgot to load her bus pass. To my surprise she said, “don’t worry mom, I’m gonna lie.” “Huh?” I said, “What are you gonna lie about? Just tell the driver your parents forgot to load up your card!” I also gave her spare change in case the driver refuses to let her on the bus.
To my shock, my daughter refused the money and said, “Don’t worry I am good at lying.”
“What? Are you telling me you lie to us, your parents?”
“No”, she says.
“Who do you lie to?”
“Why do you lie to your teachers?”
“Mom, do you think my teachers will be able to accept it if I am honest and tell them I don’t like whatever they are saying”
“Mom, if I tell them what I think about a story they’ve read, or if I give my honest opinion, I will have a harder time, and it will reflect on my grade.”
“Wow”, I thought to myself.
Well, needless to say I am a bit flabbergasted and then remember a similar conversation with my son about teachers and courses he had taken in the past. At the time he was concerned about having thoughts or ideas contrary to his teachers in High School. He said that voicing his opinions can lead to negative consequences.
This reminds me about my own experience as a graduate student in a Wittgenstein Seminar.
I will never forget my professor throwing my paper back at me. It’s ironic as I think about it, as we all sat around a circular table – to promote the idea we were equal thinkers. I’ll never forget the shock on my classmates face as I ducked my head in embarrassment to avoid getting hit by my paper. “I cannot grade this”, bellowed my professor.
I thought I had written a brilliant Greek play – a dialogue between Plato and Wittgenstein – a philosophical discussion about language. I was quite proud of this play, as I had done a lot of research. Also as a Fine Arts graduate student, I wanted to present the topic creatively, but as it was contrary to what was acceptable in Philosophical discourse, I go a bit fat 0 (marked “ungradable”). I accepted the 0.
What is my point?
I feel that from as young as early childhood, teaching autonomy is counter productive. I personally feel it leads to a generation of young adults who are afraid to express or think critically so that they can fit into status quo. By the time our children go through daycare, elementary, high school and higher learning (they have not only been institutionalized), their survival instincts kick in – which often means avoiding going against the flow to succeed.
I am glad I had my 6:30 discussion with my daughter. First, I reminded her not to lie, and to tell the bus driver the truth. Worse case scenario – pay for your bus fare. The other thing I was able to do was direct her towards asking Jesus for help. I also discovered she was feeling stressed about an upcoming oral presentation. She has fear of being ridiculed by the “mean girls” in her class. This gave me ample opportunity to share with her and to tell her to talk to Jesus, and to ask Him for the confidence and strength.
Asking for help is something I would like to hear from my children. It creates a bond between us, of me, the mother who cares and willing to meet their needs. Just as we let Jesus into our hearts and we can talk to him and ask of him to meet our needs.
I think by focusing on autonomy and independence in young children, we unconsciously start a chain reaction of negative consequences. They learn to be self sufficient, and don’t ask for help. They think they can do it on their own. It also alienates the “other”. To survive, they may resort to telling little white lies instead of voicing their own opinions. They feel a false sense of security. In turn I believe telling “white lie” will inevitably snowball into one “big lie”. It is better to tell the truth and deal with the consequences.
It also means for my husband and I to take the time to talk, listen and have meaningful conversations with our children. This also means we need to be calm and able to discuss with our children contents which we may find uncomfortable.
As a parent, I am thankful I can guide my children to research and examine the whole, and above all – think critically – before drawing a conclusion. As long as we can share with them our human vulnerability, I believe we can share with them how Jesus is our steadfast rock when we feel challenged and stress. Autonomy means being able to do things alone and makes the idea of being needy a negative, when in fact being or feeling needy is very much a part of being human.
It is in our neediness that we can fall upon our knees and ask for God’s help. By teaching children to be autonomous and independent is denying an important part of being human…the need to nurture.
My dove in the clefts of the rock,
in the hiding places on the mountainside,
show me your face,
let me hear your voice;
for your voice is sweet,
and your face is lovely.
Song of Solomon 2:14
Thank you for reading – it is my personal viewpoint based on experience as an early childhood educator and mother.