Marielle Gutierrez: Hi, welcome to Faith & Family. We are a Christian Family Community that promotes Christian values. I’m Mariele Gutierrez from Fremont, California, and I’m a mother of two, and today we are talking about the importance of finding teachable moments. Moments that spark spiritual awareness in our children and joining me today are Harmony and Jewel Buenavista from San Diego, California. They’ve got three kids of their own. Hi, guys!
Harmony Buenavista: Hello, hello! Hey Mar!
Jewel Buenavista: Hello Mar, how are you?
Marielle: I’m doing well! How are you?
Jewel: Good! Recently, Harmony and I read a study that actually showed that 70 percent of young adults today drop out of religion.
Jewel: Which is pretty, pretty, scary. I mean Mar, we have three young children. A 7 year old daughter, who acts like she’s 30, and a 6 year old and a 2 year old son and they’re still very young. And reading this, it makes us think about, as busy as our lives are, what can we do to make sure that our kids do not drop out of religion or that they will always see how important it is to have religion in their life and to have God in their life.
Marielle: You know as parents, as Iglesia Ni Cristo parents it’s our worst nightmare for our child to drop out of religion and to stop believing in God.
Marielle: As parents and as members of the Church we can prevent this because we have an advantage. The Church provides us with all the tools that we need. The Worship Service lessons provide guidance to the parents, the kids learn about God through the Children’s Worship Services, and if we ever had questions about anything the ministers are always ready to answer based on the words written in the Bible.
Harmony: Well at least for me, well both of us actually. During the course of the week, we alternate. Jewel actually tries to volunteer in the kid’s school. So if she volunteers in Jasmine’s class, I’ll take the other one out for lunch, like Hayden because they go to the same school. So those are the times that we- I try to connect with them during our lunch time that we chat, see what’s going on in school, kind of gage to see if they’re having any kind of any problems or if they’re having a hard time with anything-
Marielle: So you’re telling me that you go out of your way, to have one-on-one, an intimate one-on-one time like hangout time with each individual child?
Harmony: Oh yeah, yeah. I mean it’s-
Harmony: Like you said we have to make, we have to make time, we have to find the time to do it.
Marielle: So, life can get busy. According to the Washington Post, this article that I read, “Parents spend less than 7 minutes a day communicating with their children.” And I don’t know if you’re going to argue with me, Harmony but it says that, “On average, men tend to spend less time than women.” Is this true? How are we able to squeeze in time for our kids to talk about things that matter to us especially as members of the Church Of Christ? Like what matters to us is God, right? So how do we actually take that time, how do we go out of our way to make sure that we talk about the important things?
Harmony: We kind of remind them, if you have a test or anything like that, make sure you pray because God is the one who’s going to help you. Right when they get home it’s homework, and it’s the same thing we kind of instill in them, “Right when you do your homework, what are you supposed to do?” and the kids know now, “We’re supposed to pray because God is going to help us when we do our homework.”
Marielle: That’s good. So you’ve integrated it into certain aspects of your daily routine then, right?
Harmony: Yes, correct.
Marielle: So that God is always kind of in the forefront of their mind, “I’m going to have a test, wait, I got to pray.”
Marielle: I’m going to do homework, I should probably pray too, right.
Jewel: Even if they get a papercut or they get hurt, wow let’s pray because so that God can heal your owie.
Marielle: Yeah! Yeah…
Jewel: You know what I mean? And so it’s really cool when they see their owies are healing. It’s like, “Mom, look! God is healing my owies.” You know what I mean?
Marielle: Yeah. [ Marielle laughs]
Jewel: And so it’s literally everything. Not just big events, I think a lot of times people think we need to have big events that happens in our lives for us to realize that God is there.
Marielle: Right, right.
Jewel: But it’s even for the little things. Every week we have a sit down and then we talk about what are your goals for the next week, when it comes to your…
Jewel: School. How are you going to help your family? And then most especially, what can you do to help…
Harmony: Your faith…
Jewel: Your faith. And so it’s as simple as Jasmine, she’s in the Choir. She’s like, “Oh! I’m going to organize my hymnbook.”
Jewel: You know?
[Marielle and Harmony laugh]
Jewel: But it’s instilling like, “Oh I got to do something for God because that is most important for me.” And another thing that we do, the 3 jars. I don’t know if you ever heard about that Mar.
Marielle: No I haven’t. You have to explain. [Marielle laughs]
Jewel: So basically-
Marielle: Are they jars of cookies?
Jewel: No, no, no, it’s the 3 jars. So the first jar is, jar for God.
Jewel: And the second jar is for money you save for bank and the third jar is for toys or fun, right?
Harmony: It’s their allowance we give them every week that’s why.
Jewel: Yes. So they do good sets,(Need clarification, 05:58) they get an allowance. But the rule is, whatever money, let’s say they get 5 dollars in a week or something. The rule is, they have to always put money-
Harmony: In all three.
Jewel: In all three, but the first one is always God.
Marielle: Oh wow! You’re already teaching them about setting aside, right now!
Jewel: Yes, yes! And then secondly, a savings which is the bank and then the third is-
Jewel: Fun or toys.
Marielle: Those are good tips! I’m taking note of those, those jars!
[Harmony and Jewel laugh]
Marielle: Maybe I’m going to have a big chocolate jar, a bigger God jar. But definitely for us too, we do our best to integrate our membership as Church Of Christ. You know the things we stand for, our values, things like that. Even the content of our prayers. I’ve taught the kids that when you pray before school, don’t forget to pray to remember that you are a member of the Church Of Christ.
Marielle: Of course they’ll ask me, “Wait, what do you mean?” And I’m like, “Everything that you’re learning in CWS (Children’s Worship Service) so every situation you face that’s the thing that I want to be in the forefront of their mind. You know?
Harmony: Oh yeah!
Marielle: For me, car rides. Car rides it sounds…to be honest to you it’s really underrated. Car rides, I pick up my kids, I literally go to school 3 times a day. Unfortunately the bell times of both my kids are different and so I drop them off at 8. I pick up my son at 11 and then I pick up my daughter at 3. It accumulates to about a good total of maybe an hour where we’re in the car.
Marielle: I was guilty before, when I drive I just be like this is my time to tune out, to clear my mind, but it was such a waste. The most recent conversation I had with my daughter in the car was actually during after Choir practice and we were going home and she looked kind of sad, and she was telling while she was singing and practicing for the Processional, there were some words that kind of hit her. And it made her think of, believe it or not, the condition of the world, but the thing is what you have to know about my daughter is she’s a serious kid. She’s 9, but you know she’ll think about things way beyond what she should probably be thinking about. So she went in the car, 08:15, and I asked her, “Are you okay?” and she was like, “You know what Mom? I’m just a little worried about what is happening in Paris. And I asked her, “Why are you even thinking about that?”
Marielle: She mentioned that because we’re going to be going on a trip, outside of the United States and she was like, “What if there are bad guys there?” And well so I had to collect myself, make sure that I don’t freak out and just be like, “Stop it, you’re freaking me out.” You know?
Marielle: But I had to really choose my words and for this instance, I had to say a quick prayer in my head and be like, “I need help to guide my words here.” So what I told her then was, “You know what there are bad guys everywhere, there are bad guys in our backyards, and you cannot worry about the bad guys because you’re a member of the Church Of Christ, right?” And she was like, “Yeah…but you know this is far way.” I’m like, “No, you’re a member of the Church Of Christ here, you’re a member of the Church Of Christ a thousand miles away from here, wherever you go, you know you’re a member of the Church Of Christ. And what does CWS (Children’s Worship Service) teach you? Does it teach you to worry? Teach you to be afraid? Who are the heros in the Bible? You have David, right? You have our Lord Jesus Christ, he never worried about anything, you know.” And I guess she started like, “Oh! That’s right.” And my husband chimed in, and he was like, “You know what honey, none of the brethren in Paris were hurt.” You know?
Marielle: Even though one of the situations that happened was I think really near to the venue of worship of the place of worship that we have there but none of our brethren got hurt. And I think that was when she was like, “Oh wow. Look at the power of God, look at how He takes care of all His people.”
Jewel: I love how you brought it back to God will always protect us. We need to remind ourselves as parents that we always have to bring it back to God.
Harmony: And it’s cool because we teach and teach our kids as best as we can that God is always going to be in their life, that He is always to be the one who will help them. But it’s great to hear it echoed back in their prayers.
Harmony: When they pray at night and they say things on their own. Like God- As little as like God please– Jasmine especially she’s like please help me stop scratching.
Jewel: From her eczema…
Harmony: Just every single thing, every little thing it’s, “God please help me with this, Thank you for this God.” And it’s just awesome to hear that they’re listening…they’re listening to us.
Marielle: And they’re acknowledging God in everything, they’re seeing Him in everything in your life. That is fantastic.
Marielle: Well I mean these are all great suggestions. I hope that all of us are going to continue on, so that we can keep on a solid unit of an INC (Iglesia Ni Cristo) Family. We don’t want our family or any of the families really in the Church Of Christ to be part of the 70% statistic of young adults dropping out of religion. That’s why we’re having this discussion today, as suggestions for all our listeners out there. How can we create more conscious or meaningful ways to connect with our kids now and instill what it means to be a member of the Church Of Christ. Instill how to see God in everything in every detail of our life. Thank you so much to the Buenavistas for joining us today!
Harmony & Jewel: Thank you!
Marielle: To all you listeners out there we have a challenge, I dare you. I dare you, to go on social media and show us okay? Find a teachable moment where you are connecting with your kids spiritually. Thank you so much for joining us, we’ll talk to you all next time here on Faith & Family.