Monday, September 20, 2010

Saving Thoughts for OFW's Kids

        One of the things we've learned here as OFWs is the value of saving. Hubby  is so amazed in seeing a bank car goes to his school regularly to have school kids' savings deposited into their own bank account. Yes, primary and elementary kids have their own savings growing in the bank. Some of his students have shown him their savings and he's so surprised to see that as early as Grade 2 or 3, they already got over a hundred thousand  baht (about 3,000 US dollars) in their own bank account.
         This attitude has something to do with the king's self-sufficiency economy. It encourages Thais to be self-sufficient and save for the rainy days. We  encouraged  our kids  to practice this and we motivated them to open their own bank account. At first, they had to keep secret from us if some uncles and aunts or mom and dad's friends  give them money as we ask them to have it deposited in their savings. It's really hard for us to implant in their young minds the value of saving. Probably because they don't see other kids around them doing that. If our country, especially at schools, will start doing this not just planting malunggays around schools, our country will be investing a lot for the future and the generations will keep it as a tradition. In here, even kids of bus drivers and street vendors have their own bank accounts. So we don't have any excuse not to start our baby with this kind of practice early on. And OFWs like us should think ahead, not just for the present by acquiring every latest trend particularly of technology and fashions that are just fleeting. And instead of showing off by giving out lots of pasalubongs, banca dito banca don or hosting a party here and there when going home, think that you may not be renewed the next year. Please don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that we don't have to be generous. Many an OFWs ends up being busabos by being so impractical as magarbong balikbayan. OFW dependents should also remember that moms and dads have to struggle a lot being away from home so they must save as much as they can. They should know that their parents aren't picking up dollars on the streets.
         I felt really bad a couple of days ago when I went home upon seeing a fellow OFW's son playing the computer all day long until late night (with a cigar on one hand, pssst!). He didn't realize that his mom is still in debt just to satisfy his luho. Tsk! Tsk! Oh, it gives me a stronger reason not to pamper my own kids with non-essential things such as computer and PSP unless they know how to control themselves or if they have proper guidance! They should strive on their own to get the things they want. And they should know how to differentiate between NEED and WANT at early age. Let them learn, earn and save. Our failure to teach them these values will fire back to us, long distance parents.
         By the way, aside from the amount we send them to set aside for their savings monthly, we came up with a deal with that whenever they receive an unexpected amount from anyone, at least 50% of it will go to their savings. And it works despite their resistance at first. Kids are always kids! So Lola Carmen, Tita Glee, Tito Gerry, Tita Sandra and Tito Levi, Tita Tess, Mommy Susan, Mommy Dang, (can't name them all:), rest assured that what you have been giving is well accounted for by our young stewards.  Our youngest is even luckier to start saving at age one because of the influence in the environment. We always emphasize to our kids that they need to make it a habit to save everything not only money but also anything that has value, from mom and dad's, others'  or their own sweat . We tell them that the more they waste anything, the longer they make us and themselves suffer the great distance between us. 
 (The illustration above is courtesy of Bangkok Bank, which offers a zero tax program and higher interest rate for saving kids provided a minimum of 24 months of regular deposit is achieved.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Marriage Monday: Killer Time Management for Busy Families

I missed joining this meaningful once-a-month meme. Thanks to Jona, a fellow mom from Binan, who paid me a visit here and reminded me of Marriage Monday through her entry as I visited her back. So here I am catching up with this month's topic which I can surely relate with being a mom myself.

As both hubby and I are working, we see to it that we give time for each of our three precious jewels. Thanks to what advance technology can offer we can now update each other even if our kids are miles away from us. Imagine centuries back when families had to wait for eternity to receive a letter from a loved one. There were no telephones or cellphones yet and telegram was yet expensive and people could say only a few words. But now, we can call or send an SMS very often by cellphones or even voice chat via Skype, Yahoo Messenger, etc. seeing our loved ones face-to-face via webcam while we talk to them. So we have no more excuse no matter how busy we are or how far we are from our kids as parents not to be able to communicate with them or to reach them out. It is just a matter of giving time. And of choice! I learned something great from the movie Voyage of the Unicorn that if we parents specify bonding time with our kids, they will always remember that. In the movie, the teenage girl always pauses at 3pm to bond with her mom in thought even after she already passed away. What a nice thought, isn't it? In our family, we lock off weekends for family time both for church and bonding together.

8-8-8 Principle. How it works?
We have 24 hours a day. How do we use these 24 hours? My Thai friend gave me a very feasible equation for this: 8 hours for work, 8 hours for sleep (exclusive for ourselves for good health and well-being so that we can be more effective in our work and in parenting) and 8 hours for miscellaneous. It may include 2 or 3 hours for household chores for us working moms if we don't have any helper (lucky if we have one we can use this time with kids and hubby and other relationships), an hour for exercise, an hour for our hobby such as reading (or blogging), an hour to go to the market or buy groceries, etc... and now how much is left? 2 hours? 30 minutes for eating, an hour for taking a shower, getting dressed and so on... 30 minutes left... So is this the only time left to bond with our kids and loved ones on a daily basis? If we still take this away from them, what will happen? We can no longer teach them the values we want them to learn. I remember my parents always gathering us when we were still kids for a family worship every night after dinner. That's the story time, Bible reading, values inculcation time and family prayer time. We grew up with the same pattern and this is what I want my kids to grow up with so that they can pass it on to the next generation in our family as well.

The longer family bonding time, not just the time when both hubby and I are tired from work or always rushing, is the weekend. We are more relaxed on weekends and thus we are more patient in dealing with our kids affording them more quality time. We go to church together, chat with each other, visit friends, learn things together such as cooking, have a picnic and play together at the park or do the things we enjoy together as a family.
No matter how busy we are, let's not rob away what our kids deserve to have with us. The wise King Solomon says, "there is time for everything under the sun". And there should always be time for our dear kids.

More interesting entries on the topic, Adding Kids to the Mix at Chrysalis