You’re Being Watched

As I write this, I am inside the cab, with my three-year old putting his entire weight on my arm, my eight-year old sleeping on my shoulder, and my ten-year old napping in her own personal space. We are on our way to a field trip– you know, the kind that us homeschoolers are fond of organizing in order to “maximize our learning experience” (and find an excuse to get together with other moms while allowing the kids to run around with other kids). 

Field trips are not new to us. We try to go at least once a quarter, and if possible, even more. This week, however, has been quite different. We usually make sure our schedules allow for a good rhythm of having activities outside the house and getting enough downtime and rest at home. Being a homeschool family, we are simply not accustomed to the traffic and so-near-yet-so-far travel pace of Manila. This week, we attempted something that is quite a stretch for us– we decided to join two back-to-back field trips. We just spent the entire day yesterday walking around Intramuros and other museums, and today we had to be at our meeting place by 7am. 

We had to —but we weren’t able to make it on time.

Because we had no car for the day, we had to book a cab. While we were able to book one right away, we had to wait 15 minutes for it to arrive. This changed our travel time from ten minutes to more than twenty. If all went according to plan, we would have arrived the meeting place with enough time to settle. To begin with, if all went according to plan, we would have booked a cab even earlier to allow for those delays. 

But things didn’t really go according to plan. 

The kids were too tired to get up and get moving right away; My nursling woke up later than the usual time which extended my nursing time; the cab came later; the traffic became worse. Oh, I’m sure I could come up with more “reasons”…but I’d rather not. Giving seemingly valid “reasons,” no matter how understandable, won’t really change anything.

I am here now, in this situation, so what do I do?

This is what came to mind a few minutes ago as the driver of the cab we took asked us to leave. I’m sure he noticed I had two young girls and a little boy with me. I’m pretty sure he also noticed how I had to carry multiple bags. But never mind that– he let us go down anyway, leaving us to have to wait for another cab for the next thirty minutes. (My Uber and Grab apps decided not to work at the exact moment that I needed them to!) 

If it were not for God reminding me He is in control of every detail of our lives– including this one, I would have easily become stressed out, and I’m sure I would have already let this situation ruin the day for everyone as early as now.

I thank God for reminding me of two things right now: “They are watching you,” and “I am watching over you.”

If there’s one way to “maximize our learning experience,” which is why I signed up for this trip in the first place, this was it. This was the best time to show my kids how to respond when things don’t go as planned. They are watching to see how they are to deal with changes in plans. They are watching me.

Here are some things I just shared with them as we were trying to flag cabs:

  • Life will not always go according to plan. What is more important is how we respond to life’s unexpected events.
  • Semantics and how we interpret what happens to us matter. Just because something didn’t go as planned doesn’t mean you “have a problem”…it could really all be just an inconvenience. How you see your situation– whether you see it as a problem or just an incovenience– will greatly affect your response.
  • Just because something is inconvenient doesn’t give me the right to whine. 
  • Just because you think you have a valid reason for why you are in the situation you are in, doesn’t mean you can expect people to bend over backwards for you. Don’t feel entitled.

You have three things to find each time you are faced with an inconvenience: 

  1. Find a SOLUTION. Whining won’t do you any good. Excuses won’t help you either. Panic and stressing out certainly are not ways to go around an inconvenience.
  2. Find JOY. You always have a choice. Choose to find and keep your joy.
  3. Find GOD. God’s with you– no matter what. He is still in full control– no matter what. Knowing these two things will allow you to keep your peace and your joy in whatever situation you find yourself in. 

I thank God for allowing us to learn these valuable reminders through simple and trivial matters such as these. I pray that when the time comes that my kids will have to face bigger inconveniences in life, they will respond well– with hearts that will choose to find solutions, find joy, and find God. 

I am reminded to pray for you, too. May God give you the grace to respond well. May you be reminded that your children are watching you. More importantly, may you be convinced that no matter what, God is watching over you. 

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