On January 11, 2019, Family Is a Gift partnered with St. Francis of Assisi and Sta. Quiteria Parish in Caloocan to give the parishioners a session on the importance of conversation in the family. The event was attended by members of different organizations in the parish.

The event started with a mass presided by Rev. Fr. George Alfonso, Parish Priest. In the homily, the priest reminded the parishioners of the message Pope Francis to the families that family is a gift; therefore, it should be protected and nurtured.

The mass was followed by the launch of the year of the youth in the parish. During the launch the parish priest reminded the parents in the audience to empower their children by listening to them and to support them in their mission and discernment of their vocation.

It was followed by a brief segment from the Family Is a Gift team, who also introduced the speaker for the event. The speaker began the session by introducing his family and how important it is for them to share a meal in their family. He emphasized that since birth, meal is one of the major bonding moments of mothers and her children through breast feeding. He highlighted the meal is one of the main source of emotional connection, that even animals use meal to make connection with other animals. Children who have always shared a meal with their family are scientifically proven to be more likely to have higher grades, be more confident and be healthy.

However, because of the current conditions of the world, it has become more difficult for families to share meals, in which the speaker gave 10 points on how to restore the beauty of a happy family together. (1) Protect family time, schedule family meal time and add it to the house rules, make sure to give it priority. (2) Make meal planning and preparation a bonding moment for the family. (3) Pray before meals, even when eating outside; teach the kids the importance of establishing a connection with God. (4) Have flowing conversation, know the interests of the children and talk to them about it. (5) Turn off gadgets when eating. (6) Don’t use meal time to scold the children, talk to them about their dreams, their problems, and be open to their sharing. (7) Talk to them heart to heart. (8) Keep topics positive; don’t bring up problems in the dinner table. (9) Appreciate the meal you’re sharing, appreciate those who prepared the meal, affirm the members of your family but don’t compare, credit your children on their strengths. (10) Always take pictures and videos with the family.

In the end of the session, the speaker reminded the audience to spend more time with their family, may it be through meals of other bonding activities.

The speaker is Bro. Robert Labayen, father of 5, grandfather of 3; CFC leader; Head of Creative Communications Management at ABS-CBN; former VP-Creative Director at Saatchi & Saatchi and Executive Creative Director at J. Walter Thompson.


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