"Sometimes the smallest things can take up the most room in your heart." This quote from Winnie the Pooh is often related to a newborn baby coming into the lives of a family; however, this also holds to what we feel every time we welcome a new kid (newborn or toddler) to CSC. We just love everything about them, from the top of their head to their tiniest toes!
As a young child, my fondest memory with my friends were playing outside with them. Our little neighborhood did not have a playground or enough space to play. Instead, we made use of trees, tall grass, and other people’s vacant lots where we can play slipper game (similar to a kickball but with the use of slipper game). We played hard until our knees were skinned and we were covered with dirt. We were hard work at play.
Play is essential to the development of a child. As Jean Piaget once said “Children require long, uninterrupted periods of play and exploration.” It is in play that a child discovers their self, the people around them, and their environment. That is why at CSC we make sure that play is part of a child’s routine.
I talked about “space” in a previous blog back in 2020. In the Philippines, space is something we don’t care too much about and it’s also something we don’t have much of. I have very good view of the CSC grounds from my office window. I see our children play every afternoon and what a joy it is to see them hard at play.
If you have been here to the shelter, we have a separate playground area for our young children which is located at the back of the Duterte Home. Here, children ages 5 years old and below can play safely and away from the rough play of the older children in the main playground.
Because of the generosity of our donors, we recently purchased new playground equipment for our young children: slide, swings, and spring riders. I’d like to highlight that the installation of the equipment was made possible by both CSC employees and our older residents. It is one of those moments at CSC where both employees and residents teamed together to make something wonderful.
We held a ceremony before opening the playground to the children. It was a short dedication as the young ones could not wait to try the new equipment; even the older children wanted to try.
“And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets.” Zechariah 8:5 ESV
Check out the kids enjoying the new playgound!
We all want some sort of "normal" these days, don't we? In our homes at CSC, we try to make the days of our children as normal as possible—lockdown style. Time for chores, time for naps, time for school and time for play. We celebrate holidays and have a good time during activities and events.
More importantly, we celebrate birthdays. We are blessed that we are able to celebrate each child on his or her birthday. Most of the children that comes to CSC never had a birthday party before. Some children are shy celebrants, others wait for their gifts with round eyes, while most cannot contain their joy and radiates a palpable smile.
Although we celebrate 70 plus birthdays each year, we want these celebrations to be focused on the child. Each child gets to choose the menu for his or her party, the flavor of his or her birthday cake and gets to invite 2 friends. Each child can choose an adult he/she wants to pray for him or her. Each child gets to be celebrated, even for a day.
And yes, a lot of preparation entails when throwing a birthday party! Food preparation, table setting, decoration, and the birthday gifts. But it never gets old. Why? Because each child is different. Each child brings a different flavor in each birthday celebrations.
We praise the Lord for all the people who loves CSC. We praise Him because He makes everything certain during an uncertain time. We praise the Lord that we are able to give our children a "normal" birthday party, lockdown style.
Psalm 127:3 Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.
Its easy to keep traditions going when circumstances remain the same. But during a pandemic its a lot harder. Such is the case with the Christmas traditions at CSC. In a normal year we would have lots of different activities for the kids. We have been having a school musical program for as many years as we've had a school. We have had Junel's Box, a program for our kids to give from their own allowance money to help out a poor family in the community with food and hygiene items, for about 20 years. We have a progressive dinner, gift giving with Santa, a fancy Christmas dinner and a manger scene with live manger animals. This year, although it is not possible to hold all these activities, I am so happy to see that our staff in Cebu is trying hard to present as many of these as possible for our kids. Hard as it is to maintain a feeling or normalcy during these days, they are showing creative minds and loving hearts towards them. I am so proud of our staff for all they do and have done throughout the quarantine. Not only have they kept our kids and themselves from getting the virus, they have worked tirelessly to offer educational, recreational and social activities that have kept moralle high within the CSC compound.
I am far away from CSC these days, and it is especially hard at Christmas time. I have always said that there is no better place to be in the whole world than CSC at Christmas. This can be attested to by many folks who went to Cebu to visit us in December and celebrated our Saviour's birth with us. They were all recruited to help with the cookie baking, gift wrapping and story telling. Some were asked to play Santa or one of his helpers. I remember one year we had a visiting couple who were Asians and we recruited them to be Mary and Joseph in our pageant only to find out later that they were Buddhists. One year the live manger scene created some issues when one of the sheep went berserk and wrapped his rope around one of the shepherds (Uncle Patrick's) legs while bleeting to high heaven. All of these contributed to the fun of Christmas at CSC.
How i mjiss it, the kids and the whole CSC family in Cebu. Thanks to all who support his ministry. You are putting tools in the hands of our very capable, hard working and creative staff under the excellent leadership of Field Director Roberto Atienza. God bless you and CSC.