The Film “Conviction” and My Two Points from It

I watched Larry King Live yesterday and I said to myself, “I want to go see that movie.” See trailer below. 

Two things I want to write about after watching the program: (1) Family and (2) Judgment.

It makes me think about what family really means. I’m not focusing on the make-up or structure of a family, but the bind, the molecule, the atom that keeps a family together. I never faced (nor do I want to face )the hard reality of time in prison or was sentenced for a crime to which I did not commit, but my family has always been there for me in other ways. On countless times my parents helped me out, especially with speeding tickets or the sacrifice of putting me through college, and though I might not have understood it then, I understand it now, family is worth sacrificing for.

Sadly, I am aware that not all families grow up with support or encouragment or love, but instead with dominance, abuse, and aggression. I wish in my heart every child grew up in a loving home, maybe this world would be a better and safer place. I am convinced though that the most important ingredient of a healthy family is love or where love abounds. Some people I realize will never understand what that word means because they grew up not feeling it or it being shown to them in the right way. I have my family to thank, because of my upbringing, I understand the love of family and try to show it to others. I always believe, a little love goes a long way. Reverting back to the film, I keep thinking, it must have been really hard for a sister to willfully defend her brother, when everyone was against him. That’s simply, self-sacrificing love.

Second point is, it concerns me that people are finding it too easy to pass judgment on others. In the movie Conviction that was discussed on Larry King, the guy who is sent to prison had tendencies for aggression, and because of that the police thought he could’ve committed the murder and without securing the facts or getting a DNA test, the guy is put in jail for life. Throughout the film, the viewer is taken through a series of events that will broaden the narrow perspective of that judgment into a much broader lens. Yet, it happens all the time, we judge before we see all the facts. Why are we prone to such instinct? 

I don’t believe this world will get any better, but only worse, yet I truly believe in my heart that though judgments are being made constantly through the year and years to come, it is up to us to make sure we pass on goodness and objectivity so that it lives on. The key to passing those on is having the power to DO IT, even if we stand alone.

I don’t know why I just wrote that, but I am convinced that life is so precious and we should treasure each moment we have with our families now and remember not to pass on judgment so quickly that we isolate the facts. This world might not be a better place, but at least we can try to make it better starting with family. After thinking about it, I think my formula for family will be: Love + Objectivity + Sacrifice = Family.

By the way, the movie comes out in theaters October 15.

Babysitting Not for the Faint of Heart

“Don’t do that!”

“Because I said so.”

“No more juice, try water.”

For the past few days, I wore the shoes of babysitter and began to know what it’s like being a mom. I don’t have kids of my own, but my advice is if you want to know what it’s like, go babysitting–the more kids you sit for, the better you learn how to deal with them. I took the opportunity recently and have been sitting for four kids. That’s right, f-o-u-r. A 2-years-old, a 3-years-old, a 5-years-old, and a 6-years-old. I thought I knew all about multi-tasking, until then.

The mother and father work odd jobs trying to make ends meet, and had posted a classified ad on the Web to secure help. I found the posting, applied, and met with the mother and father. “Don’t you have any relatives to help you?” I asked the mom. “Yes, but they are elderly and don’t have a lot of energy to keep up with the kids.” During this interview, all four kids surrounded us and were “checking me out”. I could tell they were curious as to who I was, but I kept my focus on mom. After I pondered the distance to travel back and forth to the home (approximately 37 minutes from me) and the pay (which barely covered for two kids alone at day-care), I let my heart rule my mind and decided to take the job. Was I in for it.

For the first few days, my sitting job began at 8 a.m. till 6 p.m. I didn’t have to cook for the kids, since mom or dad would have already provided the meals. I just had to share them out. In case I had to cook, I was given a list of each child’s allergies. I learned that toddlers could be allergic to anything, but one of the toddlers I sat for was allergic to soy, mango, and egg and liked to eat whatever their bigger sister or brother had (which meant getting used to saying the word, “No”.)

I also saw a distinct difference when mom and dad left the house. When mom was departing, all kids would run to the front door behind her, especially with the youngest one clamoring to her leg with amazing resoluteness of not letting go. Once mom got him off her leg and ran quickly out the door, the little one cried and cried. Each minute he cried louder. Now, from my earlier days I knew that when a kid is crying after he doesn’t get what he wants, he cries and if his wants are not met, he cries louder…a word to the wise, don’t give the kid attention…ultimately, he’ll stop crying. Now, when dad left home, the kids would run to the door, and the littlest one would wave “buh-bye” and head back inside. “Wow,” I thought, “Mom, must really be loved” (isn’t that how it is though?) *I’m smiling*

Since I didn’t have the car seats in my car, I wasn’t allowed to take them outside or even to the playground just a few blocks away. The farthest I could take them was in the backyard to play. Other than that, we were stuck inside. So, I reverted to games or books or even homework. The oldest child was in day school for an hour and sometimes had homework to do, but getting her do it was the hard part. I found that when I started reading or offered an incentive, the girl would acquiesce.  But as much as I disliked it, I had the kids watch T.V., one of their favorites: NICK Jr. I don’t know what it is about that channel, but miraculously all the kids would place themselves on the couch and watch the shows with such devotion, it allowed time to run by. I sat with them and even began liking the shows. Shows like: Yo Gabba Gabba, Kai-Lan, Dora the Explorer, Max & Ruby, Team Umizoomi…I was being entertained and so were the kids, and they were actually learning, which was great. (The sad part was, when I got back to my home, I would tune into these shows to watch them.) At this time the kids were getting used to me and when I said “No” they obeyed and even the littlest one started calling me, “Mommy.” I, of course, had to correct the kid and politely reminded him who his mom was.

After about two weeks of babysitting the four children, I had gotten another opportunity to babysit elsewhere that was closer to home and ended my job with the family of six. (They were able to find someone.) My last day was a half-day and before I left out the door, the littlest one, who was the most mischievous, wanted to give me a kiss on the cheek. Do I dare say I wanted to shed a tear? It might have happened, I can’t tell you, but I truly enjoyed watching those kids. They were a handful, but truly a life lesson in disguise.  I promised to visit them and bring them all brownies (hopefully one that is made without egg).

What it Takes to be a Father

Any man can be a father.  It takes someone special to be a dad. 
~Author Unknown

This is according to what I’ve  observed of  my own dad over the years. ( FYI: The “little one” in the list is me.)

A real father:

  • Swallows their pride and faces the stench of a baby’s body waste while cleaning up and mastering the tie of the diaper (ah hem…the cloth, not the plastic ones you dump and exchange for another).
  • Doesn’t mind the public embarrassment of baby’s food gushed out all over him like a Picasso painting. He’s only glad it didn’t end up in his mouth.
  • Reads bedtime stories to the little one even though he’s weary and tired from work.
  • Doesn’t mind staying up hours upon hours with little one when it cries until it falls right to sleep.
  • Teaches little one to pray and the importance of prayer.
  • Volunteers to take the little one to their first day of school and sits with them in their classroom.
  • Praises the little one’s art handiwork even though the scribbles are unrecognizable.
  • Combs and dresses the little one’s hair for church, even though mom had to redo it again.
  • Never forgets little one’s birthday and other events in little one’s life.
  • Always showers little one with gifts either for birthdays or Christmas even though father seems to think newspaper wrapping is just as cost-effective as any other wrapping paper.
  • Disciplines little one out of love and never out of anger.
  • Takes great care of little one when they caught measles (even if it meant catching the disease himself.)
  • Doesn’t reveal how nervous he is (when he is!) when teaching little one to drive.
  • Reassures little one it’s a lesson learned despite little one getting a speeding ticket and father’s insurance goes up.
  • Reminds little one over and over again of the “birds and the bees” story when little one decides to date.
  • Puts up with little one’s cat mess, after wishing he’d gotten a fish.
  • Embraces little one with hugs and kisses when they get accepted into college.
  • Always has a camera in hand to capture the candid moments, even though little one prefers taking posed pictures.
  • Supports little one when they’ve changed majors in college, even though he never knew such a degree existed. 
  • Drops little one hints of how wonderful being a grandfather would be.
  • Saves every birthday, anniversary, holiday card little one sends him.
  • Seems to always have time to talk with little one on the phone no matter where he is.
  • Forgives and still loves little one, even though little one unconsciously forgot to wish dad happy father’s day this morning. 

Now, every father is different, but these are a few examples of what my dad was like and what he did for me and my family. To this day I still think he’s the best dad I could ever have; I continue to learn from him and tremendously respect him because he’s really done a lot for me.

A real father shows love unselfishly, spends time with his family, seeks ways to help his children grow and develop to the best of their potential and willingly provides even if the funds are low, and he’s also there for his family and remains with the family despite obstacles.

This Father’s Day, tell your dad, if he’s still alive, how much you love him. If you never knew your father or grew up without one, tell the man figure in your life how much you really appreciated him being there in your life. If you never had any man figure in your life, then thank the Lord for the life given you and pray you become a great parent or parent-to-be. A little appreciation, especially to dad or to that father figure, goes a long way. He might not ask for it, but believe me, men (in general) love positive comments, it builds their ego 🙂 but more importantly it shows you care.

Now, I just wish they’d have a Children’s Day to celebrate–I’d like to be shown appreciation, too :).

M.O.M – My Optimistic Mother (a tribute)

There’s never a dull moment when I speak to my mom.

When I hear her voice on the end of the line it would always seem cheery and bright:

“KIMI!” she’d scream, and I’d reply: “Hi, mom. How are you?” as I try to keep from grinning on how enthusiastic she sounded when I call. (She always knows how to make me smile.)

If I didn’t call mom at least once a week, she’d call me–and that’s bad! Should I ever get a call from mom, she would politely remind me that there are people who still exist in the family that would love to hear from me.  I took the hint and promised her I’d call more.

Our phone conversations usually led to chit chats about our lives, NYC, relatives, and existing struggles, and through it all mom always shared her positive outlooks on life. I always came off the phone feeling rebooted and ready to take on the world like the Energizer bunny that could keep going.

Raised on a farm with four brothers and three sisters, mom learned how to work with others, learned how to think, and learned how to have fun. When she got married to my dad, she took what she learned and vowed to love him with all her heart and stand by him in good times and bad, through health or sickness, even through poor times or in wealth. When I and my other siblings came along, to this day, she stands by that credo.

I often wonder how mom does what she does: the cooking, the hairdressing, the dressmaking, the home chores, being the chauffeur, the health reliever, the grocery picker upper, the table setter, the bedmaker, the scheduler, and still work full-time. It boggles my mind. It’s like a full-time job (without pay and benefits)!

I’ve sent a card to mom with a message of love to let her know how grateful I am to be her daughter. If I earned as much like Bill Gates, I’d send mom on a trip to anywhere in the world she’d always dreamed with all expenses paid. She hasn’t traveled much, so I hope to make that all expense paid trip a reality (as a long-term goal surprise).

Mom is not a perfect being, but she’s proven herself a worthy mother. She’s always stood by my side, able to make me feel better, more hopeful … and for that I’m grateful. Thank you, mom, and I love you. I just have to call you and say that to you so it’s more genuine (*smile*).