It all starts with forgiveness

The basis of forgiving oneself is the kindness and compassion of God for us in Christ Jesus (Eph:4:32). Therefore, with Jesus as the teacher and guide let me take you through a couple of steps that takes the blame out of the situation and help focus on the path towards the fresh perspective.

Oct 08, 2021


By Christine Fernandez

I was born in Melaka 64 years ago to parents who were Hindus. I was raised in a small town where I did my formative education with my six siblings. While in school I was an accomplished athlete, in track and field, which took me right up to state level. As a child I was very popular, extremely active and a friendly person. In short I was and am a people person.

My parents had their own limitation in raising children and did the best that they could, but I felt misunderstood for most of my teenage life. My closest friends were my siblings. When I was twelve years old I was searching for something. I really did not know what I was looking for until I discovered Jesus while sharpening pencils! I embraced the Catholic faith which gave me direction and meaning to life. I was an average student at school but after I left school and went abroad I accomplished much with God’s guidance.

Today I am a social worker, counsellor, Chaplain, parent and grandparent. I am married to a wonderful man, have four grown up children and two beautiful grandchildren. My biggest accomplishment is my family: raising my three sons and my daughter, who are all accomplished in their own fields, but I have also accomplished other things such as building my fitness business locally and internationally during my younger days and attaining my professional credentials in social work and psychology.

When I left Brisbane, Australia to travel with my husband in 2013 I was instrumental in setting up a food bank in Guayaquil, Ecuador, engaging in community work with the poor, and being involved in a food project in Sri Lanka, when we were stationed there. I have travelled widely and have worked with not only refugees but also juveniles, homeless people, communities and prisoners. Some would say I am a ‘jack of all trades and master of none’, but I know where my heart lies and what I was chosen to do. I love working with people in general and my forte is, working with young people. My hobbies are reading, dancing, exercising and sewing. My favourite book is by Paulo Coelho The Alchemist.

Currently, I am not employed locally, but am using my god given talents and my expertise to help others. My stay in Malaysia led to volunteer work with a children’s home where I started counselling. It was through these sessions that I realised the truth of the proverb “as you sow, so shall you reap”.

The academic credentials I have attained at the best colleges and universities are not my identity. However, the hurdles crossed, the challenges and experiences faced along the way, and the experiences and life journeys shared with others have shaped me who I am today. It would be a waste to not share my personal and professional expertise with others while I still have the opportunity and the ability.

Therefore, I am sharing my two cents’ worth with all parents out there who have felt the same as I did and perhaps still do. Do I give my children too much? Maybe I have not done enough? Have I understood my child and his/her needs? Have I been a good parent? These are some of the questions I have asked myself as a parent and these are all guilt experiences that most parents have expressed, in my sessions with them. What I have learnt along the way is that it is not about blame or fault-finding but about taking responsibility.

Therefore, I am going to kick-start my first piece in trying to help parents, carers, and those who are involved in caring for children and young people, by focusing on a couple of steps to turn our mistakes around. It all starts with forgiveness. In forgiving ourselves we can move forward to better caring for and understanding others with a fresh perspective.

The basis of forgiving oneself is the kindness and compassion of God for us in Christ Jesus (Eph:4:32). Therefore, with Jesus as the teacher and guide let me take you through a couple of steps that takes the blame out of the situation and help focus on the path towards the fresh perspective. Firstly, it is important to forgive oneself for the flaring of temper; for being inconsistent with discipline; for the child’s behaviour during tough times; for doing too much for your child; for setting ineffective consequences; and so on. The starting point of forgiving ourselves is to experience God’s forgiveness. Therefore, let us first “put on then as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience, bearing with one another and if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other as the Lord has forgiven, so you must also forgive”. (Colossians 3:12-13).

I leave you with the above narrative and will continue to unpack some problem solving skills in my next article. Until then, take care and God bless.

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