Bernardo M. Villegas
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It All Begins At Home

          “It all begins at home!”  That is the introductory title of a brochure announcing a Certificate Program on Family Life Education being launched sometime early next year by the Institute for Marriage and Family Development (IMFD) of the University of Asia and the Pacific. Underlining the obvious, those who are running the Program comment “It is an understatement to say that the Filipino family, as in the rest of the world, is in crisis.  Family breakdown; anti-birth and anti-life ideologies and practices; misconceptions on sexuality are becoming more and more a common fare in both rural and urban settings.”   Not everything is dark, however.  There are still clear signs among a good number of individuals and families of fidelity to life, conversions, forgiveness and redemption.  At bottom, reason for optimism is that while times change, humanity remains the same.  There are innate longings for the good in a human being that can be nurtured with the appropriate parental practices, bolstered by other mentors such as teachers and peer coaches.

         Strongly founded on at least sixteen years of research on family dynamics in the Philippines, the course curriculum aims to equip the participants with the content and pedagogy of teaching the dynamics of family life in the school, corporate, or community settings.  It is intended for parent and instructional leaders/facilitators; university academics; corporate human development educators; and community catalysts, whether government or church-based.  Since the family is the basic unit of society, IMFD also benefits from a half century of research of the Center for Research and Communication (precursor of the University of Asia and the Pacific) on the socio-economic environment in the Philippines over the last fifty years.  IMFD is a catalyst institute of the UA&P seeking inter-organizational synergy among entities working towards the same goal, i.e. family development.  The institutional difference of the IMFD is the sector it addresses:  educators of educators of family.

         One of the organizations with which IMFD is closely coordinating in the mission of family development is a professional outfit called EMR Catalyst for Professional Development Services that is focused on teaching and parenting for character formation.  This professional development services organization is bringing to Manila the most respected authority in the world today on character formation:  Dr. Michele Borba, author of 24 best-selling books on parenting and teaching for character.  Dr. Borba is an internationally recognized expert and author on children, teens, painting, blind and moral development.  Her work aims to help strengthen children’s character and resilience, build strong families, create compassionate and just school cultures, and reduce peer cruelty.  Her practical, research-based advice is called from a career of working with over one million parents and educators world-wide.  She has presented keynote addresses throughout North America, Europe, Asia and the South Pacific and has served as a consultant to hundreds of schools, parent organizations and corporations on bullying prevention, character formation, and raising strong, caring kids.  Dozens of major corporations have tapped her services as media spokesperson.

         On December 1 and 2, 2017, in two separate venues, Dr. Borba will be the main speaker in an International Conference on Character: “Unselfie:  Developing Character Among Today’s All-About-Me-World Generation.”  In these conferences (one at the University of Asia and the Pacific and the others at the Samsung Hall, SM Aura, Taguig City), Dr. Borba will pinpoint the forces that are causing an empathy and moral crisis and share research-based steps on how to reverse it.  Her talk is designed to help educators, parents and family advocates to raise empathetic and morally-intelligent youth and create more caring community environments—the antidote to the self-absorbed, consumerist world we live in today.  First, there will be a special exclusive session for school heads, free of charge, at the University of Asia and the Pacific at 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, December 1, 2017.  Following this exclusive session, there will be two other sessions at the SM Aura in Taguig on December 2, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon (for teachers, parents and other educators) which will require a participation fee of P500 per individual. 

            Those who are interested in attending the various sessions may email or call 0908 864 8491.  Parents, teachers, human resource managers and others involved in character or values education are encouraged to listen to Dr. Borba who can give very practical advice on how to build strong characters, especially among the Z generation, those born after 2000 and who are most exposed to the all-about-me culture in this digital world in which we live. The conference is also of great relevance to the Y generation or the Millennials who are the young parents most in need of guidance on how to bring up their children in todays’ rapidly changing environment. For comments, my email address is