Marrying a Filipina, Moving Back to the USA, & Becoming a Father: Interview with Kevin Sanders

I have crossed paths with Pastor Kevin Sanders in the Philippines before we moved to the United States in 2015. He was a missionary and worked with youth and students in Manila and in Pampanga. He has lived in the Philippines for a total of 11 years! He can also understand and speak Tagalog. Interestingly, he is also friends with Melvin Guerrero, who I interviewed in an earlier blog post and video.

In this interview, Kuya Kevin and I talk about many things:

  • his experience as an American missionary in the Philippines;
  • how he met his wife in the Philippines, got married, and moved back to the US;
  • what he has learned after being married to a Filipina;
  • what it is like becoming a father, and raising a biracial kid; and
  • some nuances and corrections about perceptions on American family culture, as well as some challenges he has seen among families of overseas Filipinos.

Connect with Kevin online

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Fatherhood & Raising Kids: Conversation with Pastor Caloy Dino

I planned to post a few interviews with fathers sometime in 2020. But, as with many things lately, life happened! My schedule had severely changed with the coming of our third son, the pandemic, and working from home. A number of personal projects needed to take a backseat. Oh, and I have many stories about managing family life with my wife Cha! Having three young boys is a handful! But those stories need to wait. Thankfully, I found some time recently and now I am posting the first in a series of posts about fatherhood with this interview with Pastor Caloy Diño.

Who is Kuya Caloy Dino?

Kuya Caloy Dino served with several Christian organizations in the Philippines: Far Eastern Broadcasting Company (FEBC), Global Filipino Movement, and at the Center for Community Transformation. Prior to entering full-time ministry, he was a marketing consultant and worked with some of the top companies in the Philippines. He is married and has three kids.

He and I worked together on projects several years ago for Christian radio station FEBC and with other initiatives and social media training for churches and Christian organizations in the Philippines. We also got together regularly with other like-minded folks, sharing stories and ideas on how to make the world a better place.

In this video, we talk about fatherhood and the challenges of raising kids, juggling time for work, ministry, and family. Enjoy!

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A Review of My mid- to late Thirties!

I turned thirty in 2012. It was a huge milestone. I didn’t become depressed or anything. But I remember feeling reflective about my life so far, what I have accomplished, and what the future holds for me. 

By the end of 2012, it was a few weeks before my 2nd year anniversary with my lovely wife. We didn’t have a child back then and we were renting an apartment in Anahaw Street, Project 7 in Quezon City in the Philippines. 

Although we didn’t have a child yet, we were taking care of three college-age young men–my younger brother Aaron, her brother Chad, and her cousin King. It was fun albeit chaotic sometimes. 

I am in my late thirties–and I will reach the big 4-0 in 2022. That’s two years from when I’m writing this post. It’s good to look back and review the milestones of the decade of my thirties. 

Here’s a list of how my life changed, including some achievements! 

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Wanna be a father?… “You lose a book for every child…”

After having two kids, and another one on the way, by now, I should be a better father–accepting both the blessings and limitations imposed by being a father.

I have yet to reach 40. To be honest, I still am adjusting to this role. After all, fatherhood is a process–a life stage. And every life stage takes getting used to. Some of these stages are easier to transition to than others.

Success, Achievement, and Fatherhood

Elsewhere in this blog, I have written about the price of success and achievement and how Steve Jobs focused on his career to the detriment of his relationship with his daughter.

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Moving to the USA? Teach Your Child the Filipino Language First

Our son Malcolm was a few months short of two years when we started planning for our move to the USA.

We decided to start talking to him mainly in English to help him prepare for the transition since he will be surrounded by English-speaking Americans.

Nope, that is not how it turned out. We were wrong.

Teach Filipino first!

Looking back, the same reasoning would have helped our son acquire Filipino as a mother-tongue first. Since he’s surrounded by English-speaking people–in church, at school, and in our neighborhood he could easily pick the language up.

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Sometimes fatherhood feels like pulling your own teeth with pliers

At Malcolm’s karate class last week I saw a dad packing up his 5-year old son’s karate gear while asking his 3-year old daughter to wear her jacket and come to him. Good thing, his other child, an infant, quietly waited in the car seat.

He almost lost his cool toward his daughter. He raised his voice–almost a yell. Perhaps being in public helped him rein in his temper.

I’ve been in that position, too.

Being a father sometimes feel like pulling your own teeth with pliers.

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Biggest Surprise of the Year: We’re Pregnant (again)!

Before getting married, Cha and I have decided that we could have 2-3 kids. And that the ideal would be 2: a boy and a girl. So far, God blessed us with two energetic boys!

Even before Caspian’s birth last year, we talked about the possibility of having a third child.

If we were in the Philippines, we would have readily welcomed a third child. Alas, we are in the USA where healthcare is expensive, heck, pretty much everything is expensive! So, we thought that two is probably going to be the maximum number of kids for us.

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Parenting Tips: Lessons from three TED Talks

It’s not easy being a father. I thought I had issues with my dad while growing up. But now that I am a father of two sons, I understand how difficult it could be, and how I could easily make mistakes, too.

Here’s a few lessons about being a dad from a few TED Talks.

Glen Henry: It’s Okay not to know a lot of things about being a dad.

I may not be a stay-at-home dad, but Glen Henry’s talk resonated with me.

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Being parents of young kids can be overwhelming

It’s 12:46 am and we have just finished folding and packing away our laundry. We moved to a new apartment barely a week ago, so the house is still a mess.

We are slowly bringing order to our stuff. In 2015, my wife, son, and I arrived with five large suitcases and two boxes. Four years later, we have enough stuff to fill a three-bedroom apartment!

I didn’t mean to write about moving–though I have moved houses more than I care for since I was a child. But this just goes to show how hectic life could be with two young kids at home.

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