MANILA, Philippines?Twenty-three-year-old Christopher John Alandy-Dy Tiu excels not only in sports, but in academics, too. In 2007, he graduated cum laude with Management Engineering degree from the Ateneo de Manila University. He is taking a second course in Applied Mathematics and Finance.
Despite his success and fame, he?s remained down to earth and humble. How does one raise a young man like him?
In an interview his parents, Jerry and Lianne, gave us some inspiring insights into parenting. I now understand and appreciate how Chris has grown up to be the highly successful yet grounded and admirable young man.
His mother says Chris has always had a boundless energy. At 5, he enjoyed climbing the door frame of his parents? bathroom with his bare hands and feet, like a little Spiderman. His rock-solid Christian values were also formed very early in life.
?When he was 11, he joined the school team representing the country in a basketball tournament in Las Vegas. While the boys were quartered in a motel, one of them accidentally went to an X-rated channel. The next day, the coach found out about it and was so angry. As punishment, the kids were asked to pay for the charged TV show,? Lianne recalled.
?Chris approached me and said that he would not pay for it. I told him it was only fair that all of them paid equally since they all watched. I later found out that he really did not join the group to watch, since he turned his back on the TV and prayed the rosary!?
Being different from his peers in a way made him the object of bullying. But peace-loving that he was, Chris? tactic was to run away as fast as he could, instead of fighting back, until the bullies could no longer catch him.
In a separate interview, Chris said that in the Tiu household, there were set hours for studying, playing, watching TV and playing computer games.
?My parents really instilled in all of us the value of studying and hard work. They would push us to do our best, and as long as they knew we did our best, that would be enough.?
Lianne said that for Jerry and her, the efforts exerted were always more important than the result. Chris added that their mom was very active in helping them with schoolwork.
?We would still have tutors, but she was always there ready to help us, especially in Chinese. She would really take time out to sit down and help us with our lessons.?
One of the striking things Chris told me was how he felt so blessed to have parents who genuinely love each other. To this day, he still sees them showing affection toward one another; he is in awe of how they truly love each other.
?My parents walk their talk. They have shown us kids by example what love is and what good, clean living and hard work is all about. They really take care of each other,? he said.
It is certainly true what they say?the best gift a man can give his children is to love their mother, and vice versa.
Lianne told me it has always been important for her and Jerry to make sure the children see that they love each other.
?I pray a lot for the children. I give a lot of importance in raising them to be men and women of faith, competence and values. For example, I encourage them to receive the sacrament of Confession and we go to Sunday Mass together. I try my best to control the TV shows they watch to make sure they are wholesome. I try to put away immoral reading materials at home. I don?t give them much money, and I try not to spoil them with material goods. I guess they are tired of hearing my advice: If you don?t need them, don?t buy.?
Considering all the good things that have come his way, it amazes me how Chris remains grounded in a world where fame, power and fortune can easily corrupt men or women his age.
I asked Lianne why she thought Chris has remained grounded.
?I think he has taken our advice to heart, something we tell our children all the time: ?Much is given to you, much will be asked of you (from God).? We try to remind him to thank God for all his talents and gifts (for without Him, he can do nothing) and to repay Him by loving Him and helping others.?
With media, fans and the brands he endorses lavishing him with attention, praise and material things, sometimes they worry for him. However, she and Jerry continue to remind him that fame is fleeting.
?We always tell him that what is important is not the applause of people but the approval of God. Even if he scores high in his studies or in sports, but is not at peace with our Lord, then his efforts are wasted. On the other hand, he may perform poorly in whatever activity, but if he is in a state of grace and it is offered to God, then he will always come out a ?winner? in God?s eyes.?
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