Breakfast with Edric and Joy Mendoza
We had the opportunity to chat with Edric and Joy Mendoza, leaders in the area of marriage and family, over breakfast in Manila.
Story by Brave Senior Writer Yen Cabag
As my husband and I walked into the spacious and warm-lighted lobby of Seda Hotel in Bacolod City, I smoothed down my blazer, thankful for the almost-spontaneous meetup. We had attended a homeschool seminar called “Why I Homeschool” the day before, and slipped an invitation letter for an interview to Edric Mendoza, who had been sitting at the back while the preliminaries were going on. I had stolen glances as he quickly perused the letter, then whipped out his phone, typed something, and scrolled down. My fingers were crossed throughout the whole seminar that he would have some time before heading back to Manila to answer a few of my questions.
Edric and Joy Mendoza and their brood of 6 children are one of the most prominent images of a picture-perfect family in the Philippines. Edric’s visibility as a former TV personality, anchoring the show “On the Money” on the Asia News Channel (ANC), and Joy’s well-followed blog “Teach with Joy”, have skyrocketed the family into the consciousness of most families among the upper-middle class across the nation.
Throughout the homeschooling seminar, I was awed by Edric’s engaging communication skills, as he deftly sprinkled anecdotes and transparently shared real-life experiences, including some epic parenting fails and the consequent life-changing lessons they learned. As soon as his talk ended, he approached me and said he could do the interview over breakfast the next day.
So here we were, being ushered into the cafe area of one of the nicest hotels in the city, where a sumptuous buffet was spread. I quickly sent a text message letting Edric know we were there. A few minutes later, he arrived with his eldest son Elijah, a lanky sixteen-year-old boy with a ready smile on his still baby-smooth face.
“Sorry we’re a bit late,” Edric says. “Joy will be down in a minute, she’s just cleaning up Caylee.” Caylee is their few-months-old baby girl, whom we had seen happily snuggling in the carrier the three of them took turns with during the seminar. “Do you mind if we just go and get our food?”
“No worries.” My husband and I had eaten sandwiches on our drive over, so I set up my laptop and looked forward to capturing every detail of our talk.
Soon they were back: Edric’s plate comprised of a garden salad and a few strips of bacon, while Elijah’s was clearly a growing boy’s plate, with meat and other tasty treats.
Edric started the conversation by asking about us, and we made small talk about Iloilo City, where we are from. Apparently, he had never been to Iloilo City, but he says they are slowly moving into a season of more travel — “as soon as we stabilize our baby,” he remarks.
Building their own marriage and family was the first step
As we had limited time to meet (Joy was giving another talk to women that same morning), we plunged into my list of questions. First, how did the Lord call them into this ministry to families?
“Let me qualify: ministry is every work we do for the Lord, whether under a church organization or not,” he explained. “So using that definition, our ministry of family primarily started for us when we got married. Even as we started discipling, we wanted to make sure that in our marriage we did things right, so we attended a series of workshops in our church.
As they learned from others, they started a series (together with friends in the wedding photography industry and their church discipleship group) called “Before I Do.” After running this course repeatedly, they added an “After I Do” course to equip couples after they get married.
At the same time, Edric and Joy kept adding to their number of children. They continued to attend workshops in the church and pass on what they learned to other parents. Soon, they started getting invited to speak, beginning with Joy’s parents bringing them around the world for family workshops and events. This included events that were outside the usual Christian circles.
“We really want to focus on young families, to be able to prevent problems by building strong foundations in families right at the root. We believe an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Families start with marriage,” Edric shares. “We were able to look at research that was done—the top 10 issues facing the modern family today can be condensed into three main areas: marriage, parenting, and money.”
“We really want to focus on young families, to be able to prevent problems by building strong foundations in families right at the root. We believe an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” – Edric Mendoza
And this has become their platform, in different formats: speaking, writing, and engaging online in these areas of expertise. They have the aforementioned “Before and After I Do” series for marriage equipping, “Counterflow” for parenting, and they partner with other influential people in the realm of finance. In fact, Edric’s TV stint was on an ANC business show, but his underlying motivation was to help families learn from that and inject principles of financial success into family life.
An unconventional approach to education opens doors to reach families
With their focus on family, Edric and Joy became convinced of the effectiveness of home-schooling. Being a homeschooling family expanded their avenue of impacting families, and they recently co-wrote a book, “Why Should You Homeschool.” Their vision is summed up quickly in the statement, “Changing the world one family at a time.”
With Edric now being the President/CEO of Homeschool Global, they have clearly further extended their reach. Homeschool Global is the leading homeschool provider in the Philippines, serving a clientele not only within the country but even among the overseas Filipino working population. The organization has been seen as one of the main driving forces for making homeschooling less of a taboo in a country that greatly values good quality education—which people traditionally believe can only be received in prestigious schools.
Joy, having been homeschooled when she was young, knew from the start that she wanted to homeschool her children. But Edric went into it with clear doubts, having come from generations of alumni at Ateneo, one of the most prestigious schools in the Philippines.
He and Joy started with a compromise for their oldest son, Elijah; they would send him to a brick-and-mortar preschool two days a week and homeschool him the other half of the week. By the end of the first semester, Elijah expressed his desire to be homeschooled full-time.
Since then, each of the remaining 5 Mendoza children were homeschooled, and Joy chronicles her journeys in homeschooling in her blog, “Teach With Joy.” Her posts are a great encouragement to Filipino moms, both those who homeschool and those who don’t. The Mendozas’ commitment to spend time with their family inspires other families to be more intentional at forming heart connections with their children, too.
In fact, this is one of the core messages that underlie the seminars that Edric and Joy conduct for the homeschooling community in the Philippines. They have a stronger focus on the “why” rather than the “what” and “how.” They normally spend a lot of time establishing the different reasons why people homeschool, and also sharing their own commitment to see change.
Personal Stories that Make a Difference
Both in their seminars and their video blogs, the Mendoza couple also shares countless stories of their interactions with their children, with a transparency and vulnerability that greatly encourages their listeners. In fact, they have learned to laugh at themselves, while learning important life lessons, and helping their audience or those they mentor relate to and admit to their own needs.
For example, at the homeschool seminar the day before, Edric recounted an incident during their second son Edan’s “rite of passage” trip to Taiwan with other father-son pairs; the hiking expedition ended with a frantic search for Edan, who had wandered off from the group.
Edric candidly, and with clear humor at himself, expressed his tumultuous thought processes, not all of which were calm or kind. He recounted that when he finally heard a loudspeaker announcing a lost boy looking for Edric, he was tempted to give the boy a piece of his mind.
But he felt the Lord correcting him, ‘Don’t scold him. Hug him.” He obeyed, and it released a breakthrough between father and son that could not have been concocted by human plans.
These and other stories are what Edric and Joy have no qualms about sharing during their talks.
Join us next week for the second part of our breakfast conversation with Edric and Joy Mendoza, as Joy joins us and candidly shares some of the challenges the Mendoza family have had to overcome. For more information on the Mendoza family and their ministry, check out the Homeschool Global website and Joy’s blog “Teach with Joy”.