Monday, February 27, 2012

When people want change

February brings memories of the historical EDSA revolution that put Corazon Aquino as Philippine's first woman president, throwing out of office Ferdinand Marcos who ruled the country under dictatorship. This makes me realize that when people put their mind and hearts together towards a specific goal, they can get the change they want. People can be the change they want to be.

Two weeks ago, I went to order my lunch at a fastfood in front of DLS-CSB. I was craving for salad. I wanted to take out a pack of it along with some chicken and fries. I was aware of the Zero-styro campaign of the school, so I checked with the service crew if their salad is packed with styro. Unfortunately it is.

The manager approached me, and offered her apology, although she told me, that they have fully noted the school's campaign. I notice that their cupboards are filled with boxes for the chicken and their other products. The manager explained that they are still exploring other packaging products for the salad in accomodation of the school's zero-styro campaign.

I left the fastfood with products not packed in styro. Although I was starving, I could not stop thinking that people have the power to create the change they want. I ask: "how come the school can have influence to the stores around the campus?" Then I realized that majority of these stores' customers are students, faculty and personnel of the two La Sallian Schools. While there were no legislations on zero-styro use, the stores were just compelled by the simple law of supply and demand.

The schools may have not demanded anything from these stores, but the La Sallians took a strong stand against styro-use. The stores adjusted to that. This is the same with the fastfoods in Muntinlupa City. However, it was because of a city ordinance that stores were compelled to stop using plastic bags. Stores in this city now use paper bags instead of plastic. There was change in the stores practices that have implications to how people think about the environment, and so in their consuming behavior.

In my illustrations, power to change consumer behavior resulted from a community commitment and legal dispositions. Even without a legislation, a community can be organized and committed to change that have impact on businesses and our personal behaviors. Through legislation, the larger community can benefit from change in our daily practices. In both illustrations, commitment to change for protecting our environment becomes possible.

When people want to change, change can happen. People must want that change first and make sure that the change they want will benefit the community. How I wish to see that more people will commit to change their wrong mindsets about the environment and be more active in stirring the change towards a more positive attitude and relevant actions for the environment.

Monday, February 13, 2012

If God is Love

Last Sunday, while I was listening to the celebrant's homily about Jesus healing the leper, my mind was drifting with a thought of human suffering in this world. While God's presence is felt, experienced and manifested in some people's lives, I ask what about in the lives of those who suffer? If God is love, where is God's love in the life of the sick, the poor, the victims of injustice, the unloved, the unwanted and the dying?

I recalled the anecdote of the barber who doesn't believe in God. Then, I realized that in God's great scheme of things, there is a purpose for everything.There is purpose in unbelief, that faith shall be known. There is purpose in darkness, that light shall shine. There is purpose in sickness, that there shall be healing. There is purpose in injustice, that we shall seek righteousness. There is purpose in being unloved, that we may know of compassion. There is purpose in being unwanted, that we may understand kindness. There is purpose in dying, that we may find eternal life.

There is purpose, I guess, in all the human suffering in this world. However, the understanding of that purpose only comes in the light of knowing who God is in our lives. Jesus healed the leper who came to him, and all those who were suffering and called in His name in faith were relieved of their pains. That's God's love. It reaches those who seek for it and believe in it. And, those who believe share it with others in their everyday encounter with people in this life.

The God I believe is merciful and kind, just and righteous, magnificent and wonderful, kind and generous, and slow to anger. He sees the heart of his children, and in Jesus God sees his own. Thus, those who live in faith in His Son find the joy and love in God, amidst all sufferings. They see the light, even in the darkness of life. They have something to hope for, when everything seems to crumble. They feel secure and never anxious, for they know things shall find their places and everything will end well. My God is infinite in love.

I too suffered. Seven years ago, depression got me break down, and doctors thought that I would be forever dependent on medication, if I don't want a relapse. I took their advise for a few months. But, I clinged on to God and patiently waited for healing. Everyday I would pray that God bless the medicine I took, until a time came that I have to demonstrate my faith. I stopped the medication, instead had a doze of God's word daily and I filled my mind with God's promise. I thought, sickness could not break me down, for God is my rock; but I would If I did not let go and let God. And, God had His way in me.

I was fatherless at 8. We were poorer than the mice. My mom had no good education to get her full employment. All my father left us was a junk car we could barely sell for a penny. My older siblings then did not finish college to get better jobs, instead they opted to have their own families,which left me, my mother, my sister with a broken back, and our family-adopted younger sibling to God's care. Our house squat in a lot we don't even know of the owner, but we've been threatened for eviction from it several times. Yet, God put us through in all of those days.

It's valentines day today. I had been asked several times who my date was. I replied, what is valentines anyway? We can love 575,600 minutes of our lives in a year. Loving should never cease in just a day. I am happy as I am, for I know God is loving me from since the day I was conceived and until eternity. That's a sure promise that I hold in my heart. With that I am so grateful, and in return for that favor which I can never compensate, I love.

I love the family God gave me. I love the people where God put me to work with. I love the students that God put me with respnsibility to teach. I love my friends whom God brings to be at my side to share my joy and pains. I love my mentors whom God blessed with knowledge that I can learn from. I love my work, for the fruits of my labor are my offering to God. I love as much I could in everything that I do. With loving others, I also receive their love back. Well, that's basic: do unto others what you want others do unto you. Rephrased: love others and they will love you back. And, when and where there is love: God is.

Happy hearts day everyone!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Trouble with Punctuations

Today, I ran into an argument with a fellow teacher on the use of colon, semicolon and comma in introducing a list. And, I felt really bad about it: that I rested on a wrong assumption; that I dragged another to an argument that compelled her to follow my instruction; and that my wrong assumption was not corrected immediately in that argument.

My assumption was that: "the rule of introducing a long list with a colon that tells of a certain order and sets of elements separated by a comma, also applies in the short list". She had no arguments with my other suggestions in the test she made, but it was in this part that we had taken much time. Yet, at the end I was not convinced, so I insisted on my false belief.

That argument bothered me, so I had to check several references, credible references online. My intent was to know what rule applies in short list introduced by a colon. Aha! I WAS WRONG! Immediately, I sent my colleague a text message, expressing my apology and affirming that she was right all along. I even tried to call her, to sincerely say how sorry I was, but I could not reach her.

I was troubled about dragging someone into argument while my claim was unsupported. I felt anxious of probably making another person believe something that is not following the rules of punctuation. The sense of knowing that I was wrong made me anxious, not just because I held a wrong belief, but because I allowed myself to insist on that wrong belief. What bothered me most is that I was not wise enough to check a credible reference, at the time we were arguing.

That was unscholarly for me. That was unprofessional. That was unforgivable because as an academic I should know what I am saying, my claims should be substantiated by knowledge that is generally acceptable. Perhaps, what brought me to check some references was that argument implied a conflict in knowledge. To resolve it needs a mediator and that is a valid and reliable source of information.

That argument on the troublesome use of punctuation, raised so many questions about myself: my integrity as a senior teacher, as learner myself, and as a person. Had I been close minded? Had I been so opinionated? Had I been conceited of my learning? Had I not been listening well? Had I been egotistic? Or was I was just not challenged to consider another's position? That again was a concern to me. I wish I were I just burnt out and demented to be unknowing of my mistake.

Prudence dictates my life that wisdom is above knowledge. Hence, I desire truth and knowledge, credence and validity, trust and integrity, responsibility and self-regulation. However, at the time I should be wise, I rested on a wrong belief and argued instead. Neither, I nor her sought a credible reference to mediate between our conflicting views. Thus, I was not corrected immediately.

As I desire truth and knowledge, at the moment I was unwise, no wiser advice came to my assistance. It was rather late for my initiative to find truth in knowledge. The argument is over, yet I still feel the guilt of being unwise. I feel bad of my unknowing self. I feel sorry that I was stubborn. I feel anxious of not being corrected by someone who at her behest knows of truth.

In this troublesome use of punctuation, the lessons I learned: when unsure, check with a credible reference; when wrong, humbly accept correction and sincerely apologize for the mistake; when right, support the claim with proof; and above all never repeat the same mistake. That I think is the most prudent thing to do when troubled with punctuations. Ouch!