GOD'S WORD TODAY - Jonjee C. Sumpaico, S.J. () - October 30, 2011 - 12:00am

Cagayan de Oro is one beautiful city that I now call home. It is known in the Philippines as the “City of Golden Friendship.” It has been famous for many attractions like white water rafting, spelunking, and other outdoor adventures. It is also known for its lechon, sinuglaw, cashew and other delectable foods. People flock to this city as it is also the center of education and business in the region.

One thing that I also find interesting in its culture is how words are used by its people. An example of this is the word, “chada.” It is an expression that is used everytime one sees something nice to behold. And what makes it more interesting is that it seems to be derived from a longer word, “pachada” or façade.

It seems apt to look into this world today as Jesus teaches us to look out for the danger of being focused on the outside and failing to look at one’s inner movements. It becomes a warning of holding on to the images of ourselves that we try to project or the approval that other might give in return.

People want to look nice in front of others. People want to be nice towards others as well. But being nice is just one side of the coin. The other side is being good. This is the more difficult part to put into practice as nice is different from good. For in being good, Jesus prescribes to the Pharisees, and also to us, that one ought to humbly practice what one preaches. This is where we may be able to encounter genuine goodness. And being good comes with effort and sacrifice.

In the work of education that I am assigned to right now I have observed that striking the balance of goodness and being nice is even more present.

As I have observed in these past few years, one of the things that have to be taken into account of in one’s work is the notion of getting things done for deadline’s sake. It seems that as we grow up, we show our teachers and superiors the things that they want to see. We are good in filling-in forms, making reports and submitting requirements. And these contribute to the impression that one is good.

In a sense, what has been taught to us as we grow up is the perennial work of compliance. There is good in this as we are to place in our ways of proceeding a certain discipline of getting things done. But can we be good not just for the sake of the image that we project but rather be good for goodness’ sake? Can we be comfortable in being nice when the call for us in education is to be good in what we do?

Being good doesn’t mean that we should be on the top of other school systems of the world. Being good means that we should be humble enough to realize that we, as an educational system, can improve on what we have and be better in what we do.

Awareness then is of exigency in this regard. As a preliminary step towards moving to the better, one has to know the steps that he is taking. With regard to motivations, we might be able to get to the root of things if we are constantly aware of the reasons why things should be done. And knowing is winning half the battle.

Constantly asking the question “why” enables us to look into the reason of the things we do. It is a path towards critical thinking. This plants our feet to the ground. And this constancy assures us of an attitude that makes our responses sharp. This attitude that we take on keeps us all on our toes in the actions that we do.

The Visayan phrase, “hinayhinay, bastakanunay,” best describes the constancy. With a direct translation of, “slow slow, as long as it’s constant,” we can be able to put to practice the things we ought to do. “Why are we doing this?”, “What is she trying to say?”, and “What is the point of the lesson?” are but some questions that we might want to begin with. As long as we constantly ask critical questions and put these into practice, we may be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Yet another question that we can ask is, “Can we afford as a nation to ask these important questions?” Do we make enough time and space for ourselves to sit and contemplate the things we ought to learn? Given that we have one of the fastest school systems in the world, I dare to say, we ought to ask these questions. Having to study ten years instead of the twelve-year world average of other school systems in the world, we run the great temptation of having to produce products from diploma mills. We have to seek the primary motive of education, which is to train ourselves to think, to reflect, to learn and to act.

Hopefully, as we enter the 21st century with our educational system, may we not be preoccupied on how we finished the race so quickly and nicely. Rather, may we be even more conscious of how we are running the race and become closer to the goals that we set in making our nation more inclined to education - that leads us to better opportunities towards peace, hope, and charity among people in our land and the world we live in. Only then can we be able to express, “chada” in a manner that is genuine inside and out.

*      *      *

For feedback on this column, e-mail tinigloyola@yahoo.com

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with