I sit here reflecting, reminiscing about my school days. Yet rather than be filled with nostalgia, I am instead shaking my head in disbelief, feeling sad over the recent incident involving another branch of the same cluster of schools. It is the school where I graduated elementary from.
I can choose to just be angry and furious at the display of lack of respect and consideration that the concerned nuns have exhibited. I can choose to view the incidents from a victim perspective and feel sorry and helpless. I can choose to feast on and be swallowed by the negative energies surrounding and resulting from these incidents.
But I am choosing to see things from a higher perspective. I am choosing to be grateful that I am given the opportunity to take back the power that I had given away to school authorities during my childhood and school days. I am now gifted with the chance to assert myself, fight for my human rights, and do what I can to be accorded the respect and consideration that is deserving of any human being.
As these events are unfolding, I am reparenting my inner child and telling my little Nadine,
“It is time for you to be given the voice, to be heard and to not just blindly and obligingly follow school authority figures.”
The unholy hours of the construction project
The residential complex where I live is located right next to the school. They have a major construction project that has been going on for more than a year.
Beginning November 2011, construction work continued beyond decent hours — until ten o’clock in the evening, weekends, Sundays and holidays. There were evenings when work continued beyond ten o’clock, reaching until almost twelve midnight. There were even times when delivery trucks would arrive at two and three o’clock in the morning! We’ve been told that the extended, odd hours were because they had a deadline, the blessing of the building on the Feast of the Immaculate Concepcion, December 8.
I thought that the extended work period was only for their December 8 deadline. Yes, partial blessing took place on that day. But there is more work that is unfinished and to this day, work continues beyond decent hours.
The management and security people of our complex have been coordinating with the school’s project team. I’ve been told that each time they had a dialogue, the response they were given was, “Wala kaming magagawa, utos po ni Sister eh” (There isn’t much we can do. We are only following orders from Sister [the school president]). They have also been denied of their numerous requests for a meeting with the school president, and were instead always referred to the nun heading the project.
On my end, I have also been communicating, kindly and respectfully, with the high school principal who was also my high school principal. While she isn’t the person in charge of the project, she is my only contact person at the school. I have been requesting her to do what she can to help minimize the disturbance being caused by their construction project. I have also appealed to her if we could just settle things amicably and not have to bring the matter to the barangay level. (A barangay is the smallest political administrative division in the Philippines.) Her standard response was that she was going to convey the message to the nun in charge of the project.
What am I supposed to learn from this?
I have extended as much patience and understanding as I possibly could. It is also worth mentioning that this is the Philippines — issues are addressed and resolved at a much slower pace.
But I am realizing of course that the patience and understanding I extended was beyond, far beyond what the situation called for, or even what is deserving.
The reason there are people who continue to take advantage or be abusive is because there are people who continue to allow themselves to be taken advantage of or be abused.
It is equally as much a lesson for the abused as it is for the abuser. Setting boundaries is one of my lifelong lessons. This situation is one opportunity for me to take the lesson of setting boundaries one step closer to mastering it. Because no matter how you look at it, regardless of their deadline, the hours are simply not acceptable and inexcusable.
What is adding to my sadness, anger, disappointment, frustration and fury is, it is nuns that we are dealing with, the very people who are tasked to, among others, educate the children the value of respect and consideration for others.
So here I am, reconciling the paradox of the current celebration of the school’s 100 years of education in the Philippines and the concerned nuns’ obvious display of lack of respect and consideration for others.
How an individual embodies the Christ/Buddha/Krishna/Divine consciousness, and how close and strong the connection of an individual to Source (God/Spirit/Creator…)is, is not defined or determined by one’s position, status, seniority in or affiliation with any religious institution or spiritual organization.
I have learned that for a long time now. This recent incident only reinforced and reiterated the truth in that belief. And I am so grateful that I have learned to subscribe to such a belief.
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