MY FEASTER friends often call me their mentor. Frankly, I’m queasy about being called that. It smacks of a vertical teacher-student relationship where the teacher is the font of knowledge and the students are empty vessels ready to receive wisdom on a one-way street.
Unless mentoring is based on the relation of Jesus with other people when He shared his life with others, listened and asked a lot of questions, applied Scripture to the lives of those around Him, or lovingly corrected and guided his disciples.
As a child of the 1980s, education for me should be a process of communal construction in which teachers and students are engaged in a dialogical process open to mutual learning.
As a mediator, prayer guide and the Editor-in-Chief of The Feast Bacolod Bulletin (TFBB), I call for the publication of a weekly newsletter as a reflection of a witnessing church.
That means Feasters not only read the word but also read the world thru the eyes of faith in promoting conscientization a popular word among the Catholic Church Negrense circuit when faith and human rights started to intersect.
The formation of critical consciousness allows Feasters especially those who participate in the Prayer and Life Workshops, to examine, reflect and meditate—to read their world—in their relationship with God, their fellow human beings, and with themselves, with the goal of acting as subjects in the creation of a Christian community.
In TFBB, contributors share stories of their relationships with themselves who flirted with death thru suicide, lost childhoods, sexual abuse, unemployment, estrangement with parents or spouses—in other words, the nitty-gritty of human existence.
With Prayer and Life Workshop, participants learned to intercept the arrows from other persons who have harmed them or conjure up the betrayals, injustices, contempt, misunderstanding they have experienced. They learned that their dissatisfaction depends on what others did to them but on the importance they give these vexations.
No, they do not become the three monkeys who do not see, hear or speak evil as responses. They learn to practice the serenity prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”
They do not become fatalists but activists for things they can change but realists on accepting what they cannot change like their pasts by praying “I leave him in your hands.”
But I agree with Proverbs 9:9: “Give instruction to a wise man and he will be still wiser, Teach a righteous man and he will increase his learning.”
This implies that we-including-the-wisest—can learn from each other.