On Raising Awareness

On raising awareness, more than just having an educated society. On learning, more than just knowing. On reaching out, more than just talking.

Education. Are the teachers the only ones responsible for the quality of education that we receive? Who are the teachers? Technically, those who possess a degree in relation thereto and are able to pass the requisite board exams. But are we not teachers, as loosely as the term may apply, in the greater scheme of things?

When a child misbehaves, one would say “wala guid na siya gin tudluan sang iya ginikanan,” or “ah kay dira siya naghalin na eskwelahan,” or “ah kay amo na iya relihiyon,” etc.

Education. In its strictest sense, is what we receive when we go to school. But is not going to church a form of education too? Any church for that matter. Whether you may be a Catholic, an Orthodox, a Baptist, An Episcopalian, a Protestant, a Shiite Muslim, an Anglican, a Hindu, a Buddhist, a Sunni Muslim. Regardless. Are not our church leaders, teachers? Do they not “teach” us of the teachings of the church and the general world of ethics and morality?

Here is where proficiency and discernment come in. Not to sound too harsh, but sometimes in small towns, even church leaders are small- in mind, in spirit, in language, in ethics. Sad fact. Which, by the way, proves to be more of a disservice to members of the congregation. In their limited capacity and limited experience, they may speak of words in their most literal sense and miss the fine points of mercy and compasssion (among others). Thereby, causing confusion and misunderstanding.

Take the case of a simpleton, whose parents decided not to send her to school because it would be more burdensome. Her being the sixth of eight children, or more. It seems that a person tends to be more gullible when s/he does not know, is not aware. And in their gullibility, they experience fear. Imagine this person, not having gone through formal education but is able to perform all hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, annual religious appointments to the dot.

Imagine her receiving a lopsided view of what the Word is thought to be, personally (and literally), by the one who preaches. Imagine her receiving a distorted view of what the Word is thought to be, because the one who preaches it has more ego than self. Imagine her not receiving anything at all, because her desire to learn is undermined by another’s belief of self-importance.

In her hunger for education, in her gullibity, in her fear, she absorbs what is spoken like a sponge placed directly on the bottom of an open faucet. What kind of education then are we giving, not to the few who are able attend formal school, but to the less fortunate ones who are born to be simpletons and remain to be simpletons- merely learning from experiences?

How do we raise awareness, and create more than just an educated society? How do we promote learning, and more than just knowing? How do we reach out, and more than just talk?

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