• Beginnings and beyond . . .

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    HAPPY New Year! Where to from today, 2016 and beyond? Today, being associated with resolutions, let’s search the web for some quotes – not those on transforming one’s self from being a weakling to being a pillar of strength — but more about those on the wisdom of beginnings and beyond.

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    Would our destinies take a sharp turn, now that country ministers of ASEAN 2015 resolved to foster “inclusive economies, to build a better world?” We wonder what awaits us after today — not because the future has been determined for us, but because decisions we would make today and onward would cast either light or shadow on our lives.

    What shall tomorrow bring? Alea iacta est. The die is cast. We are signatory to a pact for vibrant trade and commerce and peace and prosperity even as we stand guard to a border problem that has won us international advocates. As we reconcile territorial differences, we have kept our integrity within the family of nations, invoking judgment of world instrumentalities. May our exemplary stance discourage further provocations of a neighbor for what we believe, as the rest of the free world believes, that no country can claim ownership of entire waterways.

    As K-12 comes in full swing, we look forward to develop and sustain our human capital ; hope for vibrant and highly competent governance and management in both public and private sectors of human activity; help “build sustainable and resilient communities;” do our share to help enhance “regional economic integration.” http://www.gov.ph/featured/aelm.

    On a personal note, today, we resolve to mend tattered friendships, renew relationships, we wish to keep. We express our appreciation to those whose friendships gave more substance to our lives, thank them for their many kindnesses. For what, beyond today, our decisions will bring upon us — as individuals and as a people, we hope for the good we shall bring to our families and to all of the free world — especially to the millions peopling the lower depths of human life.

    On the usual focus of New Year resolutions in the web, let’s have several of such. Quotes for the literati as well as for the ordinary reader abound. This hyperlink <http: //www. 123newyear.com/newyear-resolutions/> advises us to assess our last year’s New Year resolution as to what extent we did accomplish it and if we didn’t, what hindered us. Will we make excuses for what we were not able to do for the year just passed, because we were terribly busy? Some alibi that H. Jackson Brown Jr. won’t buy: “Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Mother Teresa, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”

    So, even as we stand vigil for 2015 to slip away, being assured that great deeds were done with as much time we had, shall we then resolve to hurry? The Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin offers us advice in Hearts on Fire “Above all, trust in the slow work of God. We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay; your ideas mature gradually . . . let them grow, let them shape themselves, without undue haste.” <http://www. gnatianspirituality.com/8078/prayer-of-theilhard-de-chardin#s thash.m0qC8BqI.dpuf>

    Choosing another hyperlink, we find New Year resolutions expressed in metaphors. Metaphors express what our finite tongue cannot. They describe our pictures of reality. And as one writer says, they also perpetuate our biases. Here are two New Year metaphors. The Scottish scientist to whom we owe the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, calls our attention that “ When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” <http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/alexanderg409116.html# LZx7F6Vf2 BkmXpD.99>. In a more straightforward tone Taylor Swift writes: “This is a new year. A new beginning. And things will change.”C.S.Lewis Life’s Little Instructions further assures us for what lies beyond today: “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”

    Another metaphor compares life’s journey proceeding from New Year to a sidewalk of rough and smooth slabs — a slab for “each year in our lives (has) a story to tell. Although it’s anyone’s guess what it might be, it appears likely that each section of this sidewalk experienced some individually unique stresses, leading to its individual array of cracks, chunks and deformities.”<http://heartandcraft.blogspot.com/2012/01/metaphor-for-new-year. html>.

    As the clock ushers in 2016, we resolve to do that change we wish to make. We turn to a La Sallian prayer – “Let me be the change I want to see, to do with strength and wisdom all that needs to be done…And become the hope that I can be.” Chunks on the rough slabs of our journey won’t weaken our resolve! “Even if I’m not the light I can be the spark in faith, service and communion, let us start the change we want to see. The change that begins in me.”(For the complete prayer, visit http://www.beneavin.com/mission-statement/john-baptist -de-la-salle/lasallian-prayers/.)

    Finally, one other resolution we need to make is to start re-reading the Book that we leafed through ages ago, that we may have set aside for twitter, face book, linked in, and a score of other social media. These holy pages of God’s word shall help us transcend our mortal-hood, even as we shall strive to model ourselves after the Greatest Teacher of them all. Happy New Year!

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    Teresita Tanhueco-Tumapon,PhD, is one of the Philippines’ most accomplished educators and experts on institutional management in colleges and universities. Her studies have included not only education and pedagogy but also literature. She has studied not only in the topmost universities in the Philippines but also in Germany, Britain and Japan. She is now the Vice-President for External Relations and Internationalization of Liceo de Cagayan University (in Cagayan de Oro) after serving as its VP for Academic Affairs for six and a half years concurrent to her ten years as dean in the Graduate Studies of the same university. She holds a Lifetime Professional Achievement Award from the central office of the Commission on Higher Education.

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