Back to Homeschool Week: Getting Out There

8 Aug

Coming from another continent, I have noticed that in this country, there is a norm to fill the calendar, to keep everyone occupied and enriched- in every kind of activities you could imagine. Not that I’m against activities and enrichment programs. On the contrary, we have our own share.

In my heart I am longing for simplicity. Going back to the basic. I remember as a kid in the Philippines climbing on trees, playing in the rain, walking on the beach and collecting shells, making our own toys, and dancing in the moonlight. Now, when I tell the kids to just go outside, sometimes I could read eyes inquiring- “and do what?

Socialization is not an issue for us, but I also long for certain relationships- for me and my husband, and for the children. I yearn fellowship.

Taking the children to their activities is usually plain sacrifice to me. Not because it requires of my time, but because I often get reminded that we could not assimilate without people first getting over the fact that though we look different, there is always common ground. My children, though born in this country and had never lived outside of it, face the same challenges. Life continues, but that’s all that it is- “getting out there.”

And what about community? I was raised where community matters more than activity. I remember walking to the neighbors’ house just to visit, or to check if the elderly needed any help. I recollect running errands for just about anybody when they are busy preparing for an event or a gathering. Anyone from the Philippines would know the phrase “bayanihan system,” which is described here as a practice of helping each other without expecting anything, especially money, in return. Bayanihan signifies a strong sense of community and aims at seeking the welfare not only of one’s self but that of the larger community.

And yes, everybody knows your name.

I would like to be able to teach my kids that sense of community. Yet, I don’t even see my neighbors. We do what we can. We are involved in a ministry at church, even our daughter. There are so many opportunities out there to be of service to others. All we need to do is step out. But for that sense of community that’s pictured in my mind to be a reality, it would take a lot more.

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12 Responses to “Back to Homeschool Week: Getting Out There”

  1. Shawn Powers August 8, 2007 at 10:39 am #

    I know EXACTLY what you mean. Well, maybe not exactly, because I grew up in inner city Detroit, but I understand your desire for simplicity.

    We too want that sense of community, and our church is the only place we find it. Even that, however, isn’t quite what I mean. Church folks, while great, also live far away. I don’t know many of my neighbors, and those I do know, I like very little.

    I’m a technology director by trade, and our lives are full of cellphones, laptops, satellite TV, soccer, softball, etc. There is a huge part of me that desires a cabin in the middle of the Canadian wilderness. From the description of your family, you guys are welcome to be our neighbors — because I like the idea of being good neighbors just because it’s the right thing to do!

    I love the “bayanihan system.” Thank you for sharing, and thank you for a wonderful post.

    -Shawn

  2. Sheri August 8, 2007 at 10:53 am #

    I know what you mean, we are very family focussed. Someone else had a similar post discussing community. How interesting that you both mentioned something that’s been on my heart.

  3. yielded August 8, 2007 at 10:56 am #

    Shawn, too funny that you are here while I was reading and leaving a comment on your blog.

    Thank you so much! I’m glad that we are welcome up there, but moving to another place that gets as cold as MN is not one of the plans.

    Flo- who’s just nodding while reading your comment.

  4. yielded August 8, 2007 at 11:10 am #

    Sheri,
    I was reluctant to write on today’s topic, because of those things that are in my heart, then I thought why not use that to throw in a different perspective?

    I’m glad I could point to something that’s already planted. Thank you for your comment:)

  5. Donna Powers August 8, 2007 at 11:59 am #

    Flo,
    Thank you so much for your post. Quite honestly one of my major goals is to travel to another country on a mission trip. I often hear how things are much simpler and really genuine other places. I want to experience that with my family to bring us back to the reality of personal relationships. It was so funny, when we got a new Pastor almost a year ago, one of the tasks that he had for the women’s ministry team was to start building relationships. A couple of the ladies scoffed at the idea as though it was something ridiculous. I had never been exposed to the “bayanihan system” until our pastor’s wife came. She is from India and has the same attitude and very similar stories to yours (as far as growing up and relationships between tribes). I really long for that in a major way! Thank you for your post, it really spoke to me!

  6. pinaywife August 8, 2007 at 12:04 pm #

    we need to become neighbors =) *hint.. hint* ahhhh.. if only it is easy as getting in your car & just drive! i have been praying & longing for years, since we moved here.. when are you gonna send me somebody Lord, that shares the same passion as i do and help me not to become americanized =) & keep my traditional filipino values so i can pass them on to my children. i have never found one yet =( if.. madami kang kababayan where you live, i’m sure you understand what i mean… most of the filipinos around me, had to have… everything that the americans have, 3 cars, 2 car garage, huge house, dozens of shoes, tvs & computers in every room, big big tv to watch football for the basement or to do videoke.. etc. etc. i can go on and on but i think you know exactly what i mean!

    i can proudly say that.. at least i have not change my hair color yet =) & i have more slippers than shoes, i didn’t bleach my skin & i still look very filipina.. i should say! when we go out on the mall & i saw filipinas.. it sometimes saddens me because of how hard they are trying to look.. american. what’s wrong with having our black hair & dark skin tone? i am not saying coloring your hair is bad, i did highlights when i was still back there from time to time.. but heck no, i wouldn’t bleach my hair or color it blonde, put blue contacts on my eyes.. etc. etc.

    am i boring you yet.. i better go now..haha

  7. Jennifer August 8, 2007 at 1:27 pm #

    I get stressed out when there is more than one activity written on my calendar per week. (ONE used to stress me out, so I’m making progress there.), and I also wish we could develop a sense of community without having to drive for miles. We barely even talk to our neighbors. That’s sad.

  8. tonia August 8, 2007 at 2:16 pm #

    ***Not because it requires of my time, but because I often get reminded that we could not assimilate without people first getting over the fact that though we look different, there is always common ground.***

    Thank you for sharing so genuinely. I always appreciate when someone allows others to peek into their honest feelings and perspectives. I might not have realized someone else was feeling this way if you hadn’t shared.

    I find it very difficult to go into new situations, so I tend to avoid them. We don’t participate in many groups because of that. But I find that as I have asked Him, the Lord is providing small, one on one encounters for us…stretching us with new things, but not so terrible that I feel like hiding. *smile*

    I enjoyed your thoughts on community.

  9. yielded August 8, 2007 at 3:35 pm #

    Donna-
    Thank you for taking the time to read and commenting. I pray for God to grant the desire of your heart for missions- you will be touched, and forever changed. You have a beautiful blog. I’ll be back sometime to read the rest- maybe over TEA.

    (Yep, it would be really neat to have you and the girls as neighbors. Okay, Shawn, too. lol)

    Melanie-
    You weren’t boring me. I was nodding the whole time, my husband would too. Keep writing about it. Our roots go deep.

    Jennifer-
    I guess I am like that too, but I just never admitted that activities stress me out!

    Tonia-
    Thank you. I am usually very guarded in real life, but a recent experience taught me that if nobody speaks up, some people would remain in the dark.

    When someone comes up to you to tell you that something you’ve said sums up the heart of every colored person in this country, you would not be able to just sit there and look pretty.

    On a lighter note, your blog is very lovely, and your thoughts are beautiful! I am glad I was led there:)

  10. Trina August 8, 2007 at 4:06 pm #

    Many of us here in overly-urbanized Metro Manila echo your sentiments. I, for one, would exchange a square meter of soil for our own backyard for all these concrete. When our landlord inexplicably cut the lone, standing tree (a very leafy santol) in our compound, I was devastated, because my husband and I planned to install a swing there. However, we’re still counting our blessings–our tiny cul-de-sac just meters away from Taft Avenue is so quiet and removed from the daily hustle and bustle of Pasay is still a neighborhood where people call each other by name…

  11. Dana August 8, 2007 at 8:04 pm #

    Socialization is not an issue for us, but I also long for certain relationships- for me and my husband, and for the children. I yearn fellowship.

    Very true. That is exactly what I was trying to express! Thank you for your thoughts, and I think that fellowship is the far greater issue than just getting out.

    “Getting out” to get out is sort of purposeless and fills the time…and perhaps covers some of our needs for true fellowship. It is easy to be involved in a lot of things but not really connected with anyone in any of them.

  12. Carole August 8, 2007 at 8:50 pm #

    Hello. I just found your blog today via Mt. Hope Academy. I can relate to your desire for fellowship and community. I feel blessed with amazing family and friends, but we have to drive to see any of them! I dream about what it might be like to have a neighborhood of such connections.

    In any case, I am interested in Tapestry of Grace. Have you begun using that yet?

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