Welcome to School Year 2019-2020!Fourteen years ago, the beautiful Brent Manila campus we call home had no WiFi network. It just didn’t exist at the time – which may come as a shock to many, if not all of us. Could you imagine – or for those of us who’ve been around for a little while, remember – what life was like? Laptops were a rare sight on campus, the most popular cellphone was the Motorola Razr, Facebook was barely on the horizon, and Twitter hadn’t been founded. Communication depended on email, a phone call, and an old-fashioned in-person conversation – all of which we still do today, but now sit as mere options in a laundry list of ways we can speak with each other.
Funnily enough, despite all the technological change we’ve experienced in the last fifteen years, ‘communicating’ remains a challenge for many of us. Sometimes we can’t find the words to express our feelings, or misjudge the way in which those feelings should be expressed. Other times, we give off the wrong impression or make assumptions about what we read, hear, and see. And then there are those times when we are so overcome with emotion that communication transcends any single word, gesture, or form. Regardless of where we communicate or how technologically advanced our capabilities are, it can be difficult precisely because no tool matters as much as the content of our words, the way in which we express our intentions, and the people with whom we share them.
But for every ounce of difficulty we might find in communicating with each other, there is an equal opportunity to do better by each other. This school year is a fresh start – a chance for us all to be challenged, to step outside of our comfort zones, and to learn. This is not merely the time to discover the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘when’, ‘why’, and ‘how’ of communication, but take our words and deeds one step further and uncover what it means to do them well. Across our classes, clubs, and sports, outside school, or anywhere in between, the 2019-2020 School Year is about coming together and learning to communicate positively.
The best part? We can all do it, regardless of where we come from or what we do. Where our friends and colleagues succeed, let’s congratulate them; when they stumble, let’s build each other up. Along the way, let’s make it a habit to listen to each other’s needs and take them seriously. On social media, on paper, and in person, we can all learn to speak and act as Jesus did: exactly the same way as we would want others to do to us.
Let’s start together. The next time we speak, gesture, respond to email, or reply to a comment on social media, take a moment to think before hitting ‘send’. Think about “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise…” ~ Philippians 4:8. More importantly, don’t be afraid to ask questions about what is good, what is beautiful, and what is right. Because when we communicate positively, we can bring out the best in each other. And when we do that, there is no limit to what we can learn and achieve as one Brent community.
Have a wonderful and fruitful school year 2019-2020!
Fr. Benjamin A. Jance III
School Chaplain/Community Relations Officer