A good reminder–remember who you are | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

“Good teaching cannot be reduced to technique; good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher.” (“The Courage to Teach,” by Parker Palmer).

With this simple premise, Parker Palmer writes one of the classic books in education. Palmer further writes that if we are to discover and understand our identity and integrity, we need to talk about our inner lives, our spirituality as persons.

I offer these points for reflection this Sunday as we are reminded by the Gospel of the need for consistency between what one professes or says and what one lives out or does. How have we tried to discover and embrace our identity? How have we nurtured our integrity?

Good example

It took me a while to watch the hit movie “Twilight,” the first in the so-called saga. I was told it was cheesy. On a US trip years ago, I ran out of movies to watch on the flight and ended up watching “Twilight.”

Yes, it was cheesy, but a scene at the end somehow redeemed the movie and set itself up as a good story for the young—or the young at heart—when I give talks, seminars, recollections or retreats.

In a final scene, Edward is so enraged that James has threatened Bella’s safety and life that he is about to mangle him and suck the life out of him. Then, Edward’s supposed father, Dr. Cullen, and the rest of his family come to the rescue. His father restrains him and tells him, “Remember who you are.”

Remember who you are—this is a good reminder that there is a “you” in us, an “I” whose uniqueness lies in the identity of this “I.” I will not talk about how we have been weaned away from this “I”—as I have done in previous articles—but I will try to reflect on how we can discover or rediscover this “I.”

Remembering who we are can begin with the bio-data or curriculum vitae process, then it can go deeper until one gets to the inner life, one’s spirituality, one’s core—what one is passionate about, what one loves, what gives one’s life meaning.

This is identity, who we are and why we are; identity is who we are in our wholeness, our good side and bad side, our strengths and weaknesses, our blessings and curses, our joys and sorrows, our dreams and brokenness, our hopes and frustrations.

Wholeness is about everything that is “I.”

The only way

Small wonder why we don’t really fully remember, or get reconnected with, who we are, our identity. How many of us accept in a healthy fashion the downside of our “I?” We pretend it is nonexistent (the denial kings/queens). We sweep it under the rug (the suppression of anything not on the left side of the sheet under the plus sign). We flagellate ourselves and go through endless penitence, or go to confession every week or every other day (the perpetual guilt-trippers).

But remembering is the only way to reconnect with our identity, and it is only when we remember that we can live with integrity. Let us remember, through song.

In the classic play “Sinta,” now running for maybe close to 40 years in Dulaang Sibol, is a beautiful haunting song that beckons us to remember. (Trivia: The year before Rico Yan died, we brought him to watch “Sinta” in Dulaang Sibol at Ateneo de Manila High School. I believe it was Johnny Manahan who thought of bringing Rico, since he wanted to do a movie adaptation with Rico in the lead.)

Alalahanin, gunitain, kahapon nati’y sariwain

Nang puso nati’y wala pang galos

Pangarap nati’y wala pang gapos

Alalahanin, gunitain, kahapon nati’y sariwain

Remember the times when our hearts were pure and unwounded, and, with childlike innocence, embraced and loved life and all the wonders it has to offer? Remember the times when our dreams knew no limits? Remember the times when love and dreams gave us life and passion, gave us meaning and defined who we are?

As romantic as it may sound, I believe here lies our identity, here lies the “I.” In our dreams and loves, we will find our “I.” It is in the “I,” where the integrity springs from. Integrity is living out, being truthful and faithful to the “I.”

Another process

There is another process to get in touch with and deepen this sense of the “I,” our dream and love. It is to remember the people who have loved us and cared for us. Yes, remember the people—or the one person—who has loved and continues to love us. Again, let us use the power of poetry and song:

You are the one who makes me happy

When everything else turns to gray

Yours is the voice that wakes me mornings

And sends me out into the day

You are the crowd that sits quiet list’ning to me

and all the mad sense I make

You are one of the few things worth remembering

And since it’s all true, how can anyone mean more to me than you

Sorry if sometimes I look past you

There’s no one beyond your eyes

Inside my head the wheels are turning

Hey sometimes I am not so wise

You are my heart and my soul, my inspiration

Just like the old love song goes

You are one of the few things worth remembering

And since it’s all true, how could anyone mean more to me than you

Remember who you are—remember “what it is that makes our soul sing.” Here lies our integrity.

“Good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher.” And we discover or rediscover and understand our identity and integrity by talking about, nurturing, living out our inner lives, our spirituality. Remember who you are.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.