I lay awake the other night unable to sleep for no reason at all. Well, perhaps it was because I had bread before bedtime and was suffering the consequences.
Did you know that bread is one of the biggest causes of nocturnal dyspepsia? Heartburn. My daughter calls it “venom.”
Anyway, when it hits, all I can do is just lie there, propped up by a number of pillows, and do nothing but stare at the ceiling until my antacid kicks in. This can take a while and can be very frustrating.
I am wary of the thoughts that come in the night. Those few moments of physical disquiet often become breeding ground for unpleasant recollections. It is when hurts and heartbreaks resurface and old angers rear their ugly heads.
If it is true that idleness is the devil’s workshop, then this middle-of-the-night anguish must come straight from hell.
Why is it that when all is quiet and you can hear your own heartbeat, you stupidly make room for old phantoms to visit?
The other night it happened again. I let the old ghosts in.
But before it all got out of hand, I remembered a poster someone once gave me. It said, “Don’t dwell on thoughts that remind you of how deeply you have fallen. Look instead at yourself today and see how far you have come.” I like that!
And on this one sleepless night, I thanked God that at this time of my life, when memories seem to overwhelm, I can call on the wisdom of the years and remember that although the good things didn’t stay forever, neither did the bad. No, things do not stay the same. Not ever. Thank God.
Back to school
Spending time with grand-and great-grandchildren during the holidays gave me a taste of what their school life is like today.
Did you know that some schools no longer use real “turn the page” books? Everything is available from the internet via their tablets. Many schools conduct more virtual than actual classes. Lectures and tests are done online.
Report cards are made available to students on the school site. Do parents still need to sign them like they used to back in the day?
I haven’t been around school kids in a long time and I wonder how they prepare for class.
I still remember the thrill of first day of school, the cold sweat over unannounced quizzes and the dread of final exams.
Do kids still cram for tests? How do they review?
I had my own style and it served me well through high school, college and later for the many licensing exams I had to take in the United States.
I kept a notebook for each subject. Then I went into intensive review and made notes as I pored through the textbooks. I rewrote my old notes.
It was a record of what I was reading and relearning, and what I must not forget. There was a certain determination in my strokes, I remember that much. My classmates thought I was crazy.
And then the other day, I came across an article that validated and confirmed that my way is, indeed, a good way to remember stuff.
The article proposes that, “Writing by hand, you remember better.”
It goes on to say that with the advent of tablets and laptops, the manner of learning via handwritten notes has become old fashioned today. But studies show that there are still many advantages to doing things the old-fashioned way, “that laptops and tablets have a tendency to be distracting. For one thing, it is so easy to click over to Facebook during a dull lecture.”
By the way, when I punch reminder notes into my phone, I promptly forget them, and sometimes I don’t remember having typed them at all.
Researchers have found that taking notes by hand or by computer affect learning. “When you type your notes, there is a tendency to take them down verbatim and write down as much of the lecture as you can.”
Students taking notes long hand, however, are more selective of the contents and “the extra processing of the material, what to take down, and what was important, was of more benefit to them”; and that “the processing that occurs improved learning and retention.”
You may type more words, but you retain less of the important information.
I guess it is quantity versus quality.
Still hung over from the holidays, my political pundit friend called my attention to a recent news story. I read it. My blood ran cold. I whispered a desperate, “Have mercy Lord. How can we make this right?”
I think of my courageous friends whose patience is running thin as they agonize for answers.
And then I read the thoughts of my Church buddy.
Enteng has been prominent in political skirmishes in the past. Lately his voice and presence have been sorely missed. His like-minded friends are asking why.
His reply is challenging.
“The battleground has shifted. Going out to the streets no longer has the same impact that it used to. We have to win hearts and minds across all media platforms, especially social media. We have to push back on every issue that violates our sensibilities and common decency. It is not an easy struggle.”