learn to love in life

many students wonder what i mean when i introduce myself as a lifelonglearner. the usual query is what is lifelong learning? ed and i respond by asking how do we learn to love? how do we learn what sex is? how do we learn to become good parents? good citizen? and how do we learn to be happy?

i have a new friend, mila from naujan who is in california. she found my blog on migrants and through ed’s blog on mindoro. she asked me the same question on lifelong learning. i replied that i cannot experience meeting all the filipinos in my lifetime and can never share their experiences in life. but i can learn from them by making my questions bigger than my answers and allowing them to interrogate my experiences.

so i decided to blog my agendas, especially for my family and friends, marita villanueva, benilda villenas, juliet zara villanueva, charito basa, billur and pat canlas .they have love and happiness portfolios and i want to learn from them, especially on the theme of learning to strengthen family and social life. through these blogs, i want to invite them, mila maramot and all the women who have spent their life living, earning and giving generously in a fast changing world. how do they learn to love ( all the love from life to partner, from altruism to spirituality ? how do they begin to develop their personal curriculum in becoming partners, in becoming parents, in making happiness a constant feature in their homes? this will be psychology 101 with women friends taking it as a lifelong learning course. hope many discussion will earn us 100 units of love credits.

since i started the questions, i will also give my answers. but first, let me probe into the secret life of women. in the 90’s when i started running a grassroots leadership course with ed in education for life, i realized that the rural women wanted a session in sexuality. so i contacted lualhati bautista, the prolific writer in pilipino novels and a movie scriptwriter. she suggested presenting her secret diaries of women and it was a hit, even with the men. i was thrilled to listen how the peasant women intrepreted the diaries and what they learned from lualhati. i also learned a lot about sexuality from her, that many women all over the world and from the 16th century to the current century learned to love by secretlywriting their love diaries , even if it means experiencing pain and hurt twice. i compared my session with the secret diaries with an earlier approach using fairy tales like cinderella and snow white which failed because the rural women and men have not read these fairy tales. i found out that actual yearnings were better sources of learning rather then myths and folklore. so i gathered stories that allow women and men to open doors in my gender course offerings. the stories i used have a common thread – the sacrifices that women take on and the minimum rewards they get from others but what matters is that they discover their own integrity and self-respect . it’s been more than 15 years since i run those gender storytelling and there’s always something new to discover.

the love agenda is not just about sexuality, though it is an intrinsic part of it. i want to develop the discussion on integrity, on how we can teach our children how to build their own integrity and what challenges to take on in the world. stephen covey defined integrity in terms of honesty, and also in terms of loyalty and defending those who are not present. this means as parents, we should be honest and capable of earning their trust. for migrant parents whose children are left behind in their home countries, both parents and children will have to develop integrity that last a lifetime of separation. for children who become migrants themselves, they will need this integrity to survive and make their parents proud.

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One Comment on “learn to love in life”

  1. Mila Maramot Says:

    Hi, Girlie. Just got back from Vegas. I’m flattered you think you could learn from me. I’ve never given anything much thought, but just not to disappoint you, here’s my take on the subject. My love and happiness portfolio is a collection of family and social experiences which after careful analysis reveal communication to be a common positive factor. You yourself recognized the importance of lifelong loving and communicating in your later blog. When family members don’t communicate on a regular basis, they don’t form a strong bond. And there’s no better time to do this than during the family meal. When my kids were growing up and living at home, I never allowed them to eat dinner in front of the television, like most of their friends did. We always ate together and talked at the dinner table. Now that they are on their own, they still come to the house once a week to have dinner with us and talk about how our week went. When it comes to friends, I find that those I often have the chance to talk with over lunch or dinner are the ones closer to me. With my husband, it’s particularly easy because we grew up together and have a lot of common experiences to talk about.


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