Everything Takes Longer

Everything takes longer-
This is what we were told frequently while preparing to come here. We heard it so often, from so many people, and I have heard it as well from Filipino friends who live in the states, that I believed it was true, I just wasn’t sure why or exactly what they meant. Sometimes they’d try to explain, but sort of run down in the middle, dissatisfied themselves with what they were trying to describe.

It is hard, because it’s a vast combination of things. Efficiency is less valued, I think, than relationships and employment. Convenience is less important than saving money (most of the time. Or perhaps I am misreading what I see, which is quite likely since we still have only been here 3 weeks as I write) I was absolutely delighted by the discovery that the large jar of mayo I bought comes with a *handle* so I can open it by myself quite easily). For so many reasons- people live in smaller spaces, must walk or make use of public conveyances rather than personal cars, spoilage is more likely because of the climate and the lack of 24 and 7 aircon, packages are often in smaller sizes so must be replaced more often, and then you might prefer to buy the plastic bags of ketchup or dish soap and refill your original container to save even more money (and space, and weight when carrying your groceries home).

The vegetables require more washing, the meat more prepping, the floors more washing (because you are so close to the roads which may or may not be well paved), so more dust comes up and in the windows which are not remotely airtight, the clothes are air dried in a climate not conducive to drying up of anything, the washing machines are smaller than I have been using (most of our kids were still at home the last time I bought a washer, so it was extra large capacity)- just, in general, doing certain things takes a bit longer than I am used to. I also think I take longer to get things done because I am sluggish in the heat and possibly still jet lagged, or maybe just not yet sleeping well because it’s still not ‘my’ bed. Washing dishes in a single sink with only cold running water takes far longer than washing dishes in a double sink with hot running water on tap, and of course, the dishes dry faster with hot rinse water and a drier climate as well.

Whatever the reasons, things do seem to take a little longer to do. One can be frustrated by this, or one can decide that’s not a bad thing. One can do a lot of thinking, contemplating, and meditating while giving attention to washing all the dirt out of the bok choy stems and sweeping the floors and hanging out the laundry.

Sometimes you can take it as a kind of challenge. “Today, whenever I am working with my hands rather than my mind, I shall apply my mind to taking every thought captive and focus on gratitude, what does it mean, what am I thankful for, to whom am I thankful, how can I express it, what does God have to say about it? Or pick an attribute of God for the day, or a memory verse to work on (perhaps in another language). These are suggestions, not orders. Choose your own way of choosing how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of the time.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

1920 article on assessing education, part III

Volume XXVIII January 1920 Number 1
Hang Up Your Thermometer
Ida E. Roger Grade Supervisor, Mt, Vernon, N. Y.

Part I was here

Part II is here

Question II What opportunities are we offering for growth in “refined and gentle manners”? This is Dr. Butler’s second criterion of education functioning. In place of incidental accomplishment, we are placing upon the daily program in some systems a definite time for pausing to consider the sort of citizens we wish to become, the qualities of character out of which we build our ideals, and the lessons we learn from others, together with the response due from us for whom so much has been and is done.

The use of a course of study in Civics is resulting in a discrimination on the part of the child, an understanding that results in the outward expression of the right spirit — a spirit from within, and not assumed, the spirit of true gentility and fine breeding which shows itself in simplicity and knows that greatness dares to be unaffected, spontaneous and sincere.

The activities of our children, listed from Red Cross work down to the playing of games, or the building of houses for our itinerant bird folk emphasize this spirit of sympathy, of co-operating with, and of helping others — the spirit which is the foundation of good citizenship (and incidentally one of the secrets of personal charm).

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


We have treated the people from church who have helped us move and come over for basketball and language lessons to pizza twice. We were told, with much gratitude, that they cannot usually afford pizza so this is a very special treat. We look like we have more disposable income because of that pizza, but really, they saved us so much time and even money (we could not have rented a jeepney for the same price they could, we don’t think we could even have found one to negotiate with because we’re so clueless), and they have all been such a blessing that we are glad to be able to do this much.
They eat shrimp and other fresh seafood- squid, octopus, milkfish, rabbitfish and more on a regular basis. Shrimp is one of the cheapest meats in the fresh meat market. I told them that where I live in the Midwest I only buy shrimp as a special treat because it’s so expensive, and they laughed, “we are rich!” they crowed.
A friend of our son, one of his friends he met at the mall, drives her family’s car around Davao City. We are impressed that she can drive in this city’s crazy, but somehow functioning traffic, and, we told the Boy, the family must be kind of comfortable, since they have a car. Isn’t it interesting how much your perspective changes?

What is true wealth?

One of the sisters at church told me that her six year old son had only begun speaking in the last year. She had been so worried, and had taken him to the doctor but was told not to be concerned yet. Now, she says, when he speaks, whatever he says, ‘every word is a treasure in my heart.’

I think that counts.

Gratitude, giving thanks, having a thankful heart- themes from the lessons in church on Sunday, and as one of the speakers said, if you have a thankful heart, a habit of gratitude and appreciation for what you have, whatever you have, no matter what, you are always content, and that is a treasure.

That counts.

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Where is your treasure this year? What direction is your heart yearning toward?

Posted in Davao Diary | Leave a comment

1920 Advice on Assessing Your School part II

Volume XXVIII January 1920 Number 1
Hang Up Your Thermometer
Ida E. Roger Grade Supervisor, Mt, Vernon, N. Y.

Part I was here

Question I. What opportunities are we offering for skilful training in “correctors and precision in the use of the mother tongue”?

This question contains the first criterion Mr. Butler names. Our interpretation of this question must be discussed under four headings: i.e., the work commonly labelled reading, spelling, language, and writing.

  • Reading: From the first, habits are established which influence the Manner of reading later done. Reading matter which makes a strong child appeal is chosen and the child led by desire and interest to get the thought. This is the chief aim. Yet ability to master words must become automatic if reading is to proceed with ease and independence. Undivided attention to this need is given during a special phonic period and other specific drill upon grasping the words of a phrase or clause is also added. Experiments have proven that correct motor eye-habits increase the speed in reading and the ability to grasp the idea. The slow reader (we are shown by efficiency tests) finds interpretation of thought harder because he is “impeded by the mechanical processes of the reading act.” His eye is not trained to group one sweep of related words, and his pausing upon each word makes the rate slow and the thought many times ununited.


Modern methods of reading make much of this drill to grasp ideas “in their Combined Form in the thought.” The reading systems have definite standards for accomplishment. In addition, we are stressing silent reading combined with rate of reading. This accomplishes alertness, concentration, and thought getting. • We are joining forces with the public library in instructing students in the use of that institution and are following up much of this independent reading by a use of the material gained. Vocabulary results from this source are infinite, and a natural step beyond that of the younger children who listen intently to and adopt phrases from the rhymes of Mother Goose.


As the children thus increase in ability to comprehend and use the expressions met, they themselves discover the joy of continually broadening life’s outlook, and so find that reading, in truth, may become a real adventure. This situation is one which is significant.

(b) Language

The language course of study at the close of the sixth grade should show provision for the attainment of the requirements presented by the National Joint Committee on English (representing the Commission on the Re organization of Secondary Education of the National Education Association and the National Council of Teachers of English). This report was published by the Bureau of Education at Washington, and recommends (page 128) “after a wide consultation of principals and teachers in the elementary schools,” standards to be completed in the first six grades of school. These standards are stated as follows: “At the end of the sixth grade pupils should be able:

“1 To express clearly and consecutively, either in speech or in writing, ideas which are familiar and firmly grasped; ”

2 To avoid gross grammatical errors; ”

3 To compose and mail a letter; ”

4 To spell their own written vocabulary; ”

5 To read silently, and after one reading to reproduce the substance of a simple short story, news item, or lesson; ”

6 To read aloud readily and intelligently simple news items, a lesson from text-books, or literature of such difficulty as ‘The Ride of Paul Revere,’ or Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol ‘ ; ”

7 To quote accurately and understandingly several short poems, such as Bennet’s ‘The Flag Goes By’ and Emerson’s ‘ The Mountain and the Squirrel.’

“Criticism listed on page 124 of this Federal Report may also be used as one of our objectives.” Especially notice able in all parts of the country is the neglect of the training of the voice in distinct enunciation, clear articulation, and agreeable tones.”

It is true that we have succeeded in conquering large numbers of cases of mumbling; we have also been pleased with the increase in poise and in conviction of tone which has grown out of stressing oral composition. We should also show growth in pupil effort to cultivate a tone and an enunciation which are both a business and a social asset. The child’s attention can be more closely turned to this element as soon as he has laid the basis required for one who must learn “to stand upon his feet and think aloud.” This basis is the use of complete clear-cut sentences related to the central thought, in place of the monosyllabic answer first proposed by the timid or careless child. This growth in oral expression is the type of English work to receive the largest emphasis during the time spent in Grades I-VI. (It is, of course, understood that the term oral expression indicates ability to express thought and is not used in the sense which suggests elocutionary emphasis.) Our training for written language work should be connected with many of the oral language problems, small units of carefully thought out messages (rather than long sheets of careless vaporizing) being the task set before the pupil who must learn the importance of pruning a story and of looking at words closely instead of “throwing them on with a shovel.” Large written problems should therefore be divided into several units until the time when the pupil has formed the habits of accuracy and precision. During the period’s work with each small unit, the student will have three aims ever present —

(1) clearness and conciseness,

(2) sequence,

(3) variety of expression.

These principles will in many cases be emphasized by such questions as: 1 Does this sentence seem a puzzle or awkward?

a Because of its wording?

b Because of its length?

2 Does each sentence ” fit ” (really follow with a smooth ness not apparent when omissions of certain detail cause a gap in thought or needless repetitions postpone progress in thought)?

3 Does the language show an effort on the part of the writer to adopt interesting phrases or other vocabulary?

And lastly, in considering this phase of Dr. Butler’s statement, may we ask what we are offering the child in the line of assistance in taking the initiative in daily conversation? Are we helping the child to lasting interests which become a basis for definite contribution on his part — whether it be when he is called upon to write an interesting letter or, as one of a social group (at his own table or outside of his home walls), to take part in a discussion where his ability to express thought is either a stimulation to others or a possible indication of a future bore?

(c) Spelling Such standard spelling studies as the Ayers list (and “a foundation vocabulary,” as Dr. Ayers terms the 1000 words compiling the list). “The Jones’ Spelling Demons” should also be known to our teachers.

(d) Writing Arm or muscular movement, generally used throughout the country to accomplish ease, speed, and legibility in writing, is the habit established in the cases of the majority of children leaving the elementary grades. Preliminary work is accomplished by blackboard practice that the teacher may keep in touch with each child, that incorrect body and finger movements may not develop while the pupil is puzzling over the letter forms, and that a chance for corrections during a single period may occur. Application of special problems to stress so as to anticipate errors found in written work has hi many rooms been worked out ; lists of words based upon forms sometimes not differentiated have resulted:


To give practice in showing a distinct difference between a or o when united to w or u. Distribution to each grade of short lists of words suggested by the 1917 Committee on Economy of Time (appointed by the National Council of Teachers of English) is recommended. Such work is the outcome of the direct report of the sub-committee on Mechanics of Writing, and in consideration of the matter of Economy of Time, it is urged by this committee that some of the formal writing periods profit “by recent investigations of spelling conditions” and place emphasis upon certain common words “known to be commonly misspelled everywhere.” Drill in penmanship period will then not be based upon such generally unused words as vat or slab or taboo or spawn, but will give practice upon desired letters through choosing for repeated emphasis those commonly needed words which include the letter chosen for penmanship drill upon a given day. This correlation with the spelling and language work will motivate in a new way the penmanship work. The National Sub-committee on Mechanics of Writing ask for penmanship practice upon the following number of troublesome words:


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Of Basketball and Bonding

I posted a bit about the day out snorkeling at a nearby island, and I wrote about the starfish.

While out on the boat and on the island, they swam, snorkeled, one of my guys got pretty sunburned, and the group visited with and got to know other staff and family members of staff at the school.
Several of the Christian school grads are back for Christmas break visiting their parents, who are teachers at the school or serving in some capacity as missionaries here in the area. While on the little island taking a break from snorkeling, three of the MK (missionary kid) young men played basketball with three Filipino guys they randomly met on the beach. Have I mentioned that basketball is very, very big here? VERY big.

When they started playing, there were just a few people around. My boy says at some point in the game he happened to look around and there was a huge crowd watching them. He didn’t know where they came from or when they showed up. Life is like that, isn’t it? You never who is watching, but somebody is, and you never know what they are learning from you. You have little or no control of your audience. All you can control is you, and we all know that is often nearly impossible- as James says, ‘For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.’ Without God, that much control is impossible. But with God, all things are possible.

I share here a picture somebody took of the players (if the blog will let me) – what you are seeing here is three Filipinos and 3 missionary kids. One of the missionary kids is a college student in Korea, here visiting his parents for the holidays. One is a college student in the states, here visiting his parents for the holidays because he kind of grew up here, and one is our son, a high school senior who has been here two weeks.. The missionary kids only met each other today on the boat. (My boy says, btw, that the young Filipino man in the green shorts can jump higher than he can). I find this remarkable, and encouraging, and it puts a smile on my face.

They bonded over basketball, and that’s a beautiful thing- look at that picture. Can’t you just feel their happiness and comradely spirit, even though it may be fleeting?

I know a more beautiful thing to come:

“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:

“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”
All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:

Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.

Praying that all involved, including all of you reading, one day will be part of a great multitude, praising God from the heart, directly before His throne.

P.S. *In case you’re wondering, they played twice, and the MKs and the Filipinos each won once.

Posted in Davao Diary, Uncategorized | 4 Responses

  • The Common Room on Facebook

  • Amazon: Buy our Kindle Books

  • Search Amazon

    Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks

  • Brainy Fridays Recommends: