FMF Day 6: Story

We are fascinated by other people’s stories. Gossip magazines sell because buyers read eagerly about the lives of the Hollywood famous. Biographies and autobiographies of both current personalities as well as well-known players of the past, line the shelves in book stores. We tend to believe that others have stories that are interesting and well worth reading.

And yet, men and women living in modern society have their own stories. Their lives are made up of experiences and choices that determine a unique tale. Life struggles and successes are weaved into the fabric of their adventures on earth. Decisions made cause deviations, which in themselves develop a person’s character and prominence within their own story.

Just like the unknown people of the past experienced their own life stories, so do we in the modern age discover ours. We may not have articles in magazines spreading the word about our lives, or have films and statues created in our name, but snippets of our lives are shared with people we know as well as with those with whom we come into contact. Our stories do matter. They are a part of ourselves and what makes us unique.

Do you often share your story?

(This post is in response to the FMF October challenge in which we write for 5 minutes every day in October. To read any posts you may have missed on my series titled Reflections on Modern Life, click here.)

FMF Day 5: Trust

In whom do we trust? Many organisations and groups demand our trust and receive it without question. Our government (whom we trust will make the best decisions for our country), our farmers (whom we trust will grow our food in a way that is beneficial to our health), our doctors (whom we trust will know how to heal us), our teachers (whom we trust will guide and protect our children). The list goes on.

Often we do not realise that we are putting our trust in these people. The trust we give is so much an integral part of our lives that we do not question giving it. Even to those that do not deserve it. In the past people have trusted the police, for example, and yet we hear horror stories in which this trust has been abused – so much so that there are groups of people who no longer trust those who have pledged to protect and serve. Sometimes the breach of trust is three-fold as in the abuse of a child by a priest. The parents’ trust, the child’s trust, as well as the trust of the congregation has been misplaced.

I often wonder what would happen if members of our society did not automatically give their trust. What if organisations, and members within those organisations, had to earn our trust. Would the abuse of our trust be less frequent? And would institutions like the Government and Agriculture be more accountable?

What are your thoughts on trust in our society?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This post is in response to the FMF October challenge in which we write for 5 minutes every day in October. To read any posts you may have missed on my series titled Reflections on Modern Life, click here.)

FMF Day 4: Hope

Hope was a part of lives in the past, and it continues to feature in modern day lives. Many hopes remain the same – to be healthy all our lives, to be successful, to find love. There are differences, however, in what people over the ages have hoped for. In the past, people may have hoped to catch their dinner – or a few centuries later, to begin working without  school leaving certificate. Our hopes in the twenty first century have changed for a desire to have a stable income and job security, to find an affordable place to stay, to save enough money for a comfortable retirement.

One of the hopes forefront in many people’s minds is that global war does not happen, and that the nuclear weapons that governments have built are never used. So many countries seem to be at war – amongst themselves or against rivals. The hope for peace seems to be unattainable. And yet we still desire it.

An aspiration that those who are concerned about the environment have, is that humans do not destroy the planet. Global warming is slowly becoming a reality and the hope of environmentalists is that others begin to change their habits so that the planet can heal.

As I am writing, a phrase comes to mind that I have often heard/read: “Hope springs eternal”. This statement seems to hold true because no matter what we are experiencing (war, poverty, redundancy, illness), we continually hope for the better. It is with hope and the desire for something better, that we continue to strive and to live our lives.

What hopes do you believe modern people have?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This post is in response to the FMF October challenge in which we write for 5 minutes every day in October. To read any posts you may have missed on my series titled Reflections on Modern Life, click here.)

FMF Day 3: Create

“Mommy, people today don’t use the creative side of their brain.” My daughter insists that her statement is true and I tend to agree with her. In my daily experience of the person living in the modern world, I notice that we are expected to follow the rules and stay within everyone’s comfort zone. Even though we are asked to ‘think out of the box’, our employers do not always reward us when we deviate from their expectations of how we should behave and work within the workplace environment.

Our creativity is stifled from the time we are at school. Children are asked to conform to rules and to respond to tasks in a particular way. Children who do think differently are often misunderstood. As children grow older, they lack the confidence to explore and delve into learning with the same creativity and vigour that they did when they were young. Adults seem to have much of their creativity siphoned out of them.

If we could create more – with our hands, with our minds – we may be able to release some of the stress that we hold within ourselves. We should look into ourselves and our imagination in order to help fulfil our souls. We should look inside of ourselves instead of relying on others to feed the creative part of our being. We should look into our own minds instead of relying on the film maker to imagine for us.

Creative people are rare in the modern world. Each person does have a spark of creativity within them. It is up to each individual to nurture it and help it bear fruit.

In what ways are you creative?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This post is in response to the FMF October challenge in which we write for 5 minutes every day in October. To read any posts you may have missed on my series titled Reflections on Modern Life, click here.)

FMF Day 1: Worship

In the 21st century, our lives are full. We rush from one place to another, cramming as much as we can into our day. Many families are unable to spend quality time together – and often the time that they do spend with one another is limited by the brimming schedule of both parents and children.

In a life shaped by modern values and filled with busyness, where does God fit in? Whom do we worship?

In modern cities and towns, pews in the churches are empty. Church buildings are renovated and used for different purposes – some are even refurbished as homes. God is no longer is part of a person’s life and daily routine. The Lord’s prayer no longer begins the school day, and saying daily prayers is a habit few follow.

Who has replaced God? Knowledge and understanding how the world works. The belief in self and the confidence that a person can control much of their own life. The words ‘spiritualism’ and ‘mindfulness’ are bandied about. A person no longer prays to God, but meditates to calm the spirit. A person no longer believes in God, but is spiritual.

As humanity moves towards worshipping the self, it loses the sense of community and faith that once held it together. Will there be a time when men and women will come to realise that focusing on the self is not gratifying? Will they once again learn to have faith in a Being greater than themselves? Will they once again worship God?

Do you believe there will be a renaissance of worship?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This post is in response to the FMF October challenge in which we write for 5 minutes every day in October. For the first post on my series titled Reflections on Modern Life, click here.)

31 Days of FMF in October 2017

It has been a number of years since I have participated in the Five Minute Friday (FMF) October challenge in which you write for 5 minutes everyday on a given word. In 2014, I wrote a series of posts on moving from the southern to the northern hemisphere titled Migrating North. In 2015, I wrote about some of my teaching experiences in a series of posts titled Blackboard Scribbles.

This year I have decided to take up the challenge once again to help me get back into my blogging routine. Kate Motaung over at the Five Minute Friday website does not suggest you choose a theme for the 31 days of posts – but I found I enjoyed focusing my writing on a particular topic. This year I have chosen to reflect on our modern lives in a series of posts titled Reflections on Modern Life. The title came to me while walking home yesterday while I was thinking about our habits and stresses in current society.I hope you will enjoy this series of posts and look forward to your contributions to the discussions in the comments.

Will you be participating in the FMF October challenge this year?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

Day 31: Almost

I almost did not choose teaching as my career. I filled out forms to do medicine – and even went for the application interview. My desire to be a pediatrician was not realised as I was not accepted into medical school. Among the choices that lay before me were accounting, law, and teaching. I chose teaching.

Do I regret choosing education? No. This profession has given me the chance to work with children and help them. It is possible for each school year to be different so the chances of boredom settling in is rare. I do not sit at a desk the entire day in front of the computer but instead have the chance to go outside for a part of the day. The day can sometimes be challenging and there are always children who keep me on my toes.

I almost did not become a teacher and yet I cannot imagine doing anything else. Except writing. 🙂

photo (52)© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

(This post was written for the FMF 31 day challenge hosted by Kate Motaung. Today’s prompt: almost)

Missed a post? Click here to read all my memoirs for the series titled Blackboard Scribbles.

Day 30: Meals

Many of us take breakfast for granted – even the treat of bacon and eggs. I certainly did when I was growing up. Each morning before going to school, I would fill my tummy with food: hot porridge, a bowl of cereal with cold milk, or slices of toast slathered with magarine and anchovy paste. My classmates arrived at school with their bellies full. And all of us had lunch.

When I worked at Qhakaza, I saw for myself that not all children have the luxury of a meal in the morning. Some do not even have the money to buy something to eat at lunch. What moved me was when I saw that a child without food would not stay hungry for long. The children I taught did not come from money: instead heir parent/grandmother/sister worked at a low paying job. And yet they still shared what they had – even if it were only a half a loaf of white bread and a bottle of coke.

Now I work in a school where parents earn good incomes and send too much food with their children for lunch. I shudder when I see apples and half eaten sandwiches thrown into the garbage. I then think of those children in South Africa who would welcome the food that is thrown away here with no thought.

photo (52)© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

(This post was written for the FMF 31 day challenge hosted by Kate Motaung. Today’s prompt: bacon)

Missed a post? Click here to read all my memoirs for the series titled Blackboard Scribbles.

Day 29: All at Sea

There are moments when my students are “all at sea”: they look at me with faces filled with confusion and puzzlement. At moments like these, I need to think on my feet. When planning, you can never be sure whether a child will understand the way the information is presented or not. Nor can you be sure that they will understand the instructions that are set before them. With more teaching experience, it is definitely easier for me to come up with another way of explaining a concept.

There are times as well when I find myself “at sea”. When I look at the curriculum, there are moments when my understanding of what needs to be taught is vague. At times like these, I speak with my colleagues in order to get a better understanding of how to present the expectations that have been laid out by the Ministry. It is in teaching, however, that my understanding of the curriculum is cemented.

Thankfully it has never happened where both my students and I are in a state of confusion. Though if it were to happen, I believe the children would be forgiving.

photo (52)© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

(This post was written for the FMF 31 day challenge hosted by Kate Motaung. Today’s prompt: sea)

Missed a post? Click here to read all my memoirs for the series titled Blackboard Scribbles.

Day 28: Hope

Each day as I enter the classroom that has been assigned to me, I hope that it will be a day in which the children will learn something. It may be academic or social. If a child speaks up, it is a sucess. If a child counts by twos, it is a sucess. If a child writes a full sentence, it is a success. If a child waits patiently in line, it is a success. My hope is that each day a child will discover something new or master something old.

Sometimes it is this hope that encourages me to repeat the same thing over, and over … and over again. Eventually my message is understood. “Little steps,” I keep thinking. And eventually the little steps lead to the end goal.

photo (52)© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

(This post was written for the FMF 31 day challenge hosted by Kate Motaung. Today’s prompt: hope)

Missed a post? Click here to read all my memoirs for the series titled Blackboard Scribbles.