September 15, 2023
by Althea Nicole N. Leoncito
When lips curl gently upward, some appear subtle or tired in the air at 8 am. Faces, groggy yet prepped-up, often reply mischievously but never insincere in the halls of the Asian International School of Aeronautics and Technology.
Teachers, worn but with warm expressions etched on their faces join this silent dialogue. Students, with backpacks slung over shoulders and notebooks in hand, exchange greetings in this early-morning ritual. Playful responses and laughter echo through the corridors. As the clock ticks away, the tiredness dissipates, replaced by a shared understanding that each smile is an unspoken acknowledgment of the challenges and triumphs that lie ahead.
However, outside is a stark contrast: streets are teemed with ceaseless flow of vehicles. Tailpipes exhale plumes of toxic breath that mingled with the weary exhalations of weary pedestrians. Horns blare in frustration; the mechanical hum of engines idles in perpetual impatience. Urgent footsteps, always pressing forward, drown in the cacophony of daily life. The lingering stress from the outside world risks the calm inside. Then you’ll enter the school premises in a foul mood, somehow brushing off classmates and teachers.
Not to mention, the pursuit of personal and societal transformation and the relentless quest to make a difference. This clamor to be more, to change the world, to leave an indelible mark on the world creates a tunnel vision that neglects the significance of the here and now. As the saying goes,
“Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present”.
To delve deeper into the essence of welcome, I sat down with Ma’am Kreisler Fritz Antor, the Student Lounge Assistant. Reflecting on her initial days, she spoke of the welcoming experience orchestrated by the School President, Ma’am Atty. Myra Ann Wee-Toe Hio. Ma’am Kreisler emphasized the welcoming demeanor that set the tone for her entire experience, highlighting the ethos of treating each other as equals. It also provided her with fresh perspectives but also instilled a deep appreciation for the positive work environment.
Contrasting her current workplace with her former one, she expressed surprise. In her prior role, burdened by stress and an unhealthy routine, she now finds solace in a distinct environment. Appreciating the collaborative work environment, Ma’am Kreisler acknowledges the challenges of working with students but emphasizes the importance of genuine connections.
“I also want to meet and know the personalities of students like how Ma’am Camelle interacts with students”, she added.
So, how can we, in our daily lives, extend a hand of welcome to those around us?
The answer, perhaps, lies in the simplicity of a genuine welcome, manifested through a smile, a kind word, or a moment of connection. In embracing these small gestures, we bridge the gap between individuals, setting the stage for connections that endure and evolve. The art of welcoming is an acknowledgment of the present, a celebration of the now, and a reminder that amidst the clamor for a brighter future, the warmth of a genuine welcome can illuminate the path to connection and understanding.
How do you welcome?