Thinking about the most important period of my life, from the age of five to eighteen, brings on a tsunami wave of nostalgia that simply overwhelms me. Sure, this was the period that those who lived with parents at home may have gained values that guided their lives until now. But we did not live with our parents in the boarding, we lived with hundreds of other boarders and the Jesuit priests. During the vacations when I went home to my widowed mother, she filled me in with details about my father and other family members. My exposure to family was minimal and very brief, as was my exposure to family acquaintances. So in a way I grew up a stranger to family and those who knew us.

But some of the values that did rub off on me while in residence as a boarder have become part of my guiding light all these years. One is that I trust my conscience totally and its guidance in the matters of honesty. Hey! I’m not making any claims, except that my conscience will never let me be in peace if I’m dishonest. And thank GOD for that. The other is the value of prayer, but in recent years I learnt that greater value lies in just shutting up and being still if I want to hear what GOD is telling me.

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