Thursday, January 03, 2008

heroes - no relation to the tv series

history has come full circle... at least for some of my students.

once upon a time, every child's parent was his / her hero. there was also a time when athletes from all playing fields were placed on pedastals. when war came, heroes were made in a field of a different kind: the battlefield... and in comics. that was when superheroes came to be. superman, captain america, iron man... the whole lot of them.

people need heroes in their lives... to look up to, to aspire to become. back then, everyone wanted to be a baseball player, or a soldier, or a policeman... noble professions back then. realistically, no one could go faster than a speeding bullet or leap tall buildings in a single bound, let alone fly. but regardless of super abilities, heroes, back then at least, were looked upon and admired for what they stood for and upheld: concepts of justice and good triumphing over evil... those kinds of things!

sadly, i remember the time when many children (and adults) in our country wanted to be actors. wannabes, that's what they were. good looks were a ticket in; never mind that they didn't have talent. there were more than enough to fill in the daily slots of "that's entertainment" where televiewers suffered from watching the wards attempt to entertain with their skits, dances, songs, and on-the-spot drama classes. not to be outdone, the other channel had circles of so-called talents. some heroes they were. in an impoverished country such as ours, it was a get-rich-quick deal. fatalists that we are, we went for it, hook, line, and sinker. i remember thinking, "what will our country be in 10 years time? we'll have so many actors and no doctors, no policemen, no teachers..."

these days, a lot of people want to be nurses... not to be of service, but rather, as a ticket out of here and out of poverty. really, who can blame them? thought bubble: hmmm... i wonder if there are actors that became nurses?

i've always believed that to become a strong nation, we need strong leaders. after all, it is the leaders who pave the way, who give the direction. it's a simple matter of command responsibility.

my class discussed leadership qualities in religion class last quarter. we listed qualities we thought good leaders ought to have then evaluated leaders of countries (u.s.a. and the philippines) and our school against these. well, let's just say that bush and gma could not hold a candle to our school directress. we also evaluated Christ. Christ was definitely a good leader. He certainly showed people the way... it was up to them to follow or not. but i digress...

i next assigned my students to interview and report on a person whom they thought was a good leader. i would later ask them to write feature articles on their interviewees for english class. to my delight, i discovered that more than half my class wrote about their parents (most others wrote about their relatives - aunts and a grandparent; one interviewed our school directress). they admired them for reasons such as responsibility, diligence, and optimism. but what struck a chord with me was how my students looked up to their parents for traits like generosity, hospitality, piety, and trust and obedience to God. "my father lives his life for the Lord," said one. another mentioned how her dad could not live a day without praying, praising, worshipping, or talking to God. how awesome is that?! a few of my students refered to their parents as their idols and stated that they wanted to follow in their footsteps. and though their essays may be wanting in organization and spelling, they certainly were not lacking in inspiration.

to my students' parents, congratulations! i'm as proud of you as i am of your own children.
it's times like these that i wish i had more than 12 students in my class. imagine what our country would be like 10 years from now if we had more of them.