Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hope for the Future



essay : The literary works of our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, carry many allusions to the youth. We see that in both his books and poems. He wrote those with a revolution in mind, a vision of setting a nation free. However, what would he have to say about the youth of today? A generation of vice, of procrastination—is there anything left of the spirit which prevailed among the young people that marked that period? A spirit of purpose, of collective good and of progress?
This generation has been given many labels, some of which are negative. Newspapers and magazine feature articles credit the youth of today with unseeming titles, such as a generation that has to have everything at the touch of a button or at the click of a mouse. Parents lament over lost values, patience, tact, steadfastness and instead proclaim that the youth are violent, impractical and lack foundation or goals to work for. Sadly, their words have come to pass in a twisted sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.
However, accepting these words leaves no hope for the future. If everybody acknowledges the youth to be as careless as popular belief dictates, what can we all look forward to in regard to our families, our communities, our country and finally, our world?
This is not a matter of perspective, of seeing the youth differently out of necessity, no matter what the issue may be: fear, lack of choice or by default. If considered closely, the future of the Philippines lies in uncertain hands. What evidence is there to propel the encouragement that our generation needs to hear? What merits may lie hidden in the midst of the widespread indifference and apathy?
The Filipino youth are tired of the way we have been living for so long, under the influence of so many countries, sinking in our own inferiority, unable to find our identity. Our generation is the turning point. Education has given us an edge, it has sharpened our thinking, it has pushed us to think critically of what lies ahead. If we are to inherit the country, we have to do something about it, not only for us, but for the generations ahead. And we are.
Teenagers now are getting involved in social work. In my university, for example, there are many organizations formed specifically for the purpose of reaching out to fellow countrymen (Gawad Kalinga, Tugon, etc.). This move is not an option, but rather, a duty. Activities such as teaching kids and building houses, throwing Christmas parties are the main focus. The basic point? Reaching out.
There is now a premium on rebuilding what we have lost, rebuilding with emphasis on the basic values that make us a Filipino nation, values based on our heritage as the only Christian nation in Asia. It is a call to go back to our roots. Perhaps the main challenge for the present generation is to re-establish the integrity of the nation within itself before we can project that image to the international arena. That includes taking responsibility for our actions and living in a spirit of excellence. Our hope lies in the youth today. We can be leaders NOW, not having to wait for positions in government or business corporations or banks. It may seem like a gamble, but if we play it right, I'm certain we can come out on top.

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