What are the chances that a participant of a seminar you conducted with an organization you previously worked with before come in contact with you again after two years? I don’t know the probability and I got no time doing the statistics. But well, for me, Chances can surprise you one Friday afternoon while you chose to keep yourself busy on a day’s work.
A few years back, I finally accepted the fact that I will not always be a part of the younger club (took me a while to come to terms with this reality hehe) What I mean is, when I worked for an NGO, one of the things that we do is conducting seminars with College students and various youth groups and this is where I saw the need to take responsibility for this generation. I felt the burden to look after them – the younger ones. Mainly because I still believe our good friend, Jose Rizal, when he said: Ang kabataan ang pag-asa ng bayan. (The youth is the hope of the nation.) I believe it with all my heart no matter how cliché it sounded. I always trusted the potential of creative minds, ideal dreams and energetic optimism which the new generation can bring to the table. And as it turned out, the real battle is to help this new blood realize what they can bring and offer because most of them, forget; most of them, shrug it off; most of them, ends up distracted and misled.
When I was a College student, I was very vocal with my love for the country and its people. I always tell one of my close friends who I always shared a ride with going home from school: “I believe I’ll be able to see Pasig River brought back in its glorious state in my time” or “I believe there’s an end to corruption” or “One day, Filipinos will learn waste management and the country will have a clean environment less prone to flood, flood and more flood.” Sometimes, I think I’m too hopeful or I maybe soaked in deep mud of denial. But I’d rather settle with Hope because that’s the only thing I’ll never get tired to do as long as I live. And so, all I had back in College were my beliefs, my words, my love for the country – which I thought were already enough. But no, it weren’t.
Words are good. Conviction is great. But real action to take that conviction to a whole new level and put a huge amount of credibility to back up your words is an outrageous act of bravery and commitment combined. Working in an NGO taught me that. It was in the social work setting where I met and shook hands with Advocacy, face to face. Advocacy was tough to handle and understand at first. He was, at the very best, awkward and uncomfortable. He wrestles inside you while it forces you to move outside the corners of your comfort zone. And you will want to cuss him every time he gives you that unwanted “push” because it meant relearning how to adjust in a new environment setting yet again.
When I came in contact with this young lady again – our seminar participant two years back – she told me that she’s now only waiting on their graduation on May. Oh, how time flies! And right there and then, in that late Sunday evening, I told her that as young as she is, she got to find something to stitch her heart into: a cause to champion, an advocacy.
I don’t know but I’m convinced that the value we imparted to those young people back in 2011 was, somewhat, etched to their hearts. The young lady is our proof. A lightning bulb: this is what it feels like to touch a soul. When people showed up and make you see that they understood the cause you’re fighting for even if it’s only relatively new for two months or five years or maybe even close to a decade, when these people showed up and reflect in their actions that their is something in them that changed, it is a feeling of sheer amazement.
I am no perfect advocate. I still got commitment issues yet to be resolved. I don’t even know the core of my advocacy yet – what is that one cause I would gladly fight for no matter?
I don’t know a lot of things yet, but, here’s where I stand: I’ll do what I can and I’ll go out there and tell people that they matter and they can do so much with what they have in their hands. It doesn’t always have to be grand, Legacy sometimes, resides in the smallest of things that made you captivate the innermost being of a person: their soul. We have to do things and it will not always be easy. Because we got to go hard, sometimes, too.
I would want this generation to see that whatever little or big causes they may have, it is valuable. If they want to make a stand about purity or acts of random kindness or treating people with respect or battling corruption by not taking part on it and making their voice clear that they won’t tolerate it or obeying their parents or doing their best in school or wherever they are, whatever it is — it is valuable. And if they haven’t found something worth fighting for yet, it’s okay. I’m a great believer of getting lost in order for you to get found.
These army of young people must not forget that they have to be present and no, not just in social media. They have to feel the need of their community and go out of their way, sometimes, to reach that need somehow. Because when you push yourself hard enough to deliver something beyond what you know you can do and you do so out of love and concern, where it’s at most uncomfortable and shaky but you know will be worth the while, maybe then, even when you haven’t realized it yet – you are already holding hands with Advocacy. When you finally take a hold of it, you know where to go.