When I asked students about what they think of society today, rarely did I find answers related to their awareness of social issues like poverty or profound answers about life. Often, their views of the world are limited to a description of how fast-paced our society is nowadays and how new buildings rising like mushrooms represent “improvement of life”. No one ever mentioned about other realities like the everyday we encounter with that kid in the street running around asking for money, or that old lady sitting down in the hard pavement hoping for better days to come as we walk pass by her. Human as we are, we tend to sympathize with them or pity them, hoping to do something great that can really change their lives.
Last week, I was given the task to facilitate a service-learning project at a public school – part of what we do in my new job at La Consolacion College Bacolod is to take the students out to the community. Since working for Volunteer Service Organization, I have become used to community-based engagements and for each, there are always new lessons or a reminder of the ones I have learned before but perhaps forgotten.
I went with the 6th graders to guide them in their activity which involved tutoring younger kids at the public school. For the students, it was a way to apply what they have learned in school while at the same time, learn something new. That rainy Friday was filled with giggles and laughter as our 6th graders taught subjects like Mathematics, Social Studies, and English.
Most of our students were astounded why the kids at the public school were enjoying despite their condition: jam-packed classroom, not enough materials and school supplies. One curiously asked how the pupils could seem to be okay.
It was, to me, an opportunity to teach what I have learned in life, that is, we should take delight in little things. For the pupils at the public school, having our students giving them time, attention and care are enough for them to be happy.
As pitiful as it sounds, our world today has conditioned us to put our satisfaction in material things. We strive hard to gain material things only to lose our ability to care and love each other, and yet, these are all that really matters./ Benedict Moraña