BACK in the old days, the teacher, next only to the priest, was the most revered person in the community. Not greeting him or her “good morning” or “good afternoon” or “good evening” when you met him/her was as unpardonable as failing to kiss the hand of the reverend every time your paths crossed.

A teacher is a person in authority. Back in the good old days, it was unthinkable to lay your hand on a teacher especially when he’s doing his work. The classroom was his temple.

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It still is, which is why I find reprehensible the killing of a public school teacher in front of his pupils in Argao the other day. The murder shattered one of the last good memories of the good old days. I hope the police will be luckier in their investigation of the crime and bring the killers to justice.

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Luciano “Jun” Cantal describes himself as a chemical engineer by profession, an industrial engineer by training and an organization and human resource development man by practice.

He was vice president for human resources of ABS-CBN in Manila until he decided to resign to stay closer to his family, especially to a son whose deep involvement in the fight for social justice caught the attention of some military intelligence agents who promptly called Jun’s wife.

He now regularly conducts leadership training seminars for companies like Del Monte Phils., Dole Stanfilco, Lexmark, NEC Telecom and Gothong Southern Shipping. It was in one of his seminars that I learned about “tending the roots to nurture the plant” and the difference between personality and character.

Recently, Jun was asked by a mutual friend and client if any of the presidential candidates meets his definition of a “Be-Do-Have” leader, a term that Jun said he coined to establish the correct sequence in getting things done because “oftentimes people get the sequence backward” because they love shortcuts.

In his reply, Jun explained that “Be” refers to character, the person’s unique identity and values. It is his personal brand: who he is, what he stands for. Character is a combination of courage and consideration, courage being the quality to stand up for something and consideration meaning, being sensitive to the needs and feelings of others.

“Do” on the other hand is the bias for action. If “Do” is based on a principled “Be,” it is generative and worth following.

Otherwise, it can be selfish and manipulative, Jun wrote.

“Be” drives “Do” which drives “Have.” “Values drive behaviors and behaviors drive results. It follows that wrong values drive wrong behaviors and can’t produce good results. It also goes without saying that good values drive good behaviors and drive good results.”

Jun said he felt amused many times by remarks made by people after a debate that they liked a particular candidate “because his answers were specific.” In short, he said, “they were looking for ‘Do’s’ so they can ‘Have.’ But they forget who the person talking is. Can he deliver, given his ‘Be’?”

He also marveled at how people could “easily be duped by political ads” when all they do is “talk about ‘Do’ and ‘Have.’”

One ad, for example, makes us believe that it is easy to eradicate poverty. But, Jun said, we all know that it is a complex problem that needs tons of political will to solve, not to mention character on the part of the person leading us. But people love the ad and are swayed.

Jun said that we think that we can easily have what we want even if our “Be” and “Do” are distorted. No wonder, he moaned, the line to the lotto ticket counter is longer than the one to the confessional box.

(frank.otherside@yahoo.com)