Aguilar: Lessons from Kahlil

Urban Life

WHILE I was trying to update my notes on Facebook, I came across a personal entry about an essay made by one of my students in junior high some years ago. I must have read it so many times before, yet while I was re-reading the essay I still could not help but be moved by the passion it carries. Let me share it with you.

Here goes:

I went lazily to school on the last day of school year 2010. After meeting up with deadlines and requirements, I was exhausted and tired. But since it was our last class day I had to come to work.

So I got into my first class that morning and did our morning prayer. I had my class seated, and then I wrote on the board: “What have you learned in my subject this year?”

After 15 minutes, Kahlil Angeles, the most timid in class, came forward to hand in his paper. At the speed of how he wrote it, I thought he was just trying to get it over and done with. To my surprise this was what he wrote:

“All throughout this year I have learned a lot of things about the history of the world. One year is a short amount of time and we have not fully taken up all parts of the world.

Since the beginning of time, humanity has continuously evolved from simple nomads to ambitious emperors. I have learned about the rise and the fall of many great civilizations. Truly, ambition is the enemy of success. To note, empires have descended from their glory and have become a mere footnote in history due to this egotism.

It would be wise to take a look back in our past and contemplate on our present society. If we keep on making the same mistakes over and over again, then we are nothing more than a mere replica of a dog chasing its tail. We would always be going in circles without any progress in our social responsibilities and awareness.

Over time, our ancestors made a lot of mistakes, but as time progressed, the world has slowly made advancements. However, these are merely advancements in science and technology. What needs to be improved is our mentality and sense of maturity. If we look closer, all of us are like crying babies. We keep on complaining but we are not actually doing anything to solve our problems.

Actions speak louder than words and I think that the world needs to change for the better. I can only do so much as a student but as the saying goes ‘a bird must learn to walk before it can fly.’”

Kahlil has recently graduated from medical school. In his college years, he volunteered to assist my office (UN-RCE) in implementing series of projects intended to help rebuild the community of Sendong survivors. Indeed, not only did he learn to walk, he has started a good take off as well.

Now isn’t education supposed to be about that, i.e., making them think as well and be part of the solution to all the problems we face as a community? Students like Kahlil are just what we need in our community. In fact, the likes of him is what we need to run our local governments; those whose actions are way louder than their words.


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