WHAT would LeBron do?

While my husband, a New York Knicks fan, anxiously waited with other NBA followers for The Decision, I couldn't help but be dumbfounded at how this one basketball player from Akron, Ohio was trying to grab as many sports headline as the upcoming World Cup Finals between the Netherlands and Spain.

Former Cavaliers star and NBA MVP Lebron James is undoubtedly a great athlete, but the whole circus he was creating over where he would play next is a tad silly and seems to stem out of an immature desire for some attention. It is just a little bit too similar to Kris Aquino airing her personal problems a few days before her brother's inauguration and grabbing tons of media mileage. It's too "Pansinin niyo naman ako!" for my taste.

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It's crazy sometimes. Our society, the whole world in fact, is afflicted with a different kind of Attention Deficit Disorder, the one Filipinos had diagnosed a long time ago as the KSP syndrome. Kulang sa Pansin.

We get on Twitter to gain a following over things we say about the things we do. We try to gain as many friends as possible in Facebook even though half of those we add are people we only vaguely know. Our sense of being, self-worth, self-esteem are all tied up not even to people's opinion of us, but merely on people's attention on us. We get our 15 minutes of fame and we are delighted. No wonder we try to be as outrageous or as scandalous as possible. We need our spotlight fix and darn it, we want it now!

No wonder we get talented singers like Lady Gaga and Christina Aguilera (Xtina now) parading in public, walking down the street or attending sports games in their underwear. No wonder we have so-called fame whores like some mistresses of actors and athletes who, after being busted for their infidelities, would sell their stories and pictures to magazines. Gone were the days when we would be remorseful for the wrongdoings we committed, and shamefully and privately reflect about our lives. No? today, we can just pretend to be sorry and then air dirty laundry in public in order to get rich and be famous. How fabulous!

We've cheapen the word "sorry" with our penchant for being KSP. It has become a band aid that covers a festering sore.

It is during times like these that I am glad I am a teacher and don't have to deal with Lebron's self-aggrandizing or Lady Gaga's "Look-at-me!" fashion choices. Instead, I get to read stories written by my students that remind me of the value of good old-fashioned hard work and perseverance.

After reading about the life of John Gokongwei, I asked my students to write about how they turned their own personal problems into opportunities for growth. Most wrote uplifting stories about overcoming low grades and broken friendships. But I want to share one about how personal discipline achieved a goal:

Charizze Liu wrote, "Last summer I challenged myself to learn how to play the guitar by myself. My parents would not pay for lessons so every time I was at home, I took time to learn through internet sites. Since I had to help at our store, I was not home much but I was able to learn three chords last summer. And although school has started already and I have lots of homework to do, I try my best to find time to practice. Now, I know six chords already and still continue to learn despite the busy schedule."

Charizze won't garner as many accolades as Charice Pempengco for knowing six chords. She won't be as famous for learning to play guitar on her own. But her personal triumph is a triumph nonetheless. In a world of full of KSPs and Get-Famous-Now, Charizze and my students overcame challenges and developed their characters without much fuss. Charizze's lack of self-entitlement, ability to accept delayed gratification and quiet dedication is much more inspiring to me than Lebron's decision to join Miami Heat after all the brouhaha or how many pop superstars seem to feel the need to augment their talent with scandalous actions. As Max Lucado wrote, "I choose goodness? I will be overlooked before I will boast."

What would Lebron do? Right now, he probably should take a page from Charizze and learn about discipline and the value of not trying to make yourself to be more important than you really are.


Jocy L. So-Yeung teaches at Davao Christian High School.