Youths of Today: Where are we now?

 

We listen to our parents talking about these things. We see our parents doing these things. We learn doing these things. We live doing these things. Are we going to die still doing these things?

Values. One word that shapes the life of every individual. Yes! Our values as Filipinos have shaped and influenced us. These have become a part of our culture, traits and traditions. The family is the very basic unit of our society where we learn by experience the Filipino values that our parents have imbibed from their parents and have been adopted from generation to generation. The foundation of who we are inside and outside begins at home. If we are raised well, most probably, we will grow up well.

Our parents are our first values teachers. We learn from them the use of ‘po’ and ‘opo’ when we speak to people older than we. We also learn from them to kiss the hand of elders or do the ‘mano po’ gesture when an older relative comes to our house; this greatly shows our respect to elders. Our parents teach us to value our family. According to them, we should always be close to our family and we must learn how to take care of them. They inculcate in us how to be grateful and live in gratitude. “Be hospitable,” our parents always remind us, especially if we have visitors or newfound friends. They even instill in us the value of ‘pakikisama’ or getting along well with people. Our parents tell us to create a culture of ‘bayanihan or malasakit’ whenever our friends or relatives need us most.’ Lastly, they are our first catechists by teaching us how to pray to God earnestly and to be aware of God’s presence in our lives. They always tell us these words, “God is merciful, my child!”

When we have started going to school, these values are reinforced. Our dear teachers have developed in us how to get along well with our classmates and schoolmates; thus teaching us one aspect of socialization. They have also implanted and developed in us these same values that we learned at home. They have taught us to become productive, responsible, well-disciplined and great assets of our society.

What have we become now?

Disrespectful? Ungrateful? Impatient? Impulsive? Self-centered? Weak? Vulnerable? Cynical? Indifferent? Broken? These are some of the impressions that society has on many of us, youth. It seems that the youths of today have forgotten the great statement uttered by our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, especially meant for us: “The youth is the hope of our motherland.” It looks like that the generation of today’s youth is losing our noble and inspiring Filipino values. When does this image lead us to? Can we still manage to create a paradigm from bad to good, from being liabilities into assets, from being self-centered to humble and others-centered, and from being vulnerable, cynical and indifferent to being focused, strong, goal-oriented, involved, committed, responsible young people with full of hope, that in spite of all these negative impressions, we, the youths of today can be catalysts of change—for the better?

This shift, I know, is easier said than done. There are challenges, great of them, that we will still encounter in the future. Some of them are the various technological gadgets—CP, PSP, MP4, computers that bombard our lives with different features which somehow affect and infiltrate us. Indeed, they have become a part of our system that we could hardly live without using them, even for a day! Through these gadgets, we can easily access different audio-visual features, such as videos, music, and games. Some videos are pornographic; some music use vulgar words; some games teach us violence.

We develop impatience for we are getting used to simply ‘clicking’ many of the things we need using these gadgets; that once we don’t get access to something, we get angry and sometimes depressed.

The mass media also affect us. What we see and hear via the television and radio create in us a virtual image of a society which we intent to live in—violent, impulsive, vulnerable and chaotic. All these affect us emotionally, psychologically and morally.

Despite these challenges, I strongly believe that we can still advocate the good values that our parents and grandparents have taught us. It’s not yet late, my fellow youth. Let us prove the old generation that we, the young generation, can still live by those values that they have instilled in us. Let us challenge one another to be the best that we can be in creating a society full of good values!

My fellow youth, why don’t we start using ‘po’ and ‘opo’ in our everyday encounter with elders and persons in authority? I do remember, it makes us, Filipinos, unique from other nations. One more time, can we show the old generation the ‘mano po’ gesture whenever we see them around, after all, we’re used to that, aren’t we? Why don’t we also start showing our family that we care for them? Why don’t we love them especially the elder members of our family? Their lives are numbered so why not allow time to bond with them? I am sure that they also yearn to be loved and be appreciated. Friends, can we be hospitable enough to others? Do you still remember that other nations like Filipinos because we are hospitable? Stop being self-centered and cynical! Let us get along well with other people. Let us stop our crab mentality. Youths of today, can we start helping our friends and countrymen? I believe that it is one of the keys to building a great nation. Bayanihan is in our blood. It is in our system. Please don’t let it drain! Again, why don’t we create a culture of malasakit? Let’s give even to strangers, to less-fortunate and to those who don’t even ask for help. Most of all, why don’t we close our eyes again, my fellow youth and let us feel the presence of God in our life. I have come to realize the value of faith. Please come back to the heart of worship, just like the old days that you’re used to be close to him, praying wholeheartedly.

We, the youth of today may be living in a modern society but we are still Filipinos. Please, don’t just leave our good values behind. Don’t just stand there and watch such values fade away. I must do something. You must do something. We must do something! Hand in hand, let us rediscover our values. Let us watch out for new values that would engulf our society. Moreover, let us all advocate the old good Filipino values that we’ve once had to make us new and values-centered individuals. Not only today, not only tomorrow…Until our last breath!

We die.

We live again.

We learn.

We see our children.

We listen to them.

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