By Jo Ann Lim
Parents often ask their children what they want to be when they grow up. Perhaps an even more important question is what kind of person do you want to become when you grow up? Do we take pride in the accomplishments of our children or is there greater pride in their character and how they treat others? Will they ultimately choose careers that reflect or enhance their character?
Those of us who are parents know that we are the first teachers of our children. Children often want to be just like their parents when they grow up. They watch their parents’ every move even when we think they are lost in play, minding their own business. They hold these brief but profound snapshots of daily life as memories that help to shape their transformation from childhood to adulthood. Because of these discerning little eyes, parents need to carefully model what they want their children to emulate.
The education of our children is not just about reading and writing, getting good grades, or earning a degree. Some schools include a curriculum that teaches trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship (the six pillars of good character). Education is also about character building so that we can tackle the world head on to solve problems, ultimately enhancing the lives of others. When we educate one child, that one child may be using their one life to uplift countless others along with them. This circle of kindness is summarized by Paolo Coelho as follows: “When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”
The following excerpt from The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin beautifully summarizes the interrelationship of character and profession as follows: “I know you’ll be kind… and clever… and bold. And the bigger your heart, the more it will hold. When nights are black and when days are gray—you’ll be brave and be bright so no shadows can stay. And become anybody that you’d like to be. And then I’ll look at you and you’ll look at me and I’ll love you, whoever you’ve grown up to be.” Your heart may lead you to your chosen profession and your chosen profession may shape and fill your heart.
The Filipino term “utang na loob” when translated literally, means "a debt of one's inner self”. This circle and cycle of kindness and the giving of oneself for the benefit of others is a traditional value instilled in and one that is taken to heart by many Filipino families. Your gift of an education and literacy, which is the core mission of the Hesser Foundation, has a multiplier or snowball effect on the life and character of the giver and of the recipient.
Please support the Hesser Foundation today and become a part of the circle and cycle of kindness. In this process you will help children realize how they can be wonderful for themselves and for others.