At this point, I would like to ask you two questions. My first question is, have you set your priorities?
I felt humbled and ashamed of myself after hearing these stories. You see, for the past weeks I’ve been feeling sorry for myself because I do not have enough funds to buy my son a car when he goes to college. I guess most of you are now thinking what kind of cell phone, laptop or even car, to buy in readiness for college life. Let us all set our priorities. We can do without the extravagant extras. Let us think of those 3 students who have put so much value in their education. I believe that for these 3, half the battle has been won.
My second question is, what is your goal? Do you want to be a doctor, a teacher, a computer engineer, a prima ballerina, a fashion model? What ever your dream is, be it your goal. What ever your goal is, aim high. My eldest daughter took the medical board exams last February. She said she was aiming to place in the top ten. I said, it is okay not to place in the top ten. Passing the board exams is enough. She said, “No mom, I aim high so in case I fall short of my goal, I still pass the boards”. She passed the boards and is in the top 10 of her batch if not of the whole lot of examinees.
For last, I have one advice. Think you can, and you can. I have instilled in my five children the importance of positive thinking. If you think you cannot, then you’re halfway in failing in whatever you want to achieve. In the ladder of life’s experience, you are in the bottom rung. There will always be failures and problems be it in the form of failed relationships, failed grades, failed expectations, failed aspirations, and others. I do not believe that failure is the opposite of success. I consider failure an integral ingredient to success. It is in failing and surmounting seemingly impossible problems that you grow strong, wiser and experienced.
Success is not measured by financial achievement alone. I suppose success can be measured also by how much you’ve gained in terms of experience; how much you’ve given to others and your impact to the society you move in. I have a daughter who has been offered jobs abroad. The compensation is quadruple the amount she receives at her current work. With much thought and deliberation, she rejected the offers. I asked her why she declined the offers. She said that “mom, I did not become a teacher to go abroad for the money. I want to teach here where I can be of service to my country. I was about to say “ok ka lang?” for I thought she was only patronizing. I saw she was serious and I respected her decision. My 2nd daughter values her current work because of the professional growth and the feeling of fulfillment she gets in teaching. This is success in its purest form.
My dear graduates, you have a long and winding road ahead of you. Waste no time. Remember to always ask for guidance from the Lord. Bear in mind that we, your parents, are not the enemies. We are your allies and in full support of you and your aspirations. Keep in mind to give back to the less fortunate. Do all these, and you are on your way to becoming fine citizens of the world.