August 25 is the National Heroes Day in the Philippines. This holiday honors the Filipinos who have made a significant difference in the country throughout the years. Although, most heroes are known for their efforts in resisting foreign colonizers such as Spain, the United States, and Japan.
Since we no longer have colonizers and we are not in a state of war, how can we become contemporary heroes? In this article, we’ll explore several ways to become heroes in our own right.
As yuppies, we are busy with work (what else), with partying after work, and some of us are busy in supporting families: siblings going to College or parents with illness. Overseas Filipino Workers are already considered “Bagong Bayani” (New Heroes) because of their sacrifices and because of the money they are sending to the country. For several years now, they’ve been greatly contributing to the GNP and financial records of the country.
How about the rest of us?
Here are several tips on how we can become heroes.
Live a meaningful life.
In our time, consumerism is becoming the biggest religion around the world. Increasingly, our lives are being defined by the stuff we own, and the things we buy. Young people are especially prone to consumerism. Just take a look at the advertisements for liquor on TV and on the billboards along EDSA.
Gadgets here, there, and everywhere. How easily do we classify people according to the kind of gadgets they use.
But if you want to become a hero, you’ll need to fight against the impulse to buy and accumulate stuff. You and me need to live meaningful lives. And where do we get such meanings?
It could be for family, your community, or the country. Which leads us to the next one.
Sign up for a worthy cause.
Ask an activist or a person who is passionate for the poor and the marginalized peoples of our society. Or those who have devoted their lives to raise awareness about a particular cause — the folks who are fighting cyberbullying, the people who are making sure that animals are treated with respect and dignity. How could we forget the people who are advocating for the environment? These are worthy causes to fight for.
An example of this would be Tony Meloto who declares “No More Slums” in the Philippines. Isn’t that a worthy cause to fight for?
Solve a problem in the community or the country.
There are many problems in our communities and in the country. While there is a place for criticizing the government and going out on protest rallies and demonstrations, we can’t escape the need to solve a problem in our own ways.
In one of our podcast episodes, I interviewed Jayjay Lizarondo who told us how he filmed the story of Mary Rose and other kids scavenging the dumpsite of Taytay, Rizal. He eventually helped Mary Rose get an education, and now his organization has several bamboo schools in Tanay, Rizal, catering to the educational needs of the indigenous peoples there.
What problems do you see in your community? How can you help solve that problem?
Serve with passion and purpose.
Becoming a hero requires a measure of sacrifice. Remember Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Jacinto, the nameless soldiers who died at the Bataan Death March? They all sacrificed in the name of service.
Thankfully, we don’t have to die. Sacrifice has many different facets. Who do you want to serve? And if you decide to serve, make sure that you do it passionately and it is tied up with a deeper sense of purpose.
As young people, it may take time before we get to discover our deeper purpose. In Christian parlance, it’s your calling. But we shouldn’t wait passively. We should actively try to discover what it is that we are called to do in this world.
What if we had superpowers?
While Iron Man, Batman, Superman, and the X-Men among others only live in the pages of Marvel & DC Comics and in the movie screens, we, young people of the 21st century have several powers that boost our abilities.
Should you want to make a difference in your world, it has become a little bit easier. I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m saying it’s a bit easier compared with the yesteryears. We have the World Wide Web. We have technology. We have access to knowledge and best practices from around the world.
If we want to make a difference now and become our own version of contemporary heroes, we actually can!
And this is where I’d like to invite you to the launching of my book: “May Powers Ka to Be #SuperEpic.” It’s a book about our superpowers as young people. Written in conversational “Taglish”, this book is a leadership manual for young leaders who want to make a difference in the world around them.
The book will be launched on May 20, 2014 11:00AM to 2:00PM, together with the books of my friends: Ronald Molmisa’s “Lovestruck: Sakit Edition”, Rei Lemuel Crizaldo’s “Boring Ba ang Bible Mo?” and their collaborative project: “Pinoy Big Values.”
Let me know if you’re coming by signing up at this Event page