National Language Month and our youth (Conclusion)

ROSES & THORNS - Pia Roces Morato - The Philippine Star

One of my fondest memories growing up and celebrating Linggo ng Wika at school was listening to our folk singer Florante de Leon’s song called “Ako’y isang Pinoy” which to me fully embodies the value of our national language while embracing our own identity. Like Quezon, we have all come to realize how essential it is for all of us to come together through one language in order to appreciate and accomplish our daily goals. However, I have to admit that we still struggle with the understanding of a language’s power to “weld” us into one strong nation.

And again, just like Quezon, by no means do I and many others find the need to seek replacement for languages that are certainly useful to us, which in turn also provide preservation for us in terms of our culture and our “point of contact” with other cultures where there are obvious gains in the knowledge of such languages. I simply say this because, in order for us to embrace what is our own, we must also acknowledge the sum of all parts that are beneficial to us as we continue to consolidate and invigorate (as Quezon said) our national unity.

National thought, as Jose Rizal said, takes its roots in a common language and today, decades after our heroes have long gone, we are growing closer to a more inclusive society that is not only a place for people of different backgrounds but a home for those who want real change in their country and, through a common language, our purpose is yet to be fulfilled. The youth have become more aware of our culture, now more than ever before, as they are living in a society where we, their elders, have shown them a different way of thinking about how they can be more participative in nation building by including them in the way decisions are being considered for the next generation of young people.

I too am learning about how to make celebrations such as this more empowering for the whole of society as we all have been living through different circumstances that alter the way we view life. However, history, as Ambeth Ocampo said in a recent conference I attended, must shed light and not heat, hence, when it comes to the younger generation, finding the light in celebrating National Language Month enables them to fall back on their roots in order for them to be more participative in moving a nation forward through a common language.

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