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Opinion

How relevant is Dr. Jose Rizal to the millennials?

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez - The Freeman

It is important that the millennials should know more about our national hero. The most important legacy that Dr. Jose Rizal left to the youth is his statement that the hope of the motherland is in their hands. Not in the politicians, not even in the businessmen, or social and political leaders. The question we ask today is whether or not today's youth have proven themselves worthy of the legacy left by our national hero. Your answer is as good as mine.

I know of a few millennials who are truly amazing in their achievements that they themselves attained on their own. I met a 21-year-old Indian-Filipino boy, who is now the president of his own internet-based company worth P17 million from a capital of less than P100,000 that he borrowed from his uncle when he was just 17. He is a computer wizard and by just mastering computer games and music, he is able to do business worldwide. I cannot even explain the intricate details of how he did it. I know of a 24-year-old Filipina who is now a holder of two doctorate degrees and is teaching Quantum Physics in a US university based in New York State.

I know and met many other young achievers, and I figure that Rizal would have been proud of these budding Filipinos. Rizal is relevant to the young today because he showed more than a century ago that a hunger for education and a passion for achievements, even under very difficult circumstances, is possible if and when these young Filipinos only focus on their ambitions, and really work hard for them. I know of children of poor parents who could not even afford to own their own houses, but they strived hard and achieved for themselves outstanding success in professions, businesses, and even politics. To paraphrase Rizal, indeed, there is hope in our youth.

A good number of your young Filipinos are making their parents proud and happy. But it is also a sad to think that many of our millennials are spoiled brats who think that they are entitled to all the comforts that are fruits of the very long and hard struggles their parents went through. There are many young people today who are into drugs, alcohol, premarital sex, gambling, and petty crime. Many of the young are not doing well in school, and some who are already working jump from one job to another. They cannot seem to adjust well to the working environment, and they show some manifest difficulty in complying with company policies and meeting standards. They have low tolerance levels and are easily disappointed when exposed to pressures and stress.

It is useful for the millennials to take another look at the life of Rizal, especially his academic and career achievements, his passion for excellence and his drive for achievement. He was not contented being only a doctor or surgeon. He worked very hard in many other fields of endeavors, and he did succeed as a writer, poet, novelist, agriculturist, community organizer, painter, sculptor, surveyor, architect, and engineer. He was multi-skilled and he could multi-task beyond the scope of normal human achievements. I believe that Rizal continues to be relevant today as a model for all young Filipinos who aspire to break barriers and achieve more than the ordinary.

Our national hero is a model of excellence and achievements. We should teach our youth to emulate his life.

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