Seven Pillars: The School That Thrives In Love
While I was eating at a Chinese restaurant, an all-girl family consisting of a mother and her three daughters caught my attention. The mother was in gym clothes and carrying an office bag, and her eyes glowed with contained excitement. The youngest daughter, who might be in the fourth grade, sat next to her mother, while the two daughters, perhaps about fourteen and sixteen years old, sat across them.
During that time I was amidst my final weeks in college, which was characterized by deadlines, sleepless nights, and rushed projects and papers. I live in Laguna but had to dorm in Katipunan to be near my school, going home only during weekends. Seeing this family in the restaurant made me miss home, although there was a slight sting in my heart. The mother had ordered delicious food for her daughters, and was lovingly tending to them. However, her older daughters across the table were glued to their cell phones, oblivious to the smile of their mother who apparently was only appreciated by her youngest daughter. Mother and bunso would tickle and talk, but when the mother would address one of her older daughters, they would look to her with annoyance, and would give her single-word responses.
Though few words and glances were exchanged among these two daughters and their mother, I saw how their mother kept a sweet yet somber smile and went on with the dinner. However, this smile was a mask she had put on to maintain an aura of happiness, a smile to tell her to stay calm despite the indifference of her daughters. The sumptuous dinner on the table was not enough to break the distressing distance between family members.
The generation in which the two daughters belong to is categorized in what sociologists call the “Millennials”, or “Generation Y”. Members of Generation Y include those who were born between 1982 to 2002 (www.cpcc.edu). This generation is considered to be tech-savvy and is also found to be the most educated compared to generations preceding it (www.businessinsider.com). Likewise, Millennials are considered to be change-makers because they recognize opportunities brought by a technological era and are optimistic about the future (www.npr.org).
However, there are also cons in being part of Generation Y. Francis Kong, a respected inspirational speaker, writer and entrepreneur said, “The thing that concerns me is that the young generation of today has put premium on gadgets and creature comforts and the importance of having money over values and virtues”. True enough, in a study conducted by EY, which determined and compared the characteristics of “Boomers”, “Gen X”, and “Millennials”, showed that Millennials “scored the lowest on being a ‘team player (45%)’”, being “hardworking (39%)”, and in perceiving themselves as “a productive part of my organization (58%)” (www.businessinsider.com).
This is unfortunate because more and more studies of this day reveal that social skills and a high emotional quotient are vital tools in achieving success. The article “18 Behaviours of Emotionally Intelligent People”, gives traits of successful people with high EQ and shows how these are important in the workplace. For example, those who have high EQ “appreciate what they have” and “are difficult to offend”, because they are confident but also listen to opinions of others.
Also, people with high EQ “know their strengths and weaknesses”, which allow them to hone what skills they know they are good at. They also “have a robust emotional vocabulary”, which allows them not to be misunderstood by the people around them and are able to communicate effectively with others (www.time.com). With this, people who have high EQs are individuals who know themselves well, which is why they have a pleasant and positive disposition. Their drive is also strong because they know that they can accomplish whatever they set their minds to. However, one might ask, how am I able to know myself well?This is where a healthy spiritual relationship comes in, which Seven Pillars Catholic School provides to its students.
Knowing God is key to knowing oneself, in fact, God knows us more than we can ever know ourselves because He is a Being of possibilities while we are beings of mere limits. In other words, we define ourselves as capable of only doing so much. However, with God, He certainly knows that we can do more. To illustrate this, recall the time when you were in love. In this state, you felt that you could do anything, right? You felt very happy, and when you went to school or work, things were done efficiently. Because of being ecstatic, your colleagues teased you, “yiee inspired siya!”.
We feel inspired because we are joyful about someone accepting us for who we are, and that the person we are in love with will support us in every way. But how will this materialize if the person we are in love with…does not love us back? Well, when it comes to God’s love, we should not worry about that, because He loved us first, and our only job is to respond to this love. Also, since God’s love is enduring beyond time, He will never leave us. With this, knowing that we are and will always be important to someone makes us feel valuable. This perfect, unconditional love is what makes us aware of our dignity, which is why it also brings us happiness. Because of this, we realize that a high EQ, in actuality, is the ability of a person to love oneself, and to love others.
This is why Seven Pillars has touched the lives of many students, because this school thrives in love. We recognize the value of each student, parent, teacher and staff and in turn, teach each other how to love as well. However, we have to remember that someone only knows that we love him/her if we actually tell them or show them. Communication is where we channel our love toward the other. This is why Seven Pillars is always hands-on and involved with its students. With this, we will be able to make each other shine and help one another in developing our skills and talents. In the same way, parents should be the first to teach their children to love. It is the job of the parent to initiate communication in the family, because a child is still trying to find him/herself and attempting to understand the world. The child needs to feel that she/he is loved for him/her to open up and grow, which is not satisfied by mere family dinners-out or weekend shopping sprees. Like God loving us first, a child will only know how to respond to love if his/her parent loves.
*Published in print version (Voice of the South, Volume 12, No. 7)