On September 10, high school Tzu Chi scholars gathered at Jing Si (Still Thoughts) Hall for their monthly Humanity Class. Every second Sunday of the month, these classes aim to impart important life lessons to the participants.
For this month, the lessons focus on respect and gratitude. Respect shows the relationship one has with the other and always responds in kind. Gratitude, on the other hand, can be expressed in various ways, as long as the appreciation for one’s actions is genuine.
Former Tzu Chi staff Lineth Brondial, the guest speaker for the class, speaks about the importance of respect and gratitude in daily life. She touches on important points such as the willingness to ‘pay it forward’ without expecting anything in return and that gratitude and respect towards others is just as important as for one’s self.
“The way you were raised by your family will reflect in your own personality, as well as your interactions with other people. That’s why it is very important to always practice respect and gratitude, starting from your parents to your fellow classmates in school, to your friends, teachers, as well as other people you meet every day,” says Brondial.
Before the end of the class, the scholars made small plush butterflies out of hand towels and rubber bands. Parents from the parents’ class joined the students in making bears from hand towels. The plush toys will be sold at the upcoming Fiesta Verde exhibit on October 14 and 15. Proceeds will go to fund Tzu Chi’s Mission of Education.
Paying it forward
Several scholars were invited to share their experiences of helping others after being helped. For Grade-9 student Michaella Cataluña, she believes that respect defines how an individual is raised by his or her parents. Showing gratitude, even for the smallest of things, is important even if one doesn’t know the other person.
In one account, she recalls how a woman helped her hurry home after getting word that her house in Parola Compound was on fire. This simple act became a saving grace for her sister who was alone at home at the time. Despite the house being razed to the ground, everyone in the family survived.
In another account, she recounts a young man who can’t make get home after losing his wallet. She and her younger sister gave him what little money they had to help him get home.
“You should show your gratitude, even if it’s just for the little things that you do. You should express your appreciation, especially to people who helped you out and those you helped,” Cataluña shares.
On the other hand, Grade-10 student Juvert Funtaniel of San Mateo, Rizal shares that it is important to show respect to one’s parents. The same goes to teachers, classmates, and everyone one comes across. Being thankful, he adds, is also important regardless of circumstances.
“We should show our parents the highest level of respect and gratitude, because they are the ones who brought us into this world. Even if it’s just a simple gesture like a kiss, or a hug after coming home from school, it’s important that we, as children, show our parents that we are thankful for them, because they serve as our guides, and our pillars, as we grow up into successful individuals,” he shares.
Doing good, feeling good
For Grade-10 student Yessamine Barbero, her experiences are tied to her faith. Attending the local Bible study group in Marikina, she has picked up the importance of making the most out of a person’s life. In fact, one of the Ten Commandments of the Christian faith involves honoring one’s parents, the primary source of a child’s wisdom.
“We should do more good than evil. If you have doubts on doing good deeds, then you’ll feel guilty and your conscience will weigh down on you with regrets. It’s better to help people out now rather than waiting for someone to help and then you’d do good just because you saw someone else doing it,” she says.
She adds that respect and gratitude go hand-in-hand.
“If you can express your gratitude, then it also shows that you have that much respect (to the person who helped you) as well, because these two are tied together. One should always do good deeds, no matter how big or small they are, without being made to do so—or even expecting anything in return,” Barbero adds.
Respect and gratitude are reciprocal. Any form of help toward others is sure to manifest in kind one way or another. Regardless of affinity, everyone should be treated with respect and gratitude.
Guest speaker for the day Lineth Brondial introduces the topic of “Respect and Gratitude” to the high school scholars, who pay attention to the discussion. 【Photo by Erin Uy】
Grade 10 student Yessamine Barbero shares her thoughts during one part of the program, specifically on how helping one individual can inspire others to do good. 【Photo by Erin Uy】
Grade 9 student Michaella Cataluña shares her experience on how a stranger helped her get home due to a family emergency, and how she had repaid that same kindness to another stranger that she had encountered who had asked them for help. 【Photo by Erin Uy】
After the sharing activity, the scholars get to work on a brief reflection on the importance of respect and gratitude is to themselves, and to others around them. 【Photo by Erin Uy】
A Tzu Chi volunteer briefs the scholars on the next activity that they will be participating in, which involves making animals out of small hand towels. The products made will be sold to raise funds for the Mission of Education. 【Photo by Erin Uy】
This groups’ tui fu (group overseer) helps guide the students as they try to make a butterfly out of the small hand towels given to them. 【Photo by Erin Uy】
Before the end of the program, the members of the parents’ class join the high-school scholars in making animals out of hand towels. For the parents, they have been assigned to make small bears. 【Photo by Erin Uy】