The Filipino youth has always been tagged as the “hope of the nation.” This cliché is not new to everyone’s acuity. Dr. Jose P. Rizal himself, in his firm conviction, emphasized that every Filipino, regardless of their status in life can be a living Rizal only if they would integrate the blazing fire of leadership and love in their respective noble undertakings. Each young Filipino, living in the four corners of the archipelago, who embodies the values and principles Dr. Rizal typified, has the capabilities of surmounting the seem-to-be unsurpassable struggles which plague the different areas of national life.
The national hero had never forgotten of conversing about the youth which he resolutely deemed to be the succeeding builders of the country’s edifice. His love for the youth is beyond compare as substantiated in almost all of his writings and actions. He explicated through his masterpieces the imperative role of the youth in building the nation and in molding the country’s future. In El Filibusterismo, Rizal, appealed to the youth of all generations. Through the character of Padre Florentino, Rizal proclaimed:
Where are the youth who will consecrate their golden hours, their illusions, and their enthusiasm to the welfare of their land? Where are the youth who will generously pour out their blood to wash away so much shame, so much crime, so much abomination? Pure and spotless must the victim be that the sacrifice may be acceptable! Where are you, youth, who will embody in yourselves the vigor of life that has felt our veins, the purity of ideas that has been contaminated in our brains, the fire of enthusiasm that has been quenched in our hearts! We await you, O youth! Come, for we await you!
Undoubtedly, the Filipino youth – the new Rizals – are the hope of the nation. It is their hands that would inscribe the next chapters of the country’s history. The glorious victory or the tragic defeat that the nation might encounter in the future is all set forth by the actions of these young people who are accorded the greater responsibilities of contriving monumental changes towards national advancement and welfare.
The Philippines is fleeting with a myriad of new Rizals who possess the values and virtues as fashioned by the great national hero. These young people across the nation shall be molded into great servant leaders who will bravely face all obstacles in all sectors. Young Filipinos should be like Elias, a character in Noli Me Tangere, who symbolizes the people’s awakening, their response and revolting against the tyranny of the Spanish colonialists. The Elias of today equates the new young emerging leaders!
The new Rizals should surface among the Filipino youth of today. These young emerging leaders should look into their hearts and carry on the living flame Rizal once illuminated in his time. Despite of the endless afflictions, innumerable upheavals that the nation is facing at present, the new Rizals should maintain within themselves the burning passion in contriving dynamic innovations towards rebuilding the country. The divine fire of servant leadership as exemplified by Rizal, should never burns out from the youth’s fortification in order to develop all sectors of the civilization towards achieving national prosperity and universal harmony.
Dr. Jose Rizal is indeed an epitome of an exemplary leadership, who emerged among the young people of his time, who was aware of his potentialities, who desired to make a difference in his country and worked in building his nation. Just like him, the youth of today, the new Rizals, should live up to what he has exemplified, to go behind his virtues and values, to stride on the thoroughfare he has crossed and to be leaders of change.
The new Rizals should possess fervent love for his country and fellowmen, promoting national tranquility and understanding among individuals and institutions in diverse sectors of the society. The new Rizals should likewise embody the memory of the great heroes and make their brilliant ideologies of their own as they persist to value honor and life. They should continue to uphold freedom at all costs, maintaining a forbearing and indulgent attitude towards their fellowmen and giving value in the sector of education which is indispensable in transforming one’s character. Just like Rizal, the young leaders must promote social justice and balance the social order as they emerge in the fast-paced changing society.
Youth of today… Be inspired. Be involved. Be empowered. Be like Rizal!
This essay was written which anchored on the conference theme of the 48th National Rizal Youth Leadership Institute Conference, “The New Rizals: Emerging Leaders Innovating Across Sectors” held at Baguio City on December 16-19, 2010.