November 25, 2010

Building Character

When I was in my junior year in high school, I joined the CO training for officership during senior year. We called it TCOCCO then. Am not sure though if it's still around. Heard news before that the school admin and PTA had it banned for all the rigorously physical as well as psychological pressures students had to bear the whole year. Even alluded to some activities as a form of hazing. Well, I'm sure most in my generation (those who had citizen's army training in their high school's curriculum) can relate.

I enjoyed the training though. Not so much for the physical exertions but more because of the bonding that we developed with fellow aspirants. They were both happy years (fun, fun, fun) as well as sad (times when you get berated by officers). I have to say that a lot of character- molding happen during this period. And one of my favorite part was memorizing anthologies. I know, not many would agree. A lot of creativity go into the reporting period. Some poems we had to sing or rap or dance to. And it was fun! To this day, I still carry here in my heart countless lessons that I learned then.

Here's one anthology I hold dear:

Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak,

and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid;

one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat,

and humble and gentle in victory...

Build me a son whose wishes will not take the place of deeds;

A son who will know thee and understand

that to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge...

Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort,

but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenges.

Here let him learn to stand in the storm;

Here let him learn compassion for those who fail...

Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high.

A son who will seek to master himself

before he seeks to master other men,

one who will march into the future, yet never forget the past...

And after all these things are his, add, I pray,

enough of a sense of humor

so that he may always be serious,

yet never take himself too seriously.

Give him humility, so that he may always remember

The simplicity of true greatness

The open mind of true wisdom,

and the meekness of true strength...

Then I, his Father, will dare to whisper:

“I have not lived in vain.”

~ Gen. Douglas MacArthur

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