"All of us here in this room have hopes, not just for ourselves, not just for our families and for our loved ones but also for our country. Unfortunately though, the people we've elected into power can't do it all by themselves, they need our help too. And I got this from my brother, change should begin from within. That's where it starts. I mean, it doesn't have to be big. It can be really simple but the important thing is that each of us( I am guilty of a lot of stuff too), makes the change first from within. It starts with one. It starts with just one person and before you know it, that one becomes two and two becomes four and then before you know it, we are in heaven."
Judging the quote itself, it would seem as if this was spoken by a smart and concerned political leader of our nation. Someone we assume to be an apparent advocate of change. However, it may not be surprising to know that these words were delivered by Ms. Leah Salonga. I intended to download the song "The Journey" from the internet but for some reason the one that I was able to download includes her short-speech speaking about change. What she mentioned with reference to change completely makes sense to me. When I heard this commentary from her for the first time, it made me realized one thing. This "change" that most of us have been yearning for to take place, is the unified fragments of every individual’s selfless decisions in life for the society. If each and everyone will come to a single realization of how this seemingly impossible dream can come true then as what Lea Salonga puts it, we will all be living in heaven. The invention of a plane came from a man's decision to explore the place beyond his boundaries. In fact, everything that was invented which we are taking advantage of during this time, all came from a dream, followed by the will that was put into action then the will drove the hands to put all these dreams into reality.
How can a student like me be part in turning the society's desired dream into reality? I can be part of it by being a leader. In the past, I have been living my life clinging to a wrong definition of "leadership". I thought being a leader was someone who barks commands to his followers, someone who doesn't do anything but tell people what to do. I thought living a life of leadership was easy. Nevertheless, my experiences in life helped me see and understand things right. These experiences allowed me to understand what leadership truly is and how it is applied in real life. Now I know that I do not have to be someone in power to be a leader. Being a leader is simply a choice. A choice to serve not ourselves but other people. A selfless initiative to do what is right. This act is something I know can contribute towards the development of my community and my country.
This may sound cliche but let me tell you anyway that being a leader means following rules and regulations. It is a very simple act of ethical behavior. It is so simple that most of us would rather go against it instead of committing to it. It is so simple that we think that violating rules and regulations sometimes wouldn’t hurt at all. As an agent of change, I will not have this kind of mind set. Instead, I will lead the people around me by doing what is right. I will follow the policies of my school, traffic rules and regulations and what have you. I will do this not because I want to impress people but because I know it is the right thing to do. Being a leader means knowing my responsibilities and obligations as a student, a son and a Filipino citizen. I am aware that I have to study hard to make my parents proud and provide a better life for my family in the future. At the same time, I am doing this to give a hand to my country. The hands maintaining the stability of my country is clearly not enough as we can see on the news nowadays. My hands may not be the hands of superman but just to know the fact that I have contributed something for my country makes me proud as a Filipino.
If there's one thing I would change in order for us to achieve national development and progress, I would change the attitude of the people. I think one of the many reasons why we still haven’t achieved this dream is because of the people’s mind set towards themselves, their lives, and the society. Some of us put all the blame to the government, some of us blame other people for the lives we are currently living now, others would rather be passive in everything that is happening around them. These acts are obviously the reason why we are stuck in this present situation. We complain too much but we lack action to do something about the issue. If we desire to change the face of this country and if we are truly longing to rise from this adversity, we need to act positively and appropriately in order to achieve this. We cannot easily change how the people in the government run this country but there’s one thing we can definitely change and that is ourselves. We know who we are and we know the things we need to change in our lives. It is just a matter of deciding and committing to change.
As I was writing this essay, another realization came to me. The acts I have listed in order for me to hand out something for my country is not a headlong solution. I don’t expect this country to change in 10 years time through this. I don’t expect everybody to follow me with this advocacy. However, there are two things I know for sure. I will be able to influence enough people to do their part in making a difference. The second thing is, I wouldn’t be any prouder because I have fulfilled my purpose for my country. So when is the best time to be an agent of change you may ask, well, the best time is, today.
(This is my essay entry for my school's essay writing competition)