“I cannot do everything but I can do something. What I can do, I ought to do. And with the grace of God, I will do it” – Prof. Monsod

Economics 11 is just one of my required subjects in my BS Food Technology course . The year 1976 was my Junior year in UP Diliman and I made sure that Prof. Solita Monsod was my Economics teacher because she was known to be kind. None of those terror teachers, please. Economics is not exactly my cup of tea. Science subjects were my forte. I didn’t know it then but it was also the semester that my mother died of breast cancer and Monsod’s kindness helped me pull through with make-up exams.

It was Martial Law times and I don’t recall her talking much about the state of the country like she did in the Honor and Excellence video taken by one of her students last October 5, 2010.

Honor and excellence was ingrained in all UP students. I don’t recall the people responsible for placing it in my thoughts. Prof Monsod however elaborates that the ““fruit of honor and excellence” is ““competence and integrity”.

What hits hard is staying in the Philippines even after graduation.

“The Philippines needs you more than you would ever think. And if it is not you, who else will do it?” says Prof, Monsod

I have often heard the monicker ““Iskolar ng Bayan” in all of my college life. Prof. Monsod drives the same point . As scholars of the people, UP students owe a debt of gratitude to the Filipino people, whose taxes paid for part of that education. Fighting the dictatorship was a struggle that I fought for as a student in the state university.

I understand Prof Monsod.

Carlo Osi suggests that “UP alumni can repay this debt by serving underserved communities, engaging in public service, running for public office, organizing communities, spearheading humanitarian service projects, or simply volunteering. You don’t have to be a social worker or community volunteer to do this; you can easily be a professor, a doctor, an engineer, a store owner, a pilot, an admin officer, a priest, a bank officer, a retiree or an overseas contract worker, and still serve the nation.”

I chose to stay.

As a young mother in 1986, I received an immigration application to the USA from my sister. Full of hope that our country would prosper under President Cory Aquino, I tore the application form. I wanted my kids to stay in the Philippines and be a part of the transformation. I had so much hope.

Twenty four years later under President Benigno Aquino III, our country is still where it was in 1986. Where did I go wrong? Was it because I was too engrossed as a mother taking care of my children? By being apathetic and letting the President do all the work?

While Prof. Monsod’s message is inspiring and idealistic, the sad reality is that it is not practical for all.

I stayed, didn’t I?

Many of us have fulfilled or are fulfilling our ““social contracts” with the ““donors” of UP scholarship, the Filipino nation.

I tried to be a good citizen and mother to my children. I wanted to help my country by being a mother to the future citizens of the Philippines.

I know I am just one.

If only we all play a role and be part of the solution. Then one, becomes two , then three, and more .

The point of Prof. Monsod’s message is to serve the people in the best way you can, given one’s circumstances.

My children are now adults. This is my time to serve the best way I can, by being a citizen journalist, being an active blogger even if politics is not my thing. I hope our President is listening to me now because all I want is a good future for my children’s children.

About Noemi Lardizabal-Dado

You may contact Noemi (noemidado @ gmail.com) for speaking and consultancy services in the following areas: Parenting in the Digital Age (includes pro-active parenting on cyber-bullying and bullying) ; Social Business ; Reinventing One’s Life; and social media engagement. Our parenting workshop is called "Prep to Prime (P2P): Parenting in the Digital Age (An Un­Workshop)" P2P Un­Workshops are conducted by two golden women in their prime, Noemi and Jane, who have a century’s worth of experience between them. They are both accomplished professionals who chose to become homemakers. This 180­degree turn also put them on a different life course which includes blogging, social media engagement and citizen advocacy. They call their un­workshops Prep to Prime or P2P, for short, to emphasize the breadth of their parenting experience. They tackle different aspects and issues of parenting ­­ from managing pregnancies, prepping for the school years of children, dealing with househelp, managing the household budget, to maximizing one’s prime life and staying healthy through the senior years.

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