Nurturing today’s generation
I was on my way out of the hospital lobby and happened to spot some orange eco-bags being unloaded from an SUV. A hospital personnel happened to see me and proceeded to introduce the donors. There were four of them, all young professionals in their 20s. Into the conversation, I asked if they were representing an organization. “No, po. We are just friends who just want to do this.” Probing a little on how they got to know about the hospital, one of them volunteered that it was through her dad who is a member of a sociocivic group. We shook hands and after thanking them could not help but add, “You give us something to hope for.”
“Doctor, how can we help? It had come from a medical student who had followed me out of the auditorium. She wanted to know how her sorority could bring cheer to the chronically ill children whose cases we had discussed that morning as part of the infectious disease module. She went on to say that they did not have deep pockets but maybe there was something that they could do to contribute. Months later, on a busy Christmas afternoon, I received a phone call. Her group had managed to throw a party for the children and she wanted to thank me for the opportunity.
“Mister, kakailanganin po ni Misis ng dugo.” It was the woman’s 10th pregnancy and she had lost a massive amount of blood from childbirth. The husband and the relatives told a colleague, who was a resident then, that they had no money nor any means to procure the units of blood needed. As any doctor knows, when faced with such a situation, one would need to draw upon all resources and at times, even dig deep into his own. It was not a habit of his to bring a large amount of money when on duty. To his own surprise, the projected expense was close to the amount he had in his wallet. Remembering that incident brings him both joy and a little bit of a heartache, as neither the woman nor the family thanked him for his efforts. Feeling all these emotions which are very much part of being but human, he was comforted by the fact that he played a small but significant role in extending a person’s life. He could not bear to think about how her children would feel if they had lost her.
“Daddy, why do bad things happen to good people?” Wondering where that question was coming from, the father caught his son looking at a child who was extremely disheveled and barefoot, waiting near the doors of the grocery where they had made a pitstop to get some supplies. Without saying a word, the father bought a pair of slippers and motioned the child to his side. Initially reluctant, he eventually came over and said, “Salamat po, Sir, sa tsinelas. Sorry po, mahirap pumasok dito, kasi dahil laging tingin nila sa akin ay magnanakaw.“
“You want to accompany daddy to visit a patient? His five-year-old daughter eagerly said yes and asked him to wait while she made a short trip to her cabinet to bring along her newest stuffed toy. While doing their rounds she told her dad that she wanted to give her toy as a gift. When asked why, her reply was, “Gusto ko lang po.” That five-year-old has now graduated from medical school at the top of her class and the recipient of her beloved toy was a cancer survivor.
These stories not only speak of the very many acts of generosity that abound but also of how the family and the environment shape an individual’s character. From birth, all of us have been taught to have a clear and basic understanding of what is right and what is wrong. But how do you teach your children the value of compassion? Oftentimes, as the parent or the significant elder, we think that they are too young to understand and we fail to remember how much of an influence we are on them, from the words we utter, to how we act, how we show respect, and how we value people and relationships. While we do not have the sole control over how they will eventually turn out to be, we are duty-bound to exert that needed guidance, no matter how old or independent they become.
How one lives his life will always be a reflection of how he has been brought up and how he chooses to be relevant. These children had a headstart and I am quite sure that there are more like them who are out there.
Have you done a good deed lately?