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ARLIER ISSUES of this column have reviewed the 14 lessons stated in the Katipunan document titled "Sa May Nasang Makisanib sa Katipunang Ito" (For Those Who Wish to Join this Katipunan), more widely known by its nickname, "Kartilya ng Katipunan" (Primer of the Katipunan).
I wish now to underscore the value of these lessons in the present-day performance of responsibilities of parenting. This matter was underscored in my own mind more than a year ago when the National Police Commission invited me to speak before a conference of some 40 youth leaders it had convened in line with the government's "moral recovery program." My topic: Revival of Family Values.
To everybody's surprise, I began by saying I was going to read one by one the 14 lessons of the Kartilya. What could have gotten into my mind, they wondered, that I was going to approach the topic by recalling for these youths the rules of behavior of a revolutionary organization often described as brave and not much else?
To everybody's bigger surprise, the Kartilya lessons, the way Emilio Jacinto penned them a little over a century ago, are very much relevant to the topic of family values. (Two officials representing the Department of Education, Culture and Sports were frank enough to admit that they were earlier unaware that the contents of the Kartilya are "this good and this relevant." They immediately invited me to speak before a meeting of high school principals in one of the cities of Metro Manila to tell them also about the Kartilya.
One of the points, the Kartilya's tenth lesson, focuses on the responsibility of leadership. It begins in a way that raises the politically-correct eyebrows of feminists in the audience, specifically with the observation that in that society of a century ago, the men were leading and their wives and children followed, before proceding to the main point about responsibility of leaders: "If the one leading is going the way of perfidy, the followers follow likewise." This point shines in importance as we remind parents that we ought not be mere breadwinners, but leaders, as well.
Parents ought to perform actively as leaders in the comprehensive human enterprise beyond surviving, physically growing, and getting through the school system. The fact that both parents have had to earn income in average present-day families, and the fact that the parents' educative function is facing stiff competition from the Western-influenced mass media, do not make our job any easier.
The Kartilya's first lesson underscores the importance of having a noble purpose to dedicate one's life to. Parents should be an influential factor in the children's process of finding and firming up their respective directions in life. Hopefully, the youths are not going to learn from their parents only the "value" of dedicating one's life to the pursuit of money, of much money, of much foreign money.
If the youths do not shape up to meet the expectation of Rizal that the country's hope resides in them, we parents can only have ourselves to blame.
(Kamalaysayan Media Service)
Interactive Review of the 14 lessons of the Kartilya ng Katipunan
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