Wednesday, September 13, 2006

He is not stupid

I was worried in my sleep last night. When I read the squad notes of my plebe he said:
  1. I am a walking endorsement (in our parlance endorsement means offense)
  2. I am stupid
  3. I can not do anything right
  4. I am an embarrassment

Reading that, I was worried because not only was my squadmate giving up on his ability to learn what he is supposed to do but he has gave in to negativism. I spent the night thinking about what I was to do and become more worried.

It is true that he is having a hard time. Yesterday afternoon, he spent 3 minutes just fixing his rice. He smells very bad, his posture is so bad, he can not fix his uniform properly and he always fumbles and everything that he does. But then so are other plebes, that is the same case when I was a plebe ang God knows who else who have been to plebehood. At the beginning of the term, I had the opportunity to talk to his parents. His parents were a loving couple which was very evident. They loved their son so much, later in a letter I received from her mother, they revealed that my squadmate is now the eldest but not technically because the real one died. When I asked him before what his father does he immediately said that his father is a garbage collector. When I read one of his letter to his parents a few months back, I realized that he was a child. He was a child who loved his family and with big dreams and for me that was enough.

I do not believe that it has to take some kind of brilliant mind for anyone to hurdle plebehood. I believe that even in the real world, all of us experience our own kind of plebehood. We lose our ability to do things the way it should be done, we fumble at the slightest things and do all kinds of stupid stuff. We fail at things but what matters is the attitude we exhibit. My squadmate isn't all bad really. My instructor who is the course director of his History subject always tells us of this plebe who is just so good and it was my squadmate. I asked around when he spoke in front of the crowd for the Discussion and Debate Society and they all said he made sense, a good sense at that. I asked about his grades and it was very good except of course on his Math subject which he always complains to be hard. Despite of how bad he may seem, it is not hard to find the good things in him especially that all I want to do is to enhance these good things and correct the bad ones. He may think that he is stupid, an idiot, an embarrasment yet he forgets that he is in fact a cadet in the Country's Premier Military School and however you put it that is an achievement in itself.

This morning I talked to him. I told him how I felt about what he wrote. I told him that he can not possibly pass the screening to PMA if he was stupid. He may be having a hard time but stupid is not the reason for it. I told him about the wonderful things that his parents have told me, about being proud of himself and about being positive about the hardships he is experiencing. I reminded him of his family whom he will be meeting next month if Recognition Day pushes through. I could see that his eyes was already becoming watery. I know he wanted to cry and I also was at the brink of crying. I remembered all my reasons for being in PMA and I realized he was part of that reason. My role as a squad leader is not merely to improve my leadership skills but also to be an inspiration to others. I felt very emotional because at that moment I knew that his dreams of overcoming all the obstacles he was going through was being played inside his mind.

I do not know how he will react this afternoon when we eat in the mess hall. There is never a time that when I say my grace before meals that I do not include him and the other plebes in my prayers, I will have to do my show again. I will shout at him, continuosly coerce him to do what he is supposed to do, I will make his life another living hell. I just hope that this time around he will not think that he is stupid, he will not think that he is an idiot, nor he will think that is an embarrassment. I would want that as I do my act as his squad leader he will remember that I was once like him and I made it through plebehood. I can just hope and maybe just maybe to that one young plebe he will realize that and gain inspiration to be proud of himself and continue to persevere. I just hope.

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