Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Great men and women - models for today's youth

Dr Abe V Rotor
It is said, that indeed everyone is great in his or her own way, if greatness is measured by ones ultimate capacity to do good, and goodness means being of service to others and of contributing something, even only a drop in the bucket, so to speak, towards betterment of mankind, and of making this world a better place to live in. Nay, but how so few come to the knowledge of others for the good they have done. They are like the unknown soldier. They are like what Thomas said in his famous poem “Elegy on the Country Churchyard.”
“Full many a gem of purest ray serene
The deep unfathomed caves the ocean bear;
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And wastes their sweetness in the desert air.”
The poem makes us think though, that if we do not make use of that which can make us great, then we are like the obscure gem under the sea and the blooming flower in the desert.
Amongst us stand rare and distinct men and women who have excelled, more than most of us have ever done. Their contributions are of outstanding significance that has invariably affected us, our way of living, our thinking and even our perception of the future. And indeed if we have to look back without them we would doubt if ever we would be in the present state we are in. What would the world be without them?
Undoubtedly too, greatness is mirrored not only on the norms of how most of us live and would like to live, but on how these rare breed of men and women perceived ideas beyond their time in the way of the pioneer, in space and in time that few would dare to travel by, which in the words of Robert Frost goes like this –
“ I will be telling you this with a sigh,
Ages and ages hence where two roads meet in a wood.
And I, I took the road less traveled by.
And that is what made the difference.”
How many people dare to take the road less traveled? How many of us found true freedom while treading on it? How many of us have dared to take the road of truth? The lonely road, the road barely a path? And to beat it in order to make one? Is it a choice? Is it fate? And fate we associate with gift – or luck we often refer to as serendipity?
Our world goes around and around, fortunate that there are people whose ideas were born ahead of their time? From these ideas bloomed into many ideas that found expression in a multitude of ways that feed of rationality as being and society. It is to these people to whom we dedicate this lesson in Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid. In so doing we may lay down an alternative path and present models of living particularly to the youth of today.
We have chosen for this purpose the following great men and women from various nations (We will be featuring separately great Filipinos in future lessons, though a number of them will be associated with the names of these international figures.):
  1. Charles Darwin – Interpreter of the pattern of life, founder of theory of evolution
  2. Louis Pasteur – Father of immunology, science in the service of man
  3. Florence Nightingale – Founder of the nursing profession
  4. Joan of Arc – The saint who freed France
  5. Albert Schweitzer – Road of “the life of service”
  6. Abraham Lincoln – Champion in the emancipation of slavery
  7. Francis of Assisi – Father of Ecology, the “upside down” Saint
  8. Robert Baden-Powell – Chief scout of the world
  9. Leonardo da Vinci – The man of many minds
  10. Pablo Picasso – Painter of an epoch
  11. Anna Pavlova – Prima Ballarina
  12. Ludwig van Beethoven Stormy genius of music
  13. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Prodigy whose genius is therapy
  14. Galileo – Greatest of early scientist
  15. Thomas Alva Edison – Man of practical knowledge
  16. Wilbur and Orville Wright – Conquerors of the Air
  17. Charles Dickens – Life of the imagination
  18. Christopher Columbus – Discoverer of a new world
  19. Alexander the Great – Conqueror of Kings
  20. Socrates – Man of Character
Characters that accompany greatness
  1. Genetic propensity, genius, talented
  2. Meeting challenge in early life
  3. Endurance of pain and various trials
  4. Persistence, often stubbornness,
  5. Resoluteness
  6. dedication
  7. Inquisitiveness
  8. enthusiasm
  9. Pioneering
  10. Humility
  11. Sacrifice
  12. selflessness
  13. Courageous,
  14. Steel character
  15. Competitiveness, often against oneself
  16. Accuracy
  17. Perfectionism
  18. Strong character
  19. Grateful
  20. Admired, vice versa
The other “side of midnight” in the lives of many great men and women
1. Short-lived
2. Unhappy
3. Loner
4. Turbulent
5. Sickly/with infirmity
6. Misunderstood
7. Outcast
8. Maligned, punished
9. Non-conformist
10. Poor

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