Thursday, December 1, 2011

Lives of Great Men and Women – Selected Models for Today’s Youth

Abe V Rotor and Melly C Tenorio
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air)
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening, Monday to Friday

Young Charles Darwin after his historic voyage on the
Beagle as naturalist. He was to become the father of
the theory of evolution named after him - Darwinism.

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. Mother Teresa of Calcutta – The living saint.
5. Joan of Arc – The saint who freed France
6. Albert Schweitzer – Road of “the life of service”
7. Abraham Lincoln – Champion in the emancipation of slavery
8. Jose Rizal – The pride of the Malay race
9. Francis of Assisi – Father of Ecology, the “upside down” Saint
10. Robert Baden-Powell – Chief scout of the world
11. Leonardo da Vinci – The man of many minds
12. Pablo Picasso – Painter of an epoch
13. Anna Pavlova – Prima Ballarina
14. Ludwig van Beethoven Stormy genius of music
15. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Prodigy whose genius is therapy
16. Galileo – Greatest of early scientist
17. Carolus Linnaeus – Introduced systematic classification of living things
18. Juan Luna – His Spolarium inspired a people to gain freedom
19. Fernando Amorsolo – Master of romantic-classical painting
20. Thomas Alva Edison – Man of practical knowledge
21. Wilbur and Orville Wright – Conquerors of the Air
22. Charles Dickens – Life of the imagination
23. Gregor Mendel – Founder of the laws of heredity
24. Ramon Magsaysay – Champion of the masses
25. Christopher Columbus – Discoverer of a new world
26. Alexander the Great – Conqueror of Kings
27. Socrates – Man of Character
28. John F Kennedy – Charismatic American leader.
29. William Shakespeare – Greatest dramatist
30. Mao Tze Tung – Steered The Sleeping Giant China to become a modern nation
31. Ho Chi Minh - Vietnamese national hero
32. Pierre and Marie Curie - Discoverers of Radium
33. Herr Daimler and Herr Benz - Inventors of the horseless carriage
34. Thomas Alba Edison - the man of practical genius, inventor of the incandescent lamp
35. George Bernard Shaw - the Irish Shakespeare
36. David Livingstone - Christian explorer in Africa
37. Sir Walter Raleigh - The last Elizabethan
38. Socrates - Father of Philosophy, the man of character
39. Franklin Delano Roosevelt - The People's President
40. Mohandas K Gandhi - Man of peace, man of the last millennium

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 may be characterized by the following:

1. Short-lived
2. Unhappy
3. Loner
4. Turbulent
5. Sickly/with infirmity
6. Misunderstood
7. Outcast
8. Maligned
9. Non-conformist
10. Poor, and the like.

Challenge to the radio audience of Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (School-on-Air)

1. Tell something about the legendary character - The Boy who Save Holland
2. “Serve the greatest good for the greatest number of people.” Is this parameter a good measure of how great a deed we have done?
3. Greatness can be demonstrated by certain leaders in our local community. What are the qualities of these leaders?

x x x

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