Kynan Taclobao: Defining One’s Answer to ‘Why?’

Note: The author, Mr. Kynan Daro C. Taclobao is from Grade 12A St. John de Brito. He delivered this reflection today, 23 June 2015.

Last summer, I joined a summer program in the Loyola Schools. And in one of my Philosophy classes, the professor asked me and my classmates a question that would eventually make me reevaluate my nerdy academics-centric ways. “Para saan ang pagkakamit mo ng karangalang pang-akademiko?”

It was a simple question, asking why we strive and exert so much on our academics, or even in our other fields. I was surprised to find that I didn’t really have an answer simply because I realized that I never really thought about it. It was saddening to realize that I was merely going with the flow, with the notion that performing well academically should be the top priority. It seemed almost funny to me that I knew how to solve for different x’s and enumerate the process of cellular respiration, when I can’t even answer why I’m doing any of it for.

And so began my quest to find out why. When I asked around, some said that their reason for doing so would be as preparation for the future, to get to a good university and eventually, a good and high-paying job, and die rich and happy. Some said that it’s just what their parents expect them to do. To some, it is for the chance to excel and to be the best at something. Those are all very valid answers and apply to me to some extent and yet, somehow, they weren’t really what I was looking for.

It was only much later that I began to have some sort of answer. I was asked in a meeting, “Kynan, bakit mo piniling magtrabaho pa rin para sa Fair?” And it kinda just clicked. If I were to answer that question now, I would say that it’s because I like what I do for the Fair. I enjoy working with new people and the thrill of chasing deadlines, dealing with suppliers and spreadsheets and sign-ups and sponsors.

I love knowing that my work does account for something, that I’m able to make some semblance of a difference in the lives of our TD scholars.

And the same goes for my academics. As nerdy as it sounds, I do enjoy and love learning. It kinda makes sense that my answer to that simple question would be just as simple.

Trust me, I know just how much stress and effort and tears a single project can cause and how tedious some lessons can be. I know the pain of trying to cram academic work and extracurricular and enjoying high school in one’s daily schedule. I’ve experienced the panic induced by having a sleepless night and still having so much work to do. And I hate having to go through all these. But I still strive to do my best not because it’s easier, but because these help me to learn, and that makes me happy.

And I think that this is important. Aside from purpose, you have to look for what makes you happy, what you love, what brings out fervor in you, because without that, life would be empty and bland. Our own passions and what we value affect what sort of purpose we have for doing things. Furthermore, it’s important because one can’t give what one does not have. We can’t bring joy when we go to the peripheries, when we ourselves, don’t have that joy. We can’t show passion in service for others and show mercy and compassion when in our own selves, there is no passion.

Even in Scripture, we see this. For Jesus, his purpose, to save mankind from sin was enough for him to make him carry his cross. For Jesus, the love that he felt for us was enough for him to bear the pains he had to go through.

Interestingly, in that Philosophy class, I saw that I wasn’t the only one bothered by the question. It seemed that, like me then, there are many others out there who don’t really know the answer, the purpose to what they’re doing. Do you? If you still don’t, find out.

Let us pray.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Dear Lord,

As we go through our high school lives, grant us the wisdom to discern the purpose of our tasks. Help us to find our passions through the many skills you have graced us with. May you lead us to the right path, so that everything we do may be aligned with Your will and for your greater glory.

Amen.

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