A Foundation that is deep
In my conversations with the youth as I give these talks around the country, I could see that youthful desire to go and live these principles. Yet, sometimes it is just all desires. Ideals are only as worth as their being carried out, their being lived. The components may be there but the foundation is not that deep. It is like putting together steel, sand, gravel, pebbles and cement on the floor. One has to dig deep to make the foundation and put these things together in their proper place.
Yes, deep. I would say further, very deep. We have the tendency to be shallow, to be contented on what we already have. There has to be that deep-seated desire to excel, that deep longing to live the virtues and that deep faith in God. For that we have to be leaders. And the essentials of leadership, as rightly stated by Charles Chaput, are character and competence- precisely the first two building blocks of the foundation we have been discussing about. In giving leadership seminars and expounding on character and competence, it seemed to me that there is another component of leadership that was made important in our country and in fact it seemed to be the only thing for some. And that is charm.
It is evident in our national politics that a big premium is invested in charm. You may not be very competent and virtuous but as long as you have charm, you could win an election. That is why some of those who wish to win national posts painstakingly become models for soaps or what have you before the elections. The need for charm is very much ingrained in our political life that many actors and actresses are now politicians. I am not saying that all of them are incompetent. What I am saying is that there is a growing number of politicians coming from people in mass media and the movie industry than those coming from other professions.
We have to commit ourselves to this ideal and go deep in it, up to such point that we make it our own. It should not be something “imposed” to us from outside. We have to voluntarily take it upon ourselves. We have to make it our own, personal project! Why? The building of a nation is the responsibility of its own citizens more than anyone else. If all of us have the attitude of going abroad when life becomes difficult in our country, we will never build our nation. We will not only miss the opportunity of helping our country when she needs us most but also the opportunity of “building” ourselves- to learn how to get over difficulties and not just escape from them. We should not be afraid to sweat, to suffer and to sacrifice ourselves for our country. Moreover, as stated above, we should not be contented with mere charm- we have to acquire a great deal of competence in our work and a solid, unfazed character!