I wouldn't be surprised if most students would doubt the relevance of some rules imposed on them in schools. In my school alone, there are rules that would seem impractical if not non-sensical to their young minds. One of these rules, for example, is to always keep right when climbing up and down the stairs and using only one from among four for each year level. Well, maybe not a good example because there is a good reason for tha: to decongest the stairway and preventing from bumping one another. But impose it even when chances are high that nobody's going to go in the opposite direction?
Or why should boys have a prescribed haircut? They're not in military school, are they? Well, if I am to gauge it during my high school days, I know the teachers of today would certainly be living a nightmare had they lived during the 70's. We grew our hair at shoulder length, even longer. Pre-martial law days saw teen-aged boys sporting long hair in schools like San Beda, San Sebastian, UE, and FEU, and even tolerated at a certain extent at La Salle and the Ateneo. This is the reason I was having second thougths of prescribing a #3 guard on students who wished to go "semi-kal" or semi-bald. It seems like we are not after the hair, we are after the fad.
Then it dawned on me. Never mind the rationale of every rule. A this point of our lives, it is imperative that every young Filipino learn to follow the rules. We know very well that we lack discipline and not doing something about it. Our hard-headedness has been the cause of our problems to boot. Just look at pedestrians crossing the streets everywhere and anywhere at will. See public commuters running after a bus, pushing and shoving one another just to get a ride. Look at the litter in the streets. Look at drivers who snake their way in traffic. Need I say more? All these things manifest lack of self-discipline, don't they? And we complain endlessly at discomforts brought about by these phenomena.
Why do we lack self-discipline as a people? Poverty? Lack of education? Laziness? Maybe, but where did all these traits come from? Sadly, I believe the problem is deeply rooted. I think that these characteristic traits are embedded in our psyche as a result of having been a colonized country for so long. Three centuries of Spain, fifty years of American education and three war torn years from Japanese imperialism will surely take its toll on a people abused, tormented and made to believe that they were inferior. Just look at our concept of beauty. We look in admiration at the mestizo's acquiline nose, white skin and blonde hair. When I was growing up, mothers marvel when their young had these features. "Uy, pwedeng-pwedeng artista," they would say. Look at how we go gaga over whitening lotions and soaps?
Now, what has all that got to do with our lack of discipline? Why not? I could just imagine our ancestors doing all they can to evade the oppressive Spanish fraile or guardia civil just to spare humiliation or even death. I can almost see wily Filipinos using their imagination to put one over their oppressors. After all, our literature is replete with characters like Posong of the Pusung tales, a trickster who uses a lot of tricks just get the upper hand or just to get even in a certain situation. Furthermore, I strongly believe that our hard-headedness to follow rules is an offshoot of our ancestors' defiance towards authority. These are reenforced when the Americans and the Japanese came. These are what we inherited. These are what we are living today.
But it need not be so anymore. We are beginning to listen to more Filipino music, albeit its western influence. More and more public commuters are falling in line to have a ride. But we have a long way to go. WE should learn again how to follow rules, blindly, if need be. Let it start with our students now. Teach them the way of good followers so that they would become good leaders of tomorrow.