“Wise people treasure knowledge, but the babbling of a fool invites disaster.” – Proverbs 10:14
Do you remember the time when you were a child and your parents seemed a little too strict for comfort? The time when after spending hours in school, we come home excited to play, eat, rest, and be merry and, lo and behold, our mother is waiting for us to check out our “assignment notebook” and, line by line, check the list of schoolwork that we must accomplish for the next day. We just reached home from school and what welcomes us is more school work?! Most of us certainly got irked by the thought of that. If we were left on our own, a lot of us would most probably just grab a pack of chips, watch a movie or play video games, and immediately go to sleep after every school day. Thank God He didn’t allow us to be our own parents.
The routine at home that our parents designed for us when we were still kids prepared us to become individuals who are equipped to stand on our own two feet and not be another person’s burden. We appeared to be simple rules at home had, in fact, a deep effect in our lives as we were subliminally taught that we have a duty to men and women of purpose. Imagine a scenario when we were allowed by our parents or even our school teachers to just do everything we want to do. Thank God for our strict dads who made sure that we will not, at the end of each grading period, bring home a report card battered and bruised with red marks. Thank God for math teachers who would not just let us have our own way in finding the value of “x.” Thank God for chemistry and physics teachers who make us balance equations like there is no tomorrow.
The value of education cannot be underestimated. The greatest hero of South Africa, the late Nelson Mandela, once said that “No country can really develop unless its citizens are educated.” Lee Kuan Yew, the founding father of Singapore worked his entire life to ensure that every pair of Singaporean hands would be a pair of thinking hands. A nation’s strength is only as good as the quality of its people. The future of a country can almost be predicted by the quality of education that forms the present generation. The renewing of the minds of a nation’s citizens is one of the secrets for a people’s journey out of slavery. Francis Schaeffer began his book “How Should We Then Live” with the age-old truth “As a man thinketh, so is he.” If we expand that statement in the context of a nation, we can say that “As a people thinks, so shall the nation be.”
A select group of 15-year-olds from Vietnam, a once war-torn nation, recently joined 64 other OECD nations in taking the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) test. Vietnam, after the nation’s destruction post-Vietnam War, was a country that was considered by a lot of observers as hopeless, written off as a nation that will not be able to once again stand on its feet in a hundred years. However, the results of the 2012 PISA test proved that a nation’s poverty and history is not an excuse in doing extraordinarily well in the world’s foremost examination. Vietnam stood at number 17 beating Australia (19th), France (25th), the UK (26th), the U.S. (36th), and Sweden (38th). Vietnam showed to the whole world that their 15-year-olds have finally surpassed their contemporaries from two nations that once invaded them: France and the United States of America. Vietnam also proved to the world that poverty is not an excuse and that a nation’s dreams and ambitions can be achieved through quiet perseverance and hard work. Without a doubt, Vietnam is on its way into becoming a major player in the world.
Love for country begins in the little things that we do. Love of country begins with what you are doing now.