The world will never be the same as 20 years ago or for as long as we can remember. We will never escape the comparison of our childhood to our children’s present experiences yet our life’s lessons will always be relevant to their lives. We may never be here once more and when now has come to past, we may never be able to tell that everything really happened.
Above the blackboard in our forth year high school classroom wrote, “The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder.” later on learned that Ralph W. Sockman wrote it. The quotation lay there all year round and as I glance at it each morning, I memorized it by heart but the wonder of it never stopped growing. Another quotation beside Ralph’s was, “Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people.” by Eleanor Roosevelt. If I wondered about Ralph’s message, Eleanor kept me or rather taught me how to avoid talking about people. However, the wonder of not talking about people made me realized that often events occur around or within a group of people and the same goes with ideas that are meant for the advancement of humanity. Again, the wonder of Ralph’s idea kept growing within me. Then one day, the wonder of it all came together. Small minds are those people spreading gossip and fabricated stories to destroy other people’s reputation. Small minds are envious, insecure, pretentious, and vain but most of all unreal and conniving. Beware of small minds for they are everywhere and they are the hardest obstacle to conquer. Once we develop the skill to experience the people around us, choosing a crowd is never difficult. There are still the occasional mistakes to allow room to err, getting mixed up with the wrong crowd and end up wanting to get out. How we get out would be the best way to define it. However, I still wonder about the average and great minds but I know that my friends are a mixture of both.
I have always wondered what it would be like to have a smaller island capable enough to accommodate only my instincts to live. To only suppress a portion of life’s problems and reduce it to simple day-to-day chores. To not care about how the small minds would react around me. Be unaware of wanting material things that most people desire.
I have seen such people and I have experienced them. They are the people I envy the most because for me they are the most genuine. Despite the inner beauty they bear, the public tries to avoid them. It may be because people perceive them as stupid, ignorant, poor and they are always out fashioned. We just do not realize that they are richer, more contented and a lot happier than the rest of us. Richer because most of these people are debt free, more contented because they have lesser care to the outside world and a lot happier because they get to spend more time with their family.
I grew up in the province where when I was a small boy all the main roads are underdeveloped. During these times, trees per square meter is thicker than the houses situated in a barangay (barrio) and carabaos (water buffalos) are still used as a mode of transportation. Often carabaos pull a pasagad (sled) to carry a stack of hay or accommodate more people, often, family members. It is always a joy to see a small family having fun while riding a pasagad. I once spent an entire day in a hut in the middle of rice fields with a small family. The father worked the fields in the morning while the mother prepared for lunch. I used to be very fussy at what I eat and usually I only eat meat. When lunchtime came the ulam (entree) was dinengdeng (Ilocano dish similar to pinakbet) and it was all uggot ti camote ken marunggay (sweet potato and horseradish tops/shoots) and I have never seen such an appetite with the kids. It was as if they were so famished with a site of an expensive dish. To this day, I still think that the happiness and love they had for each other had infected me. Since that day, I learned to appreciate eating vegetables. And, I still wonder how small is their island that wonder cannot be accommodated in their hearts.