Passion: To Embrace or To Fear

By: Denise Cristobal

Last weekend, Gen, the Philippine Director of Pandoo Foundation, returned to Cebu after a much-deserved trip back home to Canada. The kids and the team were beyond ecstatic about her return. The kids even prepared a program to welcome her back. There were song and dance numbers as well as a play by the kids. There were also snacks and prizes for everyone. We all went home with smiles and lots of pictures of the celebration.

Gen’s return was a happy occasion for all, but it also meant that things at the Foundation were going into full swing. The first week that Gen has been back, we have already done so many things: formalize and present the protocols, policies, and rules of the center; plan upcoming activities; evaluate the work we’ve done in the weeks Gen was away; and we have made steps to solidifying our team.

No doubt about it: we are BUSY. And surely, we will be busier in the coming months. As much as that intimidates me, I am also excited to continue with the work we are doing.

I must admit, though, that when I first joined the team, I was worried and scared. Although I am passionate about education and learning, I am aware that working with and for children is not something to be taken lightly. Educators and teachers play a big role in shaping children’s identities, their minds, and their points of view about the world. We cannot come into their lives half-heartedly. Anyone who has worked with children knows that whether we like it or not, they will consume your time, energy, and your heart. Being a teacher or an educator is a very loaded job that can put off those who are not ready to commit and serve.

But after thinking about it, I realized something: though being in this line of work is scary, it’s even scarier to deny your passion. You are not the only one who misses out when you do this. You do a disservice to society when you choose to cast aside your passion. It is passion that drives people to create change. It is passion that sustains us when our minds and bodies are exhausted. It is passion that moves mankind forward to a better and brighter future.

Working with and for children at the community center is truly a daunting job. But it is reassuring to know that everyone who steps in the center has the passion to change and improve the lives of children, whether through literacy and health programs, math, science, music, sports, cooking, or art. We are all working towards one goal: giving children better opportunities so they too can follow their passion. And so the cycle continues on….

Happy Halloween! May the ghosts and ghouls frighten and delight you! And may you never experience the horror of a life devoid of passion.