Each time I watch my students march onstage to receive their university diploma, this thought visits me, “Welcome to the Millionaires' club!” There were over two dozens of them in black cap and gown last Saturday.
In this country, parents generally spend for their children's education up to college. So if you compute and add up all the expenses for each graduate (from kindergarten to this time on stage), he or she would have spent a whopping one million pesos!
What costs education (in private schools) in this part of the world?
Tuition and miscellaneous fees, books, laptops, tablets, uniforms, school supplies, daily allowance, food, transportation, plus activities such as sports, arts, Moving-Up day, United Nations' parade (where they need special costumes and props), prom, to name a few. And how about extra fees for tutors and other unforeseen school requirements?
Back in my time, in the farming town where I grew up, parents used to say to their children, “The only thing we can bequeath to you is education. We are lacking in material wealth, but we can toil night and day—sleep less and work more in the farm—to afford sending you to school.”
Education was the most important legacy parents wanted to gift their children in lieu of inheritance.
Although parents today don't verbalize it often enough, the way our forbears did, I guess these modern parents have these same thoughts, having been born in this culture.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,” said Nelson Mandela.
Horace Mann wrote, “A human being is not attaining his full heights until he is educated.”
So how many millionaires do we have in the Philippines today? Countless. Every year, we have over a million college graduates.
My prayer then for all our new millionaires who march on stage to receive their degrees:
Lord, may these graduates always be grateful for their parents' sweat and Your guiding grace that took them this far. Amen.