This poem sent chills down my spine as I was reading it. Considering the very turbulent political scene we are witnessing right now, this piece would seem normal, if not expected, coming from satirical adult poets. But this was written by my 15 year-old son, a grade 9 student for his Filipino assignment. The instruction was to make a 15-line free-flowing poem comparing two things. He chose to compare Philippine politics with a game – a game of thieves to be exact and I was troubled.
He came up with this idea on his own, without any encouragement from his teachers nor from us. In fact, we rarely talk about politics at home. What is troubling about his work is that he has formed a judgment based on his perception of what is happening around him. He asked me to read the poem not to consult me about the content, but simply to check for grammatical errors. He was not asking for my opinion. It was clear to me that as far as he is concerned, he was stating a fact in poetic form as required.
How should a parent handle this? Covering up what is really happening in our government is useless, considering the amount and nature of information that is widely available to all. Let’s face it, the youth of today can form their own conclusions based on what they are actually seeing. I actually praised him for his work as I only had to make very minor corrections. I was very careful not to make it appear that I was dictating on him what to write about but I just had to ask why he chose that topic. His answer was very simple. He said it was easier to write the truth and being both writers, I had to respect that.
If had the power and the choice, I wouldn’t want my children forming ideas that we have to make do with corrupt politicians and that there is nothing that can be done to change the situation. This poem reflects Philippine politics in the eyes of a youth but how many more young people feel the same way? How many will end up accepting or worse, end up being part of the corrupt system in their adult life?
Frankly though, I wouldn’t have an idea of where to start, except on ourselves by voting the right people for government positions. Let’s give them a reason to expect their leaders to be accountable. Philippine politics in the eyes of a youth can be really positive but not without making some changes that begin with us.