Almost a month ago, I was in the room of Kasiglahan Village Elementary School of Rizal to volunteer to setup a playroom for the kids. It was a collaboration project among KIDS Club, Silid Aralan Inc. and Philippine Toy Library. I painted the shelves and helped in tidying the room. Like everyone else who volunteered, I left the place with so much joy in my heart because I know that the kids will be delighted to play with toys and read books in this happy space.
Last Saturday, I was invited to share The Passion Test with the members of KIDS Club and kids of Silid Aralan Inc. I couldn’t believe how each workshop brings new experiences. I’ve already conducted the program several times, but this one was special. The classroom brought a sense of nostalgia. It reminded me of the years I spent studying and the eagerness I had when I was a kid. The participants made me comfortable the moment I stepped in front to speak. They were a mix of young and young at heart.
Before I started, I was requested to speak in Filipino. I couldn’t think of the exact translation of the word passion. Imagine, I wanted to use yung sinisigaw ng puso mo (what your heart truly desires) but good thing the participants were so helpful.
The workshop started with an introduction, which included stating their name and sharing one good thing that happened to them in the week that has passed. Their sharing moved me in a way that I never expected.
Members of KIDS Club shared the “high” that they experienced in volunteering for the project and spending time with the kids. I guess, people with big hearts can only understand the kind of happiness they feel when they go out of their way to work on selfless projects like this.
The kids of Silid Aralan Inc. expressed their gratefulness about the simple things. When I heard about how a friend’s birthday, a win by Golden State Warriors, a badminton game, and a set of high grades made them happy, I was taken aback. For a moment, I asked myself, who am I to complain about the challenges that I encounter in life? I was reminded again that happiness can be found in the simplest things.
Participants were asked to list down the things that are most important to them. This is my favorite part of the program. I’ve always been curious about other people’s passions. When I looked at their list, I was not surprised that most of them wrote passions related to their families. Their list included these:
When my life is ideal I am happy living with my family.
When my life is ideal I am providing my family’s daily needs.
When my life is ideal I have money to cover my family’s travel expenses.
When I found out that participants were from different age groups, I panicked. Ages were from 13 to 50+ years old. I thought it wouldn’t work out, but it turned out great. Older participants felt an unexplainable feeling of relief and inspiration when they were paired with a younger participant. Just the same, the older participants guided the young ones in the activities.
At the end of the workshop, the participants were allowed to ask questions. I was stunned because it was my first time to answer questions about personal matters. It triggered memories about how the last seven months of my life went by. I was reminded of the big decisions I made, people I met and wonderful experiences that changed my life.
When the workshop ended, a number of participants came up to me to thank me. I appreciate their praises and commendations, but like in any other workshops that I did, I always tell them that I was the one who was blessed more.
People like them are my inspiration of why I am doing the things that I do now. They are a constant reminder of why turning my back from my corporate job was and will always be worth it.