It was around 3rd year high school when I realized I wanted to be an educator, just like my parents. My dad and mom are both serving as public high school teachers, trying to meet ends and carry on the challenge of raising 6 boys with the salary of, well, a public school teacher.

My dad is a frustrated lawyer. This is just my way of saying he did not have the opportunity to study law, which is his dream; and end up being a history major at Arellano University, of which is by his own ‘diskarte.’ He is a self-made man. He told us of his story on how he managed to work at a young age, selling newspapers and doing side jobs, just to be able to study in college. He was completing his Masters degree when he decided to focus on raising us and continue serving in the Department of Education as a teacher.

My mom’s family is our opposite. They were 4 girls raised, for the most part, by her mother (my lola) alone. She finished her college degree in sociology at the University of the East. She decided to be a social science teacher in a public school in Malabon City, where their love story started, and until now, is still being written. Because of that, fast forward today, 6 Paras boys… well, men now, are going through life.

Among us, I (number 5) and my brother, Kuya Remus (number 4) followed the footsteps of our parents, molding the minds of the next generation.

Prior to meeting my English teacher in 3rd year high school, I wanted to be an Actor. (Don’t judge me… I really thought of being one to influence this nation hehehe). But it was in that specific English class during 3rd year, when Miss Riva (She already passed away due to cancer… or maybe the lack of financial support from… anyway…). I don’t exactly remember what our specific literature lesson was that time but on the motivation part of the class (you, teachers, know what I’m talking about), she asked us to be silent, listen to a song, and get the message. And so it plays… “What is life to offer me when I grow old… what’s there beyond sleep, eat work… (goes on… goes on…) for in this cycle that we called life, we are the ones who are next in line…

My world stopped for a moment. For a short time, the happy-go-lucky, loud, arrogant me started to think… “What do I really want to do in my life?” Then I realized I wanted to inspire people… I wanted to be, like my parents, in their own way, serve people beyond what they are supposed to give. I wanted to change this nation.” Miss Riva has made an impact in my life that I decided to be, just like her, a literature teacher.

I entered college, few years after, in The Philippine Normal University, wanting to change this nation through education. It was during 1st year college in PNU when someone introduced Christ to me. The dream of wanting to be a teacher to serve progressed to desiring to be the next Department of Education Secretary of the Philippines. I learned that in Christ, I can dream bigger and I can serve in a bigger capacity. I learned that if I want to change this nation, the key is to reach the next generation for Christ. To allow them to see their God-given purpose in life. To raise a generation of young people who will be nation-builders and world-changers.

After college, I made a decision to serve as a full-time campus missionary, which initially was a decision to give my first fruits of labor to the Lord for a short season, which has not ended yet. But along the way, I’m still preparing for something big in the future. Pursuing graduate school and investing on skills and trainings might look aimless for others, but I just know in my heart that someday, the Lord will open that door to me… The one I set aside for a season… The public office of the department of education… or maybe more than that, who knows. But wherever God would call me, I will make sure that I will come prepared. I want to be the best, and to give my best, in whatever calling God has for me.

Looking back… I was sitting on that rusty public school armchair, listening to that song and thinking of what I want to do with my life… until today… one thing is still burning in my heart… I want to change this nation! But one thing is certain: This nation will surely change! God is in the business of transforming this nation. So you might as well join God’s agenda of changing The Philippines to a nation that honors Him, and where righteousness prevails.

Thank you, teachers! Your impact is way beyond what your lesson plan and sleepless nights can dare imagine.

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