MANILA, Philippines – Can you imagine having only 3 government-approved channels to choose from when you’re watching TV? How about having social media networks like Facebook or Twitter blocked in the Philippines?
For those who are living in other extremely conservative nations, these are the kinds of rules they have to live with, and more.
We’re lucky we’re born in a country that lets us enjoy the freedom that our ancestors fought for. We’re free to choose what we want to wear and to speak our minds. We’re free to vote for our leaders and call them out if they’re not performing as they should.
And no one should be able to stop us from exercising that freedom whether that’s at home, in school or at work.
How do we do that? By not being afraid to fight for our rights and not remaining silent when we see something that’s not right.
Fighting for your freedom at home
Were you born into a family of doctors but what you really want to do is pick up a paintbrush? Then that’s what you should do. It’s your right to choose the kind of job you love and would excel at.
It may be difficult and scary to start this conversation with your parents. But the only way to have a chance at doing what you really love is by letting them know – in a polite and respectful manner. Be firm but not hostile. Be calm but not on the verge of crying.
It’s also important to make sure that you have a plan that can assure your parents that you very well know what you’re doing. Make them feel that though you’re going on a different path than what they were hoping for, it’s still the same path to success.
Fighting for your freedom in school
Do you feel like your school is implementing policies that limit you from reaching your full potential? Perhaps, allowing male clubs more freedom to explore physical activities than the female clubs just because they’re boys and you’re girls?
Some schools are built from tradition and age-old practices. While there are already progressive schools nowadays, there are those that are still stuck in the past. If you’re finding yourself in one right now, don’t be afraid to talk to your teachers or guidance counselors about it. Let them know how you feel.
You may also discuss this with your parents. Be open about how you feel about your school. This is something they can talk to your teachers about and agree on how the school can make their students feel free to express themselves.
Fighting for your freedom at work
Have you ever felt crippled by some of the policies and practices at work? Or have had your innovative ideas shot down for not being aligned with what the company has been used to do?
Instead of throwing away your idea after just one meeting, request for another chance to present it. This time, prepare a clear proposal on how you plan to run the project and how it will benefit all the stakeholders.
To make a stronger case, challenge your boss and yourself to test run the idea and let the results speak for itself. All of you’ve got to do is try.
Remember, you’re only as free as you allow yourself to be.
And this Independence Day, Red Horse is one with every Filipino in celebrating freedom. Because in everything that we do, ang astig ng malaya.