In children’s eyes

They, whose role is to serve public interest with ethical awareness and ethical actions, lead a harmful and decayed example to our children.

September 18, 2022

In a society where the role of teachers in children’s education has fundamentally changed, teaching has evolved from the old “show-and-tell” practices.

Gone are days when imparting knowledge is confined to the four walls of the classroom, or even lecturing students seated in rows of desks or monobloc chairs in a makeshift room or under the tree.

In reality, the educational environment extends into homes, neighborhoods, playgrounds, grocery stores, markets, malls, public transport terminals, theaters, museums, and anywhere. Information is not dependent on books but within easy reach everywhere in bits and bytes.

Delete the notion that students are consumers of facts and that schools are just brick-mortar assemblies, because our students/learners are active creators of knowledge and educational institutions are centers of lifelong learning.

Perhaps little do we know that the students’ rich, rewarding and unique learning experience obtained from schools may be different from the values inculcated in them by government officials, through their acts and ways of governance and representing people.

The role to teach students to behave and to judge what is right and wrong does not rest on teachers alone. The government places a deep impact on the value system of a child.

Government officials’ conduct and ethics can teach values like integrity, patience, humility, respect and compassion that will mold young minds paramount to a bright future.

Imagine public officials serving in elected and appointed positions who brazenly disregard government ethics on processes, behavior and policies. They, whose role is to serve public interest with ethical awareness and ethical actions, lead a harmful and decayed example to our children.

When government officials do not serve the public interest and engage in behavior that promotes personal interests, they are acting for the good of a few — not for our children nor our students who deserve to learn, think and act with respect and integrity.

There goes a Filipino quote that says, “Sa mata ng isang bata, lahat ng ginagawa ng matanda ay tama (In the eyes of a child, everything an adult does is right).”

A child grows by making a virtual world of perception and ideas of what he/she sees and experiences from the surrounding world, including the government and its officials. And with the government as a representation of the people, children are likely to be influenced by it.

For children, everything that adults do is right, and emulate them. Children are always watching what we do, including how we treat other people and observe how we deal with our feelings. There are times that we might unconsciously model unhealthy behaviors for them.

Given that children absorb and soak in all that information like little sponges, it is essential to be positive role models and create an enabling environment for them to reach their full potential.

Government officials have a great task to play so that one day our children will take their rightful place and serve the country in their chosen capacities.

The good values we implant in them will turn them into mature and responsible citizens.

Just as massive revolutions in knowledge, information technology and public demand for better learning have prompted schools nationwide to restructure, government officials ought to rethink that every part of their jobs lies in the responsibility to take on the appropriate behavior for children at all times.

Although they are not expected to be perfect, they should strive to be models of the rules, behaviors and ethics they want their own children to follow.

It is not much to ask from every public servant, elected, or appointed, who entered into a covenant with the people.

After all, Article XI (Accountability of Public Officers) Section 1 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution states: “Public office is a public trust. Public officers and employees must, at all times, be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency; act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives.”

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