Lessons From Dr. Jose Rizal
A hero’s legacy to nation.
Dr. Jose Rizal, the Philippines national hero, had done a great role in the independence of the country from Spain in the 19th century. He didn’t engage in a bloody revolution but with his pen. His writings became the means of the Filipinos to be awakened and be able to know what really is happening in the country. Though there are criticisms to him as a hero, he did many things not only for the independence of the motherland but also for the future generations. His letters to his family and friends, his articles, his prose, his poems and other works left us a lesson to live.
According to his memoir, he was told by his mother the story of the young moth one night she is teaching him to read but his attention is on the lamp. The young moth was fascinated with the brightness of the flame. Despite of its mother’s warning, it came nearer and nearer to the flame until it singed fell into the oil. The young moth died martyr to its illusions, according to Dr. Jose Rizal. The story left him a deep impression on his mind. And like the young moth, he was also fated to die as a martyr for noble death.
The first poem he wrote when he was 8 years old is an appeal to the people to love their own country. It is entitled ‘To My Fellow Children’. In this poem came the popular passage among grade school Filipino that goes,
“Whoever knows not how to love his native tongue, is worse than any beast or evil smelling fish”
To him, language is a gift from God that we must have to take care of.
He also left educational legacies. Some of them are now included in the Philippine Constitution. According to him, the right to education is a fundamental human right. His poem “Through Education our Motherland Receives Light” emphasized that a proper education lifts up a country. In another poem, The Intimate Alliance between Religion and Good Education, he emphasized that an education without God is useless. It will not be considered as true education when God is out of it. He believes that all knowledge comes from Him.
The youth has also a great significance to him. In his poem To the Filipino Youth, he beseeched the youth to rise from lethargy. The youth has a great role in nation building, according to him. He said in the poem, “The youth is the hope of the fatherland,”
Hold high the brow serene, O youth, where now you stand; Let the bright sheen Of your grace be seen, Fair hope of my fatherland!
His love on about his family also reflected in his memoir. He can stay in the Philippines and live a luxurious life after finishing studies in Europe. The Spanish friars are eyeing on him because of his novel, Noli Me Tangere. The novel reflected the friars’ activities in the country. He knows that his presence in the country jeopardizes his family’s safety. So he decided to return abroad.
I left my country to give my relatives peace.
Before he was shot for death, he wrote a poem saying goodbye to his family, to his country, and to his enemies. It is a touching poem, because despite of what happened to him, he still said goodbye to his enemies, indicating that he didn’t bare hatred to them.
Many books about the life of Dr. Rizal showed other more lessons from him. His personal experiences in life written in his memoir indicate also what kind of person he is aside from being a genius and a nationalist.