For most of us who have spent certain number of years mentoring young people, we know the sense of accomplishment whenever one of our mentees come to us and seek our advise on some matters. It could be anywhere between love life, career, relationships with family, studies or, if not too often, life altering decisions.
But I realized today that young leaders like us, imperfect as we were, are very prone to making the mistake of taking for granted the people closest to us; who by themselves need the same advices and guidance like other young people; and far too often, most of us tend to forget they too have needs. These are our very own siblings.
Today, as I was having breakfast with my younger brother, he popped a seemingly innocent question coupled with a face riddled with confusion.
“Kuya, sa tingin mo, posible kayang all this time hindi pala bagay sa akin ang course na kinuha ko?”
“Why did you say so?” I asked in between spoonfuls, still oblivious of his inner struggles.
“Kase, parang nahihirapan ako makahanap ng work eh”.
“Ano ka ba, you just graduated last April. It’s normal not to get hired on your first job seeking attempts.” I tried to dismiss it, thinking it was just his wrong notions.
“Kuya, pwede dun tayo sa kuwarto. I need your advise”. He said.
When I glanced at him, I saw how he struggled to keep the tears from falling. At first, I chuckled at his reactions, but the Lord swiftly spoke into my heart.
“He may have a short-sighted view of things, but his feelings are real.”
In a flash, I was reminded of my own struggles, memories of how I used to cry rivers to the Lord because I was jobless for months. Now I am enjoying the momentum of my professional career, when I look back I laugh at myself for my shortsightedness. But in those days, when I was in that situation then, I am sure my feelings are valid, my fears are real. And the Lord showed me his compassion, he understood the pain.
Then the rebuke came.
“Kailangan ba talagang kapag sarili mong kapatid, makiusap na makahingi ng kaunti mong oras para sya rin ay makarinig ng mga payo na libre mong ibinibigay sa ibang kabataan.”
I was speechless.
I hurriedly finished my breakfast and we went upstairs. I gave him advices about career, life decisions and self-discipline, most of them drawing from my own experiences. To my surprise, I realized it was easier to share to him, because he personally has seen me live through it. Talking to him was just validating what he already thought about me.
“Nagi-struggle ka rin pala. Akala ko kase napakadali na sayo kasi tingin ko sa’yo tough guy ka eh. Idol nga kita eh, pilit kitang ginagaya.” He said.
His words made me realized another pitfall– that I have created an unrealistic image of myself in our home, an image “too perfect” that my younger siblings mistake for an idol. Because I failed to expose my own short-comings and showing only my great conquests and accomplishments, I placed myself on a pedestal. If God did not expose it to me, it will create an invisible wall between me and my siblings.
Let this all be a reminder to us. Our first ministry is always our home. Our family is our first congregation. If we do not shine our light within the four corners of this safe haven, how then are we assured we can shine through the dangerous darkness of this world? If we want an evaluation, we need not go any further. Our family can give the most honest evaluation by far.