The "Know Thyself" Challenge


"Those who do not know how to look back at where they came from will never get to their destination."

The past can reveal a lot, and those who do not know their own are doomed to either repeat the mistakes of those before them or go against the momentum given to them.

I believe another important element absent from Rizal’s quote is “be aware of where you are now.” Awareness of one’s past and present puts more control and direction toward the future. The uncertainties of the future are mitigated, the immediate path becomes clearer and from that we become more decisive as an individual.

What about as a community? As Fil-Ams, what sort of look-back in history do we need to get to where we are headed? Where are we headed to begin with? Then there is the more present oriented question of “Where are we now?”

These are questions I want answered so we may understand our past, present, and future as individuals of the Fil-Am community. Though the sum of the parts don’t necessarily equate to the whole, we might at least see trends in our individual pasts and presents, as well as motivation for the future. All three will give us an idea of how we are moving as a community.

When we think about these three parts -- past, present, and future -- we can immediately see how intricately tied we are to the Philippines and its natives. Our culture, our family and our friends all branch out from the same tree as the Pilipino people. The branches have spread across the globe with overseas foreign workers (OFWs), nth generation immigrants, and those who have always remained native to the mother islands. Their story is ours as much as ours is theirs.

I’d like us to attack this endeavor strategically as a series over the next year. Each post will deal with a set of questions about the past, the present, or the future from the perspective of individuals; and will be presented as a challenge. I want us to discover our stories together and share them with each other in the comments, or simply bring it up in conversation with friends and family.

I’ll also concurrently interview Pilipino natives, OFWs, and various Pilipino-Americans and feature their stories side-by-side. How interesting would it be, for example, to see three nurses -- a second-generation Fil-Am, an OFW in the Middle East, and one in a rural hospital in the Philippines -- and compare and contrast their stories?

I would love to know why they are where they are, what they do similar and different from each other, and why they do what they do. How different are their motivations and dreams for their future? How similar are their pasts?

If you or any Pilipino/Fil-Am you know has a story you would like featured, here is the pre-interview questionnaire!

For the first challenge, let's take a look at the immediate past: 

Engage your parents and hear their story. Specifically how did they, as Pilipinos or Fil-Ams, believe they got to where they are from where they started? Where are they from exactly? Then share their story with the rest of the community!

I look forward to your answers. When we understand how we got here and where we really are right now, we will help each other get to our destination. Know thyself.

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