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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, June 12, 2019
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with Cecile Genove
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Finding the ‘True Why’

Orient Express

Silliman University held its 10th Summer Commencement with 163 graduates on May 19 at the Silliman Church. Guest speaker was Board of Trustees member, lawyer May Saga Pono, who analyzed the What, How, and Why of becoming what one wants to become.

“Society makes sure that young children start thinking about what they want to become as early as possible,” observed Pono, who is a practicing lawyer in Cebu City and CEO of Maia Gianna Organic Manufacturing.

In fact, she said, parents start thinking about what they want their child to be even before she is born. Then, even before she starts talking, the parents tell her what they want her to be. And, when the kid is older, people around her would ask “one of the most popular questions ever asked of kids: What do you want to be when you grow up?”

“When the children are older, we shift from the What to the How…We start telling the child how she can become what she wants to become,” she observed, adding that we then start to give the child the rules on how to get there, including: Wake up early; Do your assignment; and No boyfriend until you graduate.

Pono, who graduated magna cum laude in political science and cum laude in law both at Silliman University opined that society is deeply concerned about the How of becoming. “We are fixated on the How,” she remarked.

She qualified that there is nothing wrong with wanting to know How. “But what is wrong is that we stop at How,” she said. “We spend all of our energy learning the How. In the process we forget that there is a third and even more important question to ask, and that question is, Why.”

Why do we want to be what we want to be?

She proceeded to ask the graduates, “Should our Why be all about Me? Shouldn’t our Why be able to transcend beyond ourselves and find meaning and purpose in something higher, bigger, and more permanent than our fleeting mortalities?”

She shared further that she does not agree that it is okay to be poor because God loves the humble. “It is not okay to be poor, because if you are poor, your ability to help other people is limited. You cannot give what you do not have. It is good to be rich, because the richer you are, the more people you can help. And, you can definitely be rich and be humble at the same time,” she argued. “It is never about how much money you have. It is about what you spend (your money) on.”

For Christians, she emphasized, the Why should reflect God’s reason for creating mankind. She said the Bible says God created us in His own image; therefore, she said, we are reflections of who God is. God expects us to make Him look good.

“We were not created by God so we can glorify ourselves with big houses, or flashy cars, or Louie Vuitton bags. We were not created to honor ourselves with recognitions and awards. God created us so we can bring glory, not to ourselves, but to Him,” she elucidated.

She quoted Isaiah, who said we glorify God if we “bind up the brokenhearted; proclaim freedom to the captives; release prisoners from darkness, and comfort those who grieve and despair.” That, she told the graduates, is our “true Why” – the reason why we are here, and should be the reason why they want to be what they want to be.

In closing, she urged the graduates to ask themselves: What is your Why? Why do you want to be what you want to be? And, is your Why in alignment with the purpose for which God has created you?

“Unless you find the correct answer to your Why, you will have lived your life in vain,” she told them positively. “You will stand on top of your success one day, and find everything to be without meaning. And, that will be the saddest day of your life.”*With reports from SU OIP

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