Kent Harold R. Rudis SJVS
Pope Francis in his Encyclical Letter, Laudato Si’ emphasized the importance of the relationship between the environment and work in knowing the self (see Laudato Si’ §147). This was the central theme in the gathering of the members of Youth Work Experience (YWE) with their families on March 6, 2021 at Balay Laudato Si’. There were various activities conducted that helped the participants understand profoundly the value of work for themselves, for family, and for community. The forest, land, and water are inseparable in the culture of the Indigenous Peoples in Sitio Bendum. To them, the discussion on taking care of the forest is a discussion on taking care of their own lives. The land and water are considered a part of their identity.
The YWE participants realized that this sense of identity gave them the courage to continue in their daily activities of planting trees, farming, and caring for animals, among others. Their various works enable them to know themselves better and has given them a deeper sense of self-worth and of others.
The greatest inspiration of the YWE participants is their family, which has been their source of grit in their striving. Family is the face of work to them. Family is also the beginning, where work becomes more valuable.
In the program, the wives and husbands of the YWE participants have reflected the pivotal role they hold as the support system. This means that they too have responsibilities to fulfill so that the work of their partners is meaningful.
In the art activity for children during the program, they were asked to draw their family, and amazingly they included in their artworks their farms, the animals, mountains, and plants. It’s beautiful to think that the children also appreciate the value of their parents’ work, and that the environment has a great relationship with them, because, though they are too young, they have a mature understanding that if the environment is destroyed it would mean suffering for their family.
The gathering led everyone to reflect on the significance of work in their community, culture, and in the entire nature. Because of this, they were able to recognize the connection of work with other aspects of life. Only then did they understand what integral growth/advancement is and aim for it, which is actually the purpose and thrust of this program. Their realization that they are a part of the integral growth of the community has given them a joy and deeper reason to love their work. Their struggles in work, are struggles in preparing the future of their children and the future generation.