Why I Gave some of my Books Away


IMG_6195Photo taken by: Gilda Flores

Rule 16. Write What You Read. 

After reading “Robert’s Rules of Writing,” I decided not to follow most of the rules presented by the author since  I wanted to make my own way around them; my personal plan of action, perhaps.  Quite interestingly, the rule which caught my attention was something untypical yet paradoxical (Rule 16), and more often than not, we attempt to present our beliefs, or whatever it is we are vouching for, through contradictions and intellectual discussions. Sadly, it is through these methods that we have forgotten the need to actually do something about the predicaments that our vulnerable counterparts are facing.

Write what you read…what does it really mean?  I decided to take this into action instead of just formulating what could be a fallacious reaction.

Meet May (pseudonym).


At some point of this term,  I was given the opportunity to be a student-teacher in my university’s alternative  learning  system. I thought I knew what I was getting myself into; however, the turnout of events proved me otherwise.

I was tasked to teach business ethics and proper etiquette. Right after the first discussion, we grouped the students and asked them to prepare a skit wherein they would portray the different manners that were taught to them.

Since we wanted to the activity to be more interactive, my colleagues and I decided to help them in their preparations.

As a strategy, I tried to make them think of modern and unconventional ways on how they can re-enact the lessons–puns and all that. Despite my efforts, their ideas still clashed.  When we had about 5 minutes left before the session ends, I heard May whispering her ideas for the skit, I then told her to say them louder for the rest of the group to hear, and surprisingly enough, her idea was chosen. For some unknown reason, I felt a curve motioning on my cheek.

I have to admit that the execution of the plan did not go as expected, but, at the very least,  the members of the group had the initiative to identify their mistakes and scan their notes  again. While everybody else  was busy contemplating on the activity, May was showing optimism to everyone, especially to her group mates; telling them that there would always be a next time, there would still be  other chances.

That definitely warmed my heart.

For the remainder of the day, I decided to observe May, to know her better. I sat with her and the group during lunch break, I made her join the games, and I even told her a bunch of stories from my high school years.  The hours were flying by too fast, I knew I had to end this day on a high note.

When my shift was over, the next subject was Personal Effectiveness.  I had nothing left to do, and that’s why I tried helping out the team who was in-charge of the said subject.  I intentionally sat beside May and started explaining the very purpose of answering such subjective questions.   I made it clear to her that people nowadays have the tendency to want something so bad that they forget who they really are–somebody.  In finding themselves, they, sometimes, unconsciously push people away instead of cherishing those who see their worth, they focus on the notion of isolating themselves because they think reality is a bane, when in fact, reality is a compromise of every person’s strengths and weaknesses, and lastly, they think that addressing who they really are is no longer important due to the dominance of practicality nowadays. These were the entities that have lured people into the traps of the system, I didn’t want her to fall victim into it,she was too much of an unsung genius.

When I was through with my sentiments, I let her answer the worksheets; she tried covering them, but I still managed to get a glimpse of her answers. I was impressed when I found out that she was actually a consistent valedictorian when she was in elementary and until she graduated from high school.

We can’t let such potential be further ignored due to circumstances that are sometimes beyond control. Society has turned so much into a frantic race that it has not crossed our minds that it shouldn’t have double-standards  as a foundation; society, and even life, per se, shouldn’t always be the best  nor a novelty  of things; instead, it should be composed of  choices which would resonate from one open hand to another, stigmas that would all boil down to equality, and acts of kindness that aren’t done just  because, but because of.

The fine line we call “privilege” is the only entity standing between the majority and the minority, it does not necessarily dictate where people are bound to be for the rest of their lives, but it  has given us, the majority, the slightest advantage to control our paces. Given ample time to think this through, I decided  to give away some of my books and old textbooks to May,  just so I could be of help in supplementing her knowledge a little bit more. This was a first for someone who collected books and was very protective of them.

Now, she’s even planning to apply for scholarships and go  to college.

Seeing May’s potential made me do something I’ve never done before. It seemed like a form of  charity where time and goods  weren’t the only sacrificial lambs, but also our entire beings, our wholesome hearts. I’d rather give myself to the world than give what’s going to be in shelves, stalls, and stores  for  a  specific  amount of time. I  would like to get involved.

While  it’s not yet a failed task  for mankind, it is high time that we put ourselves in the shoes of our counterparts, and of worlds within worlds.

We have been under the spell of money and all material things far too long, little do we know that even an ounce of compassion weighs so much more than quantity. It lightens up souls, it channels suppressed grit.

“Write what you read,”now I know what it means.  As we wake  up to saddening news  almost everyday, we should try to turn our criticisms into concrete plans of actions and  we should consider that while an  opinion is timely,  it is not the end goal.

Write to, instead of about.Give your books away, make the people who are impoverished and deprived of basic necessities realize that they, too, can have an infinite amount of chapters to work for their dreams and live with unforced curves on their faces.

We could always cross the fine line of privilege if we wanted to.  The first time is also a choice.







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