Love. Faith. Sacrifice. These are the three things that could describe the story of Kuya Efren Penaflorida, 2009’s CNN Hero. Just this Sunday, I was reminded again about his story at church. He was used an example in the preaching. A modern hero. Dynamic Teen Company. 2009 CNN Hero. These are the words we usually associate to Efren Penaflorida-or best known as “Kuya Ef”.
“Hindi porke’t mahirap ka, hindi ka na makakatulong sa iba.” This was one of the opening statements of Kuya Ef when he visited my High School last February 23rd of 2010. Being a middle child of a tricycle driver and a housewife, Kuya Ef had his own share of trials and bad experiences as a child. Growing up near the city’s open dumpster, he had been a fallen prey to bullies and solvent kids. However, these circumstances have never hindered him in reaching his dreams. He was an intelligent student in elementary and was given scholarship assistance by World Vision Phils. “Value education for it open opportunities.” This is one of the things he bears in mind which also served as an inspiration as he pursues being systematic, principled, studious and industrious as he conducts free tutorial classes to more than 50 high school and college students for more than four years now. I remember him saying during his talk back then, he confessed that even though his first dream was to be an engineer wanting to build a house for his family, he chose to be a teacher instead having realized that through this, he will not just be able to build houses but build lives as well.
Kuya Efren’s story continues to inspire me in my everyday life. He reminds me that each one of us has a hero inside us, waiting to be unleashed; one is never too ordinary to be a hero. Truly, living an ordinary life does not limit us from doing extraordinary things. His story empowers me to have a purpose in life, and tells me that we should know how to deal with our strengths and weaknesses. His story also tells me that we should always be prepared because we will never know when and how God would use us, for God has his perfect timing.
His story brought me to this realization: As an individual, I could also be an inspiration in my own simple ways. I could be an inspiration by not going with the flow of satisfying the worldly needs: by standing up for what is right. I could be an inspiration by being always there for my loved ones. I could be an inspiration by reflecting God in everything I do. I could be an inspiration if I chose to.
We could all be an inspiration to one another.