By Engr. Carlos Cornejo
John Mason said, “If you run with wolves, you will learn how to howl. But if you associate with eagles, you will learn how to soar.” He continued that, “Almost all of our sorrows spring from relationships with wrong people.” The opposite would also be true, our greatest joys come from our deepest relationships, with the right people.
In my lectures, I would often ask my audience a question to prove that our relationships are far more superior than money, material things, honor, etc. in terms of giving us true joy. The question I would ask, “What was the most memorable gift you have received in your lifetime during one of your birthdays or during Christmas?” Almost always majority of the people in the audience could not remember. But if I asked them, “What was the happiest moment in your life?” Many would reply, when I got married, or when we had this big family reunion one Christmas with all family members around, or when I was in a date with my first love, etc. They did not have a hard time recalling it because the memory was kept in their hearts. What was common with these replies? It was always about relationships. Fond memories are always about persons not things and not money.
We ought to choose who our friends are because they could pull us down or bring us up. As the famous saying goes, “Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are.” Bad company ruins morals. Our strong held principles in life is no match to the stronger peer pressure exerted to us by our “friends”. We could turn down an invitation to a time-wasting activity or worse to an immoral activity once or twice but we could not turn them down forever. If you are attached to these friends, because for you they seem to know “how to have a good time”, then you will have to change your concept of good time. A good time is not a good time when they bring about deep regrets later on.
An on-the-job training student asked me once during one of our counseling sessions, “Sir, what if there would be no one left in the company who could be of good influence to me, will I still not make friends?” I readily replied, “Then, you will have to be alone. Better be alone, than lose your values.” I further told him, “I’m sure there are good people in your company. In fact, the bad eggs are usually very few unless you are with a band of robbers, or you are doing your on-the-job training with the NPA’s or the Abu Sayyaf.”
“Can our time-honored principles or values in life be more important than persons?” We’ll in some cases (since there are always exceptions to a rule), the answer is yes. It’s the same as the principle of self-defense. Assuming of course you are the innocent party, when you are a recipient of a deadly attack, you ought to defend your life even at the expense of taking the life of your attacker. At that point, your life is more important than the life of your attacker because you have the right values on your side. If you take away the life of your attacker in the process, you don’t commit any crime. Values at times is more important than life. That’s why martyrs like our very own St. Pedro Calungsod and St. Lorenzo Ruiz had to give up their lives for the highest value of all: God.