Daily Word (3 December 2014)

Bayanihan


| bɑːjani:han |

Definition

  • The spirit of communal work and cooperation for a shared, unified goal.
  • The concept of helping one out in times of need without expecting a reward.

Etymology

Filipino, from bayan (“nation”, “town”), lit. “being in a bayan“.

Reflection

Today, we celebrate the Feast Day of St. Francis Xavier, one of the most famous and beloved Jesuits of all time. He also happens to be a patron saint in some parts of the Philippines, and is the namesake of my alma mater – Xavier School, in Greenhills, San Juan.

The Jesuits were one group that exemplified the values of bayanihan. They preached, they taught, they reached out – all in the name of serving God. In fact, their founder St. Ignatius of Loyola’s Prayer for Generosity has a line that goes “To labor and ask not for reward” – which sounds eerily similar to one of the aforementioned definitions.

It’s also interesting to know that bayani, the Filipino word for “hero”, can be found in the word bayanihan. Indeed, to be a hero is to live not just for one’s self, but for others as well – to live for one’s bayan, for one’s community. So, when Filipinos live out bayanihan, they become like heroes, extending themselves to those who need it.

That’s what we try to do in teaching and practicing the values of CSR 3.0 – personal Citizenship, Sustainability, and Social Responsibility. We aim to open the hearts and minds of individuals who will in turn open the hearts and minds of individuals around them, creating a chain effect of positive social change. In fact, bayanihan is one of the things that show CSR in Asia is not new, and has been around far longer than American notions of Corporate Social Responsibility.

Like I said, everyone can practice bayanihan in their own way – it is, in fact, the little things that make it so worthwhile. Even the tiniest act of kindness does not go unrecognized in God’s eyes – we really are doing His will in everything we do. And that’s what I’d like to showcase with this site.


Definition derived from The Mixed Culture.

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