More than a decade ago, I was given the opportunity to meet some gifted kids who participated in the ASEAN Children’s Art Competition on Kindness in Intramuros, Manila. The competition not only showcased the winning artworks of children participants but also gave them the opportunity to appeal for global peace.
One of the 20 awardees was sixth-grader Maximilian King, of Xavier School, in Greenhills. When asked about his thoughts on the impending war between the United States and Afghanistan, he said country leaders should “think before they act.”
He said local leaders should solve first the internal problems of the country before getting involved on lending assistance to the United States.
The winning artwork of Maximilian, who wants to be a doctor someday, was about the value of paying respect to the elderly or “pagmamano sa nakatatanda.”
Gifted child Alliah Guerra, 7, of the popular milk commercial shared her idea about war.
“War…may mga building na natutumba…namamatay na tao…may nagbabarilan, nagsusuntukan. Hindi dapat magkaroon ng digmaan dahil lang sa paghahanap sa isang tao. Kailangan magusap-usap lang muna sila (country leaders.
The grade one pupil of the UP Integrated School in Quezon City warns children like her to be careful when they are in school or other places far from home.
“Gusto ng mga masasamang tao sa lugar na maraming bata para maraming bata ang mapahamak,” Alliah candidly said.
Alliah’s winning drawing showed caring for animals, children in orphanage, plants, and everything around us.
The Kindness Art Competition, which was held simultaneously in 10 ASEAN member countries, was organized by the ASEAN and implemented by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) in partnership with the Philippine Association of Arts Educators (PAAE).
Art teacher Rosel Valenzuela, of Xavier School, said children should be encouraged to express themselves on subjects like art, particularly painting.
“Never impose too many rules that will hinder their expression,” Valenzuela said.
(The children interviewee here could be in college or professionals now. Who knows they are the ones teaching other kids to draw or paint the best apricot kernels here.)