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Summer MIBs

Fr. Francis Ongkingco



I WAS helping out in FORGE, a summer boy’s youth camp organized by some parents and friends. Some seventy boys participated in the camp that would immerse them into almost an entire week of sports, obstacle courses and hikes, guitar, drawing and other hobby classes, character building talks, meeting boys from other schools, and many more fun events.

There were additional staffers, also students from higher year levels, who helped out as counselors to the younger boys. Each were assigned three to four younger boys whom they accompanied through each day’s events and personally engaged to focus on areas of improvement in their character. The experience was awesomely inspiring to both the counselors and the campers!

Spiritual power-ups to these activities were daily Mass and confessions for those who wanted, and spiritual guidance for the older boys. Honestly, it was also a very moving experience for me to witness how the boys –of different ages and backgrounds—

bonded and matured together.

The last day of the camp was celebrated with a Mass and a short program for the parents who arrived to pick up their boys. Some of the campers displayed their paintings, sketches, and plastic scale models. The rest performed with musical instruments and songs in the program for their families.

In the Mass I asked the boys to consider what they could take home from the camp. Surely, they couldn’t bring home Zoro, the campers’ favorite goat mascot that behaved more like a dog than a goat. Neither can they bring home the air, the grass, and the water from the lake. So what can we bring?

I suggested three youthful MIBs that they could carry on with during the summer break:

a) Make It Bawi: Going back to their usual environment means digital comforts, food intake, and companions. The youth camp was quite a challenge! Since one of the requirements was not to bring any digital device. The boys naturally missed their tablets, XBOXs, and the latest in Facebook. Another challenge was food! Besides the quantity, it was not being able to be picky at what to eat. They were encouraged to take whatever was prepared.

Now, making bawi doesn’t mean splurging on what they had missed for nearly a week on digital devices and food. It refers more to learning how to rectify when making mistakes or lacking in family and social duties. Instead of being indifferent, they ought to promptly rectify and begin again. But this requires another ‘B’.

b) Make It Banat: This literally means “giving it your ALL.” Rectifying would not be complete if one doesn’t put all his heart into it. Thus, when we begin again from failures, mistakes, and even our sins, we mustn’t merely “correct a wrong” but raise the struggle a level higher. This means not being satisfied or not giving in to mediocrity. One way to know if one is “making bawi” sincerely is his efforts to do things well and better.

Summer gives us many opportunities to make it banat. For example, instead of simply avoiding sporadic laziness, we could come out with a personal schedule to productively use both time and resources. Another would be not simply “hanging out with friends” but to “plan out things with them” to do things that they wouldn’t have a chance of doing during the school year.

c) Make It Bongga: The last “B” which means “festive”, caps the previous MIBs. To rectify by giving it your all is further enriched when it is done cheerfully. The festive atmosphere of our service, work, and presence also helps others to feel understood and loved. In turn, they also carry out their duties and obligations joyfully. As St. Josemaría wrote, “Holiness is not rigid like cardboard; it knows how to smile, to give way to others and to hope. It is life – a supernatural life. (The Forge, no. 156)”

May summer be a wonderful and graceful time, for young and not so young, to make it bawi, banat and bonga!!!

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