Watching the street children pounding on our car window, with their distressed faces and their tired eyes, always made my heart ache. Growing up in the Philippines was always difficult, but my experiences there made me who I am today. It would be easy for one to grow numb to the plight of others over time, but I never have. My Catholic upbringing, my relationship with kind and loving parents, and my close proximity to those truly in need have made me into a selfless and compassionate person.
Religion was an important part of my household as a child, and it was a formative element of my life. Altruism and selflessness are core tenets of Catholicism, and my family were staunch followers of this religion. My parents enrolled me in one of the most prestigious Catholic schools in the Philippines, and participating in outreach programs was a requirement for our religion class. Our outreach programs involved various activities assisting the less fortunate: this included regularly visiting local orphanages to spend time with the residents and donate needed goods. Although my upbringing was nothing like theirs, I felt a connection with these underprivileged children, and their troubles deeply touched me. Working and conversing with these children built within me a sense of compassion and duty to my fellow human, inspiring me to do ever more charitable work. In addition my strong belief in an omnipotent power and my religious upbringing, the guidance and support of my loving parents played a key role in molding my compassionate nature.
My parents had deeply divergent parenting styles, however both contributed greatly towards shaping my perspectives on the importance of compassion. My father’s focus on discipline always left me with a clear understanding of how I should treat others. I have a distinct childhood memory where, out of jealousy for my brother, I kicked my nanny. My father responded by literally caning me from head to toe: the only parts...