A few days ago, I watched some video showing many international achievements of Indonesian young generations, such as the winner of international physics competition, the founder of a new math function, the architectural designer of the important building in other countries, and many more. We, as Indonesians, were certainly proud of all those attainments. At least we had a bargaining position across the world!

Given those achievements, many of us were then inspired to study more deeply about those related fields, such as physics, math, engineering, and so on. They also believed that the indicator of one’s intelligence was measured by the mastery of natural sciences. The parents also thronged to teach their children about the knowledge as early as possible.

This phenomenon indirectly prompted me to do the same – giving something to my nation. But then I realized that I was mastering social science, particularly education, not natural science as those who brought Indonesia worldwide did. In addition, many Indonesian people were more likely to only consider physical evidence the development of a nation.

I therefore thought that no matter how well I did, people will always ask for what physical evidence I had. Whereas what social science did was a long-term process where the result might be felt by our grandchildren.

I seriously looked for the answer to a question, “how can I contribute to my nation in a way where people feel the impact soon?” I asked my friend about this problem. Unfortunately, her answer did not meet my expectation. Then I went to another friend. I told him about my mind problem, he told me a long story instead.

At first, he told a story regarding his lecture instead. I listened to him carefully while waiting for the “aha” moment. I even related every word he said to my problem.

A few minutes later, I finally got the point. He explained comprehensively, “Mas, in my department, there were many external lecturers who hold important positions in British government coming to my class. One thing that I noted was related to your problem. They said that what we were doing as architects was easy – building many magnificent buildings. It was true that this was felt by many people shortly. Yet if we always relied on the physical evidence the civilization would not last for a long time. The key was what you are doing instead – creating the right way of thinking among the next generations. Without good human resources, all the landmarks we built was nothing.”

It was waking me up and reminding me about my main purpose. What I am creating is a good generation to make Indonesia better. It is true that this is not “a piece of cake”, it even requires a lifelong commitment not only to keep going, but also to deal with the people who challenge your steps.

For you who are doing the same, please keep it up. No matter the way you take, Indonesia needs more people like you. Let us build a better society. May God always enlighten us. Aamiin…

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