Recently, A came back from school and told me that a theft occurred in her class. Apparently, one of her teachers had given the class a pen each as a Children’s Day present. When she returned from recess, A found her pen missing. I was shocked. But what was most appalling was that not only hers, but two other classmates’ pens were also stolen. The saving grace in this case was that a very kind classmate gave A her own pen. A true friend indeed. The incident also revealed the two sides of humanity — the selfish side of the thief, and the selfless side of a kind friend.
At first, A was in a dilemma whether she should report the theft to the teacher as she had got back a pen from the kindness of her classmate. I told her to consult her two other classmates whose pens were also stolen. A asked the other two girls and to my utter surprise, they chose not to report to the teacher. “The ball is now in your court,” I told A. I said she could choose to keep silent and let the culprit get away with it; or she could go ahead and report to the teacher alone. I felt she is old enough to make her own decision, but I encouraged her to make a courageous stand even if it meant she had to go at it alone because keeping quiet about the theft would only embolden the culprit to steal again.
The next day, A told the teacher about the theft. She also mentioned the kind classmate who gave her her pen. Ironically, instead of investigating the matter and finding out who the culprit was, the teacher merely told the class not to speculate who the thief was and closed the case. When A told me this, I was very disturbed by the teacher’s response. I know A was equally disappointed about the teacher’s reaction. Despite that, I told her not to be discouraged by the outcome because she had done the right thing. She had made a courageous stand against wrongdoing even though the outcome was not what she had expected.
Although the teacher’s lack of action had allowed the thief to get away with the misdeed, it was not something within our control. The important thing is to impart the right values to our child as the biblical verse in Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” I hope A will learn from this invaluable life lesson on making a courageous stand against wrongdoing, on standing up for what is right and not condoning or sweeping under the carpet what is wrong.
This tribute is specially dedicated to a fine young man, whose immense courage and strength in fighting the cancer battle has touched and inspired many hearts and souls. His 21-year on earth is a true testament of a life well-lived — serving God in church and going on mission trip even when sickness racked his body, but not his love for God. His passing left a legacy of love, grace and strength that will remain in the hearts of many.
Are you resting in Jesus’ arms now?
Looking down from up above,
Those who remain here
Grieving for you, missing you.
Will you send us dreams?
To tell us you are in a better place,
Where there is no more pain or suffering.
‘Cos it’ll soothe our aching hearts,
That you are happy and at peace now.
Thank you for showing us God’s strength,
In the midst of fighting that gruelling battle.
Never giving up, till the last breath
Through you, we see a strong spirit in a gentle soul.
Thank you for showing us God’s love,
That even in the final moments,
You still dragged your battered body to church
Just to worship Him and listen to His words.
Now that God has called you home,
You will be deeply missed,
Gone too soon, too sudden.
Your tired body on earth may be gone,
But your spirit lives on in many of our hearts. Always.
It’s heartening to know that we were all slaves to our own sins, but were redeemed by the blood of Jesus when he sacrificed his life for us at the Cross. Now, we are all sons (and daughters) of God, set free from the slavery of sins and called as one of God’s family when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. Such grace. Such love. We should always remind ourselves that the price of our freedom does not come cheap, and be constantly on the vigil that we do not fall back into the trappings of the sins of this world.
Sometimes it’s easier to see the specks of dirt in others’ eyes than the load of debris in our own eyes. It’s human nature to criticize others than to judge ourselves. That is why Jesus had to die for us to redeem our sins. Yes, judging, slandering and cursing others is also a sin. The Bible says, those who judge us do not love us, and their voices should not hold weight. Let God judge them for their slandering ways. But we should not judge them the way we have been judged, or we would have sinned. As the wise Mahatma Gandhi once famously quoted, “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”
As children of God, let’s constantly be reminded that we do not become a slave of our own sins.
My dearest child,
Since you started playing the piano at age 4, I did not imagine you would one day perform on a grand piano on a big stage in front of hundreds of audience. Well, you first did that at age 6, performing a solo recital at your kindergarten graduation ceremony. You were so tiny then, yet you were not the least afraid or nervous. In fact, you were surprisingly cool and calm, no one would think that was your first time performing on stage in front of so many people.
Fast forward four years, you took part in your first ever piano competition — the Singapore Asia Youth Piano Competition — got into the Grand Finals and emerged with a Bronze Award! That was no mean feat considering that you were facing very strong competitions from local and regional young talents who were more experienced. At first, you were a little intimidated by the strong competition. But your piano teacher said the exposure and experience would be good for you. I refused to let you be discouraged and told you the biblical story of how David defeated the giant Goliath. So you practised very hard, went on stage and did your best. You did not win the top prize but to me, you are already a winner for the perseverance and courage in facing your own giants.
There will undoubtedly be other giants in your life that you may have to face in the future. But I hope you will always remember the story of David and Goliath, and not be fearful but have the courage to overcome the mountains and giants in your life. As long as I’m around, you can count on me to stand by you in all life’s challenges. But your ultimate source of strength should come from God and yourself. Never limit what God can do for you, through you and in you. You may not win all the times in life but you can always be an overcomer if you believe in yourself, draw your strength from God, persevere and never give up.
Love you infinitely,
This poem is specially written and dedicated to all mothers in the world…
There are no perfect mothers; every mother is unique and special
With their different challenges, hopes and dreams.
But they all have one thing in common
Loving their children selflessly, single-mindedly, whole heartedly.
Mothers are like Grace
Always giving, always forgiving
With no expectation of returns.
Mothers are like Compassion
They hurt when their children are hurting
Rejoice when their children are happy.
Mothers are like Faith
Always believing in their children
In good times and bad.
Most of all,
Mothers are the ultimate true Love
Unconditional, unsurpassed, endless.
A came back from school one day and told me an interesting incident that had happened in the school canteen during recess time.
She had put two $2 notes in her wallet that morning, one for her recess snack and the other to buy something from the school bookshop to make a Mother’s Day gift. At recess, she had opened her wallet to buy food and accidentally dropped one of the $2 notes without knowing it. A woman, whom A said was probably a visitor as she had never met her before, picked up the $2 note and asked around who had dropped the money. A girl immediately claimed that the money was hers and the woman gave the $2 to her. It was then that A checked her wallet and realized that she had dropped her other $2 note.
With much courage, she went up to the other girl and told her that the $2 note was hers. To her disappointment, that school mate merely stared at her and then quickly walked away when she saw A’s classmate. A told some of her classmates what had happened as they were doing cleaning duties in the canteen. The woman who had picked up the money was having lunch there and overheard everything. Without a word, she gave A a $2 note much to the latter’ surprise. A refused to accept it but the kind woman insisted. A eventually accepted her kind gesture and thanked her profusely.
So in one day at the same place, A experienced both the ugly and beautiful sides of human nature. The school mate who exchanged her conscience for a mere $2 versus the kind stranger who gave a distraught girl the $2 note she had dropped even though she was not obliged to. In A’s own words, the kind woman though a stranger was like an angel. Indeed, I told her God had sent her an angel to demonstrate his love for her. When A’s classmates suggested she reported the incident to the teacher, A said there is no need. I’m glad that she has chosen to focus on the blessing given than the wrong done to her.
If someone were to ask me if God still performs miracles today, I would no doubt give an emphatic “yes”.
One of my worst fears came to life in September 2014 when I received a call from my child’s form teacher that she had fallen down a flight of stairs in school and hit the back of her head. This was one news no parents would want to receive on their children. I was stunned. Frozen to the ground. But I immediately began to pray…that my child was not seriously hurt. Strangely, a wave of peace swept over me after I prayed.
My heart was racing very fast as I rushed to the school to see her. I had expected her to be in the sick bay resting. To my relief, she was in class and looked alright, with nary a scratch or bruise on her face or body except for a slight bump on the back of her head. Still. the form teacher told me to monitor her for the next 36 hours to make sure she did not vomit or have other more serious symptoms due to the fall.
The next day, I went to check out the flight of stairs that my child had rolled down from and was shocked that it was a 13-step staircase. I am very sure that God’s hands must have cushioned her from the fall that day. Imagine a 7-year-old child rolled down from that long concrete staircase and hit her head, yet she did not sustain any serious injury or broken bones, no bleeding, not even a scratch or bruise on her face and body. If this is not a miracle, I don’t know what is. I have no doubt that when she fell, Jesus was there to hold her in His arms.
Today, the little girl who survived that fall is a happy, bubbly child who is always reminded of God’s merciful grace for her.