Kathirvel, Leena and Nicholas folded 120 origami flowers and presented them to primary school children in their neighbourhood. It was a children’s day gift and for those who were taking their primary school leaving examination (PSLE), words of encouragement were written on the flower. These 14-year olds told us that when they were taking their PSLE, they had received a bar of chocolate with words of encouragement from volunteers who visited them, and they wanted to do the same for others.
Hearing how a small act of kindness is being replicated was heart-warming and what touched us was how they had saved up for the paper. Their teacher in school would reward them with a $1 gift voucher whenever they excelled with an assignment. On those occasions they would set aside their vouchers and the origami paper was purchased with these vouchers and some savings from their pocket money. These 3 caring teenagers found the experience of wishing others well most meaningful and they are now planning a Christmas theme origami project.
Last Sunday, 25 children commemorated Children’s Day with an event that celebrated the energy and spontaneity that characterises childhood. Volunteers from the Lodge of St George together with the Kebun Baru Bestari Residents’ Committee transformed a void deck into a mini arena where children could race each other, jump, shout, laugh and be genuinely appreciated for all of it. During the relays and other competitions, each child was urged on by a volunteer. For those 4 hours, our children felt that it was perfectly good to be goofing around, laughing and simply doing things that came naturally to them. They were not loved and celebrated for spectacular accomplishments but simply for what they could already do and for who they are.
The success of the event got us reflecting on what a celebration actually means. Seeing how a little encouragement got our children trying a little harder and feeling positive about themselves was a sight worth celebrating. It reminded us that every moment we have with another person can potentially be a celebration if we are able to genuinely appreciate each other. Just as how the presence of children’s spontaneous laughter and joy could enrich our day, it could be worth considering how the people around us are enriching our life. I suppose every genuine answer would be a celebratory moment even if we keep it to ourselves.
At this time of the year, some students would have already finished their year-end exams while others are still at it. While we will probably find it easy to praise those who excel, how would we regard those who do not? If our answer does not take away the self-belief or self-worth of the student, I think we would have discovered the meaning of celebration.
Enjoy your weekend.
Every choice we make can be a celebration of the world we want. – Frances Moore Lappe