MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
Prayer by Thomas Merton
I believe there is always room for improvement as I would like to share as below suggestions to teachers as well as suggestions to candidates based on the analysis of quality of answers in the UPSR exams particularly for English papers.
SUGGESTIONS TO CANDIDATES
1. Learn to write neatly, clearly and legibly.
2. Do lots of exercises on the different aspects of grammar in order to have a better understanding of the different functions of grammar rules.
3. Use more English in everyday activities both in written and spoken form to improve language proficiency and confidence.
4. Read materials in English intensively and extensively in order to have more exposures in a variety of English forms and structures.
5. Always make a practice to ask when in doubt and use the dictionary to widen your vocabulary.
6. Study and understand the words given before you construct simple and compound sentences.
7. Study all the information and details given in the text carefully before transferring them. Practice as many exercises as possible to familiarise with the task.
8. Mind map or brain storm before answering Section C. Use WH (What, Who, Where, When, Why, How) questions to help you elaborate your ideas. Add in as many new words according to the picture and notes given.
9. Pay attention in class.
10. Revise your lessons regularly and complete the homework given by the teacher.
11. Watch English programs on television, example documentaries, news and children‟s educational series.
12. Always jot down the new words that you come across when you are reading or when you hear people talking.
SUGGESTIONS TO TEACHERS
1. Teach all the skills listed in the syllabus.
2. List all the grammatical items that should be taught and make sure students master them.
3. Motivate students to use the language in their everyday activities.
4. Teach simple sentences and ensure they master them before proceeding to compound.
5. Equip students with suggested vocabulary listed in the syllabus.
6. Create meaningful English environment inside and outside the classroom.
7. Give the students more practices in spelling and dictation.
8. Bear in mind that creative and critical thinking skills are to be emphasized in exercises and practices given to students.
9. Be a good role model and have a close rapport with your students.
10. Cultivate a love for the language by adopting and adapting a variety of teaching methods and strategies. This will avoid students from the notion that English is a boring and difficult subject.
11. Teach English as a language and not as a tool to answer examination questions.
12. Avoid drilling stereotyped sentence patterns. Students should not be made to memorise words, phrases and sentences. Let them flourish in the language by themselves even by using simple English.
13. Upgrade own proficiency by using the language yourself.
14. Have model writings for the average and slow learners as a guide.
15. Avoid drilling stereotyped sentence patterns.
16. Provide more samples of UPSR format questions and drill the students.
17. Stress and train students to read and follow rubrics and instructions carefully.
18. Teach or encourage students to use adjectives, adverbs, idiomatic expressions, proverbs and similes in a variety of sentence structures.
19. Help pupils gain confidence in the learning of English through games, quizzes, spelling competitions, role-plays, songs and jazz chants and thus making learning English fun.
20. Enjoy teaching the subject.
“If the Magi had come in search of an earthly King, they would have been disconcerted at finding that they had taken the trouble to come such a long way for nothing. Consequently, they would have neither adored nor offered gifts. But since they sought a heavenly King, though they found in Him no signs of royal pre-eminence, yet, content with the testimony of the star alone, they adored: for they saw a man, and they acknowledged a God.”
~ St. John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
The Magi or wise men remind us that we should be persons of depth. We are superficial when we limit our concerns to what we should wear, eat, or drink. We acquire depth when we involve God in our lives, striving to know God’s will through a process we call discernment.
You are wise if you involve Jesus in your day-to-day decisions, when you ask his opinion over big and small matters. You want to follow his star, and like the wise men, you become confused and bothered once his star disappears. You cannot live without the light of God; you strive always to see reality under his guidance.
Many of us live empty lives because we do not give God any space in our existence. We remember God only in times of need and want. We pray when we are suffering from severe problems or incurable illnesses, but God remains far from us because we do not involve him in our decision-making. We are so sure of ourselves; we run to God only when we become desperate.
When you decided to get married, for instance, did you bother asking whether God was calling you to the married life? This is discernment. We open our hearts and minds to the mysterious voice of our Creator who gets involved in our lives if we allow him to.
As parents, do you ask God for guidance as to where you will send your children for high school? Do young people ever wonder whether God agrees with their career choice or professional route? When we develop the habit of asking God for the decisions we make, especially the big ones, then we become like the Magi, person of depth.
When we involve God in our decisions, we will see our lives as completing our God-given mission. We acquire a purpose, a reason for living. We are on our way to happiness. A life without purpose is empty and sad. When we wake up each morning knowing that we will spend the day doing God’s will for us, the warmth of God’s light enters our hearts. We become contented and happy. Our day become a life celebration.
If you are superficial in your way of life, you will never be a witness to Jesus. Only men and women of depth can fulfill this purpose.
(This reflection is taken from 366 days with the Lord)
You may not know me, but I know everything about you. (Psalm 139:1)
I know when you sit down and when you rise up. (Psalm 139:2)
I am familiar with all your ways. (Psalm 139:3)
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. (Matthew 10:29-31)
For you were made in my image. (Genesis 1:27)
In me you live and move and have your being. (Acts 17:28)
For you are my offspring. (Acts 17:28)
I knew you even before you were conceived. (Jeremiah 1:4-5)
I chose you when I planned creation. (Ephesians 1:11-12)
You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book.
I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live
You are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)
I knit you together in your mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13)
And brought you forth on the day you were born. (Psalm 71:6)
I have been misrepresented by those who don’t know me. (John 8:41-44)
I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love.
(1 John 4:16)
And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. (1 John 3:1)
Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. (1 John 3:1)
I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. (Matthew 7:11)
For I am the perfect father. (Matthew 5:48)
Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. (James 1:17)
For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. (Matthew 6:31-33)
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.
Because I love you with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3)
My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. (Psalm 139:17-18)
And I rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
I will never stop doing good to you. (Jeremiah 32:40)
For you are my treasured possession. (Exodus 19:5)
I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul.
And I want to show you great and marvellous things. (Jeremiah 33.3)
If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. (Deuteronomy 4:29)
Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)
For it is I who gave you those desires. (Philippians 2:13)
I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine.
For I am your greatest encourager. (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)
I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles.
(2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. (Psalm 34:18)
As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. (Isaiah 40:11)
One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. (Revelation 21:3-4)
I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus.
For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. (John 17:26)
He is the exact representation of my being. (Hebrew 1:3)
He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you.
And to tell you that I am not counting your sins. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)
Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)
His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. (1 John 4:10)
I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love.
If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me. (1 John 2:23)
And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. (Romans 8:38-39)
Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen.
I have always been Father, and will always be Father. (Ephesians 3:14-15)
My question is…Will you be my child? (John 1:12-13)
I am waiting for you. (Luke 15:11-32)
Love, Your Dad, Almighty God
Many times in life we get so confident. We start to depend on our own strength. But as we walk, we realize that the path we choose won’t give us anything. And we realize we can’t do without God. Then at one point, we can’t walk anymore and we ask ourselves. Am I still worthy? Is God mat at me? If I go back, will He accept me? If this is you, then turn around. And you will see God is waiting for you with open arms. He has been and always will be with you whether you realize or not. No matter how far you leave Him, He never leaves you. No matter who you are. No matter what you have done. He loves each and every one of you.
An 80 year old man was sitting on the sofa in his house along with his 45 years old highly educated son. Suddenly a crow perched on their window.
The Father asked his Son, “What is this?” The Son replied “It is a crow”. After a few minutes, the Father asked his Son the 2nd time, “What is this?” The Son said “Father, I have just now told you “It’s a crow”. After a little while, the old Father again asked his Son the 3rd time, what is this?” At this time some expression of irritation was felt in the Son’s tone when he said to his Father with a rebuff. “It’s a crow, a crow”. A little after, the Father again asked his Son the 4th time, “What is this?”
This time the Son shouted at his Father, “Why do you keep asking me the same question again and again, although I have told you so many times ‘IT IS A CROW’. Are you not able to understand this?”
A little later the Father went to his room and came back with an old tattered diary, which he had maintained since his Son was born. On opening a page, he asked his Son to read that page. When the son read it, the following words were written in the diary:
“Today my little son aged three was sitting with me on the sofa, when a crow was sitting on the window. My Son asked me 23 times what it was, and I replied to him all 23 times that it was a Crow. I hugged him lovingly each time he asked me the same question again and again for 23 times. I did not at all feel irritated I rather felt affection for my innocent child”.
While the little child asked him 23 times “What is this”, the Father had felt no irritation in replying to the same question all 23 times and when today the Father asked his Son the same question just 4 times, the Son felt irritated and annoyed.
So, if your parents attain old age, do not repulse them or look at them as a burden, but speak to them a gracious word; be cool, obedient, humble and kind to them. Be considerate to your parents. From today say this aloud, “I want to see my parents happy forever. They have cared for me ever since I was a little child. They have always showered their selfless love on me. They crossed all mountains and valleys without seeing the storm and heat to make me a person presentable in the society today”.
Ben: What if he doesn’t make it?
Blake: I know that this sounds crazy, but you have to trust me that he will.
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light; 23 but if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! (Matthew 6:19-23)
Reflection: If you were given the chance to take just ONE THING with you when you die, what would it be?
Lord, your word is life for us.Fill me with your light and truth, and give me understanding of your ways.Free me from all that is false, illusory, ugly, and unloving. Let my heart know only one treasure-the joy and bliss of union with You (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit)
A very good afternoon to our chairman, honourable judges, teachers and my fellow friends. Allow me to share with you this afternoon with my speech entitled ‘Turning my complaints into positive’.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I dislike getting up early in the morning to go to school. It is not that I hate school. I dislike having a drag myself out of bed when it is still dark outside and when my eyes refuse to open. If only school would not have to get up early, I would not have to wait my turn to use the bathroom. However the moment I hit the morning air on my way to school, my whole outlook changes. Ah, the cool air is refreshing. School is wonderful with all my friends and surroundings.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As I said before, school is wonderful. However its wonderfulness is often reduced by the hardworking teachers who load me with homework. So when I reach home in the afternoon I have to slog for hours before I get through all the homework. Who can blame me for not doing them well? As the saying goes “all works and no play make Jack a dull boy”, the teachers should consider that I have other more enjoyable things to do. Life should not revolve around homework only.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Come weekends, it is lovely to sleep late without worrying about getting to school on time. The joy of lying in bed listening to the activities of living things going about their business is particular pleasant. I just close my eyes and do nothing. Sooner or later my mother would make me get up. It is time for the weekly house-cleaning. I would have to wash the front porch and do other chores. I wonder why I repeat the same chores every week. How much difference will a little neglect make? Precious little, I suppose. Nevertheless, kids do not have power and we have to listen to the grown-ups. So, much as I dislike these weekly chores, I have to do them.
Ladies and gentlemen,
There are other distasteful things that I would share with you, but I want to make a choice to stop all my complaints at this moment. This is because I want to be happy and I believe that you and I are designed for happiness. Well then, can we be happy? Absolutely. We will be happy if we see happiness as a choice and a state in life. It is a choice because we choose our thoughts. The way we think and look at life determines the way we feel. When we remember something wonderful, we are happy. When we think of something terrible, we become sad. We have both, positive and negative experiences in our lives. What we look at gets bigger and bigger in our minds. It is a state and not a passing emotion. A happy person is more than just having happy feelings. It is unrealistic to say that we are a happy person only when we are on an emotional high. Happy people live happy ways such as there are lots of smiles, optimistic, willing to help, just to name a few. Normally, others are glad to be around them.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Life comes with unpleasant experiences for everyone but a happy person will always find a way back to happiness. We have all that we need today to be happy. We do not need to wait until we are the best. Happiness is truly an inside job. It depends on what you look at, what you believe in and your lifestyle. What will you choose? Thank you.