Running Out Of Water

My son phoned home grumbling and complaining: there was no water supply in his area. He had not taken bath for a day and he was miserable and depressing in his second day's ordeal.

My wife consoled and comforted him, knowing for sure how to deal with her son in his time of need. I eavesdropped and chuckled, another training ground for the young man, I thought to myself.

It is not uncommon in my country to run out of water at short notice. It is okay for families with ready tank water, well water, or river water, though it can be inconvenience and painful. But for a learning institution to run out of water, the implication and effect is definitely more dramatic and intense.

I remembered two years ago when my eldest daughter phoned her mother with the same problem. She cried and yelled and screamed.

Children are like that. They want everything to be readily provided for; they find them in their home and are satisfied.

Now they are on their own, meeting their needs and wants with their own means. Some they can handle well, some they need guidance and direction, some they need counseling and encouragement.......

It is fun and exciting to see the children grow up. It is painful and hurting to hear them grumbling and complaining. Nevertheless, that is the price of growing up; we have to take on heavier responsibilities, and make bigger and tougher decisions.

I had a sweet and nice bath, but I couldn’t help laughing at my son.

By 7 in the evening, my wife phoned her son again.

He had finally taken his bath!

Enjoy The joy Of Losing

When I was young, I enjoyed winning. I found great joy and satisfaction in winning a game, a match, a competition or a race. I would tried my very best to win. Winning had become very much a part of me.

I felt sad and hurt whenever I lost. I blamed myself for not putting enough attention and effort; I blamed others for not helping or not playing according to the rules.

I was not ready to lose; I was not pleased at all; and I couldn't bear the thoughts and feelings of losing. Losing could never be a part of my life.

Over the years, time and again, I experienced failures and setbacks. Initially the thoughts and feelings were really bad. I refused to admit defeat or accept failure. No. Losing was not a part of me. I succumbed to bad attitudes and bad habits, hurting myself and others.

I realized at last I couldn't win every time. Somehow others would overtake me and win. Eventually I resigned and was contented with what I was.

Then I began to develop the desire to see my family, relatives and friends win; I wanted everyone close to me to win and continue to win. I began to be a faithful and helpful supporter to them. It was fun and very satisfying to see our loved ones won. I finally admitted defeat; losing had definitely become a part of me and I wouldn't mind losing.

The Lord God has commanded His people to love one another. It doesn't matter whether they are good or bad; we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. It is not easy and it will never be easy.

Life is filled with many winning and losing experiences. The winning memories bring us joy and happiness. The losing experiences may appear undesirable at first glance, nevertheless they are humbling and beneficial experiences.

One thing I discover: life doesn't always revolve around us. With time, somehow others will overtake us and win and win. It may be our children, our relatives and friends, our neighbors, our colleagues, our enemies.... It doesn't matter. Now we have to admit defeats more than before.

Losing can and will become a major part of our life; the important question is how we are to deal with it.

Eventually we will have to resign and begin to see and enjoy the joy of losing.

Law of the Seed

Someone has sent me the following advice through an email. I studied it and I passed it on...

Take a look at an apple tree. There may be five hundred apples on the tree and each apple has ten seeds. That's a lot of seeds!

We may ask, "Why would we need so many seeds to grow just a few more apple trees?"

Nature has something to teach us here.

It's telling us: "Not all seeds grow. In life, most seeds never grow".

So if we really want to make something happen, we has better try more than once.

This may mean: We will attend more interviews to get one job.

We will interview more people to find one good employee.

We will talk to more people to sell a house, a car, a vacuum cleaner, an insurance policy, or a business idea.

And we will meet more acquaintances just to find one special friend.

When we understand the "Law of the Seed", we don't get so disappointed.

We stop feeling like victims.

We learn how to deal with things that happen to us.

Laws of nature are not things to take personally. We just need to understand them and work with them.

In a nutshell: successful people fail more often. But they plant more seeds.

When things are beyond our control, here's something that we must not do so as to avoid misery in our lives:

We must not decide how we think the world should be.

We must not make rules for how everyone should behave.

Then, when the world doesn't obey our rules, we get angry!

That's what miserable people do!

On the other hand, let's say we expect that:

Friends should return favors.

People should appreciate us.

Planes should arrive on time.

Everyone should be honest.

Our husband or best friend should remember our birthday.

These expectations may sound reasonable.

But often, these things won't happen!

So we end up frustrated and disappointed.

There's a better strategy: demand less, instead, have more preferences!

For things that are beyond our control, tell ourselves:

"I would prefer this, but if that happens, it’s okay too!"

This is really a change in mindset.

It is a shift in attitude, and it gives us more peace of mind.

We prefer that people are polite but when they are rude, it doesn't ruin our day.

We prefer sunshine but if it rains, it is okay too!

To become happier, we either need to change the world or change our thinking.

It is far easier to change our thinking!

In a nutshell: it is not the problem that is the issue, but rather it is our attitude attending to the problem that is the problem.

It is not what happens to us that determines our happiness. It's how we think about what happens to us!

Remember: the Law of the Seed.

The Deteriorating Results

The educational officers came, greeting the principal and the teachers with a nice broad smile, and shaking everyone's hand. Then they sat down in a round conference table.

Everyone dutifully sat down and the meeting began.

The school presented the students' progress report using LCD.

The educational officers listened carefully, examined every single detail, and jotted down their findings.

Then they looked at one another, shaking their heads and sighing repeatedly.

Everyone turned their heads to them, concerned and worried.

Using a red laser light beam, the chief of them pointed out the downward trends of some important subjects, fiercely stared at the teachers concerned and cried, “Look at these deteriorating mid-year results. Are you not worried?”

Fear, uneasiness, and worry sank in. The atmosphere was not pleasant as before and the dragging time didn’t improve it. For almost 10 minutes it was an uncomfortable and tense silence. Some were nodding their heads in recognition and agreement; some spoke grudgingly but softly behind.

Then one of the head teachers answered, “We were having these trends for the past few years. But in the real public exam, the passing percentages were high.” Many teachers nodded their heads in agreement.

The education officer continued, “I’m not talking about the public exam. I’m talking about what are the steps taken in view of these deteriorating results.”

The silence continued so long.

Then the principal broke the ice by elaborating on what the education officer wanted.

The meeting ended admirably. Steps were taken and more programs were carried out.

Now there would be more study guides and exam packages, and more students’ progress reports.

The public exam is drawing near.

The teachers are busy.

And now more busy.

Will the students improve?

Wait and see.

Problems Are Just Daily Challenges In Life

Overwhelming problems can be very annoying at time; it can drain us emotionally, make us look silly and naïve, and give us many sleepless nights and wasteful days.

Problems can be very depressing when there is no apparent solution in sight. We become indecisive, hot temper and easy to get mad at people.

But when appropriate and workable solution is at hand, we become invigorated, motivated and excited when facing problems.

Sometimes I wonder whether we are born with the innate drive, desire and knowledge to face problems.

The Lord God said each day has enough of its own worries and troubles. We are not to worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.

As such we are born to face many problems and challenges in life; each day with its new worries and troubles. Then come the night when we must rest and committed them to the Lord God. And the cycle continues.

There is not a day without problems. Some come easy with practice and skill; some solvable with a bit more patience and persistence; some only can be solved with time and great effort. Some just remain there, never to go away, a thorn in the flesh!

Problem solving and prayer answering come together; we need spiritual insight and scriptural guidance. The world is not just physical; there are many things that we claim to know but have no knowledge about. It’s time to get humble and submit to the authority of the Almighty God.

Problem solving and advice giving come together; no man is an island and we need not live and die alone. Good family and friends abound in our lives. It’s time to be friendlier and more approachable.

Each day has its own toil and beauty. The ultimate question is how we deal with problems in life and how we live with problems. No escapism and fruitless dreams; no fantasy and lingering guilt; no outright lies and deception. Each day has enough of its own worries and troubles, its own unique stories and ideas, and its own heat and pressure.

A step backward and away from the scene will be nice; it helps to see the problem clearer and solve the problem better. What we need to face problem is a clear and unobstructed horizon.

Problems never go away. It will continue to haunt and terrify people.

But problem is not a problem when we don’t call them problems.

Problems are just daily challenges in life.