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Tay Kah Lai

Make Every Day Special

Fresh off a weekend celebrating the dedication and unconditional love of our mothers, is an article by Kah Lai, Head of Urban Kidz, showing us that we don’t have to wait for an OCCASION like Mother’s Day to make every day special.

A professor shared about a conversation that he had with a friend whose wife had just passed away:

My friend said, “I was packing my wife’s belongings and found a beautiful, branded silk scarf that I bought for her during our vacation to New York years ago. The scarf was so exquisite that the price tag had never been taken off because my wife couldn’t bear to use it. She was waiting for a special occasion to wear it.” At this point, my friend paused and we both sat there in silence for a long while before he continued, “Don’t keep good things only for special days, every day that you’re alive is a special day.”

This story touched my heart and reminded me that being alive and well makes each day a special one. I decided then that I would make it a point to be mindful to live in a way that reflected that mindset.

During a recent Sunday service, I was making my way towards the lift when I walked past a family with 2 young girls. One of the girls was wearing heart-rimmed sunglasses and for a moment, I thought I saw tears behind the shades. I looked at her mother who gave me an exasperated look and a shrug of her shoulders. I decided to U-turn and follow them to find out more. I later found out that I was not wrong after all –  the little girl was not happy to attend church because all of her friends attend service on Saturday . I managed to speak a few words of comfort to the young girl and even shared some advice with her. Her mother returned my smile when I had finished and was about to leave the room. It warmed my heart.

Later that morning, I saw a teacher standing outside a classroom with a crying 3-year old girl who kept saying, “I want my mummy!” I went up to the girl and instead of calling out her name, I called out my name saying, “Auntie Kah Lai is here”, and waited for her response. I continued to speak gently to her and before long, she held out her tiny hand and we walked into the classroom together. What a special moment that was for me.

At about 11:30am that same day, I came out of the Baby Room and sat on one of the plastic chairs lined along the wall, busy replying work-related messages on my phone. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a church staff pushing a pram with a toddler, followed by a mother carrying her baby boy. They maneuvered the pram right to the door of the Baby Room and struggled to remove their shoes and open the door, all the while assuring the little girl in the pram. If any of you know me, you will know that I can be oblivious to my surroundings when I’m caught up with work but something prompted me to look up and notice the struggle outside the room. Because I was now aware of the struggle nearby, I went forward to offer my help.

I had forgotten all about the incident outside the Baby Room by the time I left church to wait at the bus stop to go home. A mother with a girl in a pram was sitting at the bus stop as well and she smiled back at me. It took me a while to recognize her as the same mother whom I had helped outside the Baby Room. She thanked me and we had a pleasant conversation while waiting for her husband to pick them up. I felt blessed.

Remember, little things matter and every little thing makes the day special.

Don’t wait for a special day to go out of your way to help someone or do something special or to wear that special piece of clothing. When all these little moments are added up, they make a difference to those who receive it and even more to those who choose to engage in their day with this mindset. I know it is true because I experienced it personally.

To be alive each day makes every day special. Let it begin with TODAY.

Kah Lai is the head of UrbanKidz and has been working with children for the last 20 years.  She loves all forms of travel – from backpacking trips with friends, to going  solo (she travelled to Taiwan and journeyed up to the picturesque Alishan area alone), to exciting family holidays. She is married to Benjamin and they have two boys.

Balancing Virtues

All of us have virtues in varying degrees and strengths. We may also realize that some virtues are developed more naturally within us while others are developed through circumstances.

The Bible exhorts us to be diligent in growing our faith. We are to “add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge… For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:2-4)

Let me illustrate this. Michael is, by nature, a very patient boy. He is not likely to say in the playground: “Hello, it’s my turn now!” Instead, he will wait patiently until there is “a gap” at the slide.  Too much patience, however, will not work for Michael because he’ll end up waiting at the slide forever. Richard, on the other hand, is very assertive. He knows what he wants and shows determination and purposefulness, jumping the queue regularly to enjoy the thrill of going down the slide.

While Michael’s patience may be amazing for that of a young child, this virtue alone will not help him accomplish what he wants. He will need to grow in the virtue of assertiveness and be taught to do it with tact and courage. Richard knows how to get what he wants but without exercising the virtue of consideration and self-control, he may not make many friends.

Growing our faith along the virtuous way is essential in our journey with the Lord where moral excellence ought to be part of our life and our relationships with others. Like Michael or Richard, our children may have over-developed some virtues, while others need further development. For every strongly developed virtue, a balancing virtue is probably required.

Suppose you’ve realized that your child has over-developed a virtue, can you identify a balancing virtue? How would you help your child develop his/her balancing virtue?  For Michael, his parents’ presence and continual encouragement became his pillar of strength, giving him the courage and knowledge to assert himself whenever he encountered similar situations.

Be assured that your child will grow from strength to strength in the fortitude of his/her character as you become more mindful and intentional in growing your family in faith and virtue.

God will bless your efforts.  Shalom!

Kah Lai is the head of UrbanKidz and has been working with children for the last 20 years.  She loves all forms of travel – from backpacking trips with friends, to going  solo (she travelled to Taiwan and journeyed up to the picturesque Alishan area alone), to exciting family holidays. She is married to Benjamin and they have two boys.