Take 5 – 3rd March 2017 by Mr Keith Lim
Before I begin my Take 5 message, I would like to see all students be ready with your GESS Life book and a pen.
– Students settle down and be ready –
Good morning Mdm Tan, Mr Lee, Mr Chung, colleagues and GESSians. Term 1 might have been a challenging term for many of you. You may be disappointed with your Common Test results. Some of you may also be in a new class or have to work with new groupmates in assignments. These events represent challenges and changes that you will have to face throughout your life. You will have to live life by design and not by default as you are able to make a change for the better in your life. You can even apply the principles of Design Thinking to deal with life challenges and changes. As the first stage of Design Thinking is Empathy, the very first step in overcoming these challenges and changes is to empathise with others and yourself better by listening and understanding. Today, I would like to share with you a message with the title “How to listen to others and yourself”.
Firstly, please write down “listen to others with a caring heart and an open mind”. The most important factor in any healthy relationship is communication and the most important step in communication is listening. Listening is much more than hearing as listening to others means to actively show that you care about and respect others.
In school, you might have a new classmate or teammate that you barely know. He or she may be feeling awkward, shy or reserved. On the other hand, some other students might be too talkative and you would like him or her to talk less. Both groups have the same basic human desire, which is to be understood by others. Those who talk less have the fear that their opinions and feelings might be rejected by the group. On the other hand, those who talk a lot have the fear that their opinions and feelings are not being understood. However, a culture of care and respect can cast out fear. You can begin by being the first one to accept the differences in opinions and emotions. You can tell your teammates that all of you can agree to disagree and everyone gets to share their opinions and feelings. During the conversation, you can ask questions such as “what do you think about this?”, “how do you feel about this?”, “why do you think so”. Once everyone in the team feels that their opinions and feelings are being respected, and the communication will become much more positive.
Back at your home, you may find your parents and grandparents are nagging at you. They are actually showing their care and concern and they love you in their way. However, parents often feel that we did not care or understand their words and hence they keep repeating. I would like to share my own teenage experience and hope that my experience can help you. One of my hobby was computer gaming and that was my way to relieve stress and to use my mind in an area beyond studying. My mother used to nag at me and I just reply with a phrase, “ya lah, ya lah”. However, we had a heart to heart talk in secondary 3 and we agreed that I can continue to play computer games for a limited amount of time as long as I can cope with my studies. My mother understood that I had a plan for my studies and play while I understood that she cared about me and her nagging was not a form of control.
Secondly, please write down “listen to your pure heart”. You might be dealing with disappointment in life now and thinking of giving up. You might be having doubts about your abilities and even your future. You may even have many negative thoughts in your mind which you would like to silence. I have a good news for you. You are able to find and listen to your innermost and purest voice of hopes and dreams among the noise of negativity. Everyone has a little kid in the innermost consciousness and we have to learn to listen to our kid version with understanding and empathy. I would want you to remember the joy of learning in your early childhood. There would have been a time when you were very young and you enjoyed learning something for the first time in an environment without test and exam. However, the noise of stress and failure over the years might have drowned the voice of that kid. As long as you listen to your pure heart for learning, you will be successful. I would like to share the story of 4F. They had a fear of Chemistry in secondary 3 and many of them did not believe they can even pass a Chemistry test. I told them to believe in the dream of doing well in Chemistry and many of them believed. They put in tremendous amount of effort and many of them experienced a great improvement this year. As you can see, a simple act of listening to your child-like heart of hopes and dreams can direct you towards success.
In summary, as long as you listen to others with a caring heart and an open mind and listen to your pure heart, you will be able to experience success in all areas of your life. I hereby give you my best wishes for the rest of the year.