I delivered the Feature Address at the Convent Prep’s 2015 Graduation of the Grade 6 students, one day after the results of the G-Sat Exams on July 1 on the above topic and provide an excerpt below. Before I commence, I extend deepest condolences to the family of the late Russell Carbon, Bert Esprit and all those who have lost loved ones, especially in tragic circumstances. May their souls rest in Peace and the Lord comfort the families.
Positive thinking is about seeing the advantage and benefit in any situation, no matter how bleak it is; in essence seeing the glass half-full rather than half-empty. It isn’t as someone wrote, “…expecting the best to happen every time, but accepting that whatever happens is for the best at the moment.” It is about the state of mind, and as Buddha so rightly puts it, “The mind is everything. What we think, we become.” When you give in to self-loathing, anger, jealousy, how do you feel? How do you act? What do you become? When you give in to happy and positive thoughts, celebrating your life and that of ours, how do you feel, think and act? What do you become?
The experiences are vastly different in the two states of mind. In the former state, we may lose hope, engage in actions and activities that are destructive and harmful to others and us and find it difficult to see or work towards our future/our destiny/our life’s purpose. In the latter state, we think that all things are possible even when all things are not available! We are working with purpose and in purpose. Our future goals/life look attainable and we grow in confidence and happiness. We believe firmly that “all things are possible, in Christ who strengthens me.”
Less than a week after the G-Sat results, there is still much happiness, joy and celebrations for the students who got scholarships and bursaries, and rightly so! They, their parents and wider family circles are proud of their achievement, as they are about to embark on their secondary school journey waiting on that first day with eager anticipation. Some may even be wishing school were already opened! While there is much joy and happiness for those with the scholarships and bursaries, there are also lots of tears and disappointment for some others. The children who got passes, especially those who believed and whom others expected to get scholarships or bursaries, even some students with bursaries are devastated. My little niece, Naomi Didier, expected a scholarship; she had even written his on her board the last day of the exams, and when she got a bursary, she was inconsolable! They feel they have disappointed their parents and failed. Some parents are also disappointed and they may even send the unconscious message that the “pass,” is a sign of their “future of failure.”
I want to say to every little boy and girl who got a pass or who is disappointed with a bursary, and to their parents that you are not “the pass,” and this is no determinant of your destiny. There are so many success stories out of failure. I remember so vividly the day of common entrance results in 1975, I got a pass, and the school principal and teachers were disappointed. I was deemed to be one of “their bright sparks,” and everyone expected me to get a scholarship. They told my father that I was only 9 and had three more chances and I should be made to repeat to get the scholarship. I however was having none of this! I was going to high school and to the Convent High School. The Convent High School also felt I should repeat Grade 6, and when my father was tired of making unsuccessful trips to the Convent High School, he suggested I attend the Dominica Grammar School, however, I was not interested. It was Convent High School for me, and with a few more trips, I guess persistence won, and I was accepted at the Convent High School. While I am sure I wanted a scholarship like everyone else, I don’t recall being terribly disappointed for I knew then that this pass was not who I was and a determinant of my future.
I say to you students, every day, you get another chance to do better and be better. You have five more years at the Secondary School to improve your grades, to rise from every failure and start again and to work towards your destiny and live your life of purpose. I remind you that you are a promise, with a capital P and a great big bundle of potentiality to be anything God wants you to be. A version of the song can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVDxBHVWPds. And after you graduate from secondary school, you get even more opportunities to get things right, to do and be better, to achieve your dreams and live your purpose. You need to ask yourself always, “will this action, word, behaviour lead to the attainment of my goals or detract me from it? You will find that once you have life, you get another chance, and the choice will be yours: will you reject the opportunity or will you grasp it, making the most of it.
I send out a challenge to parents to ensure they always see the promise and possibilities in their children and ensure their children not lose sight of that promise and possibility. Parents often lavish much love, affection, admiration, encouragement and attention on young children and as they get older, especially if they are part of the “rebellious teens,” this love, encouragement and acceptance sometimes give way to disappointment, disapproval, distance and lack of affection. During the rebellious phase, young people may find themselves mired in negative thinking and parents’ isolation may just exacerbate the situation leading to actions that are not supportive of their goals. I was always surrounded by positive words and love and my family, especially my father, even in adulthood, continue to let me know how much they believed in me and my ability to reach for and attain the stars. Parents this is so important for imbuing your children with confidence and faith in themselves and God.
I leave with you those words by Frank Outlaw:
I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel: 767 449 9649.
Until we meet again, May the Lord Continue to Keep Us in the Palm of His Hands!
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what a beautiful message to these young people and parents as well. very powerful words to live by. far too often as youngsters and in some cases adults we allow certain disappointments and set backs control our destiny. notice I did not say failure because to me there is too much negativity associated to that word. disappointments and set backs are part of life, it is what we do after that that determine who and what we will become in the future. I hope that each an every parent who read that message will be able to grasp the full intent of the author and pass it on to their young ones. we as adults can sure learn from it as well. thanks doctor, thanks very much.
Truly inspiring to everyone young and old. Lets all truly re-examine ourselves
You have done it again.. Every child aqnd parent needs to read this. Powerful words.