Saturday, 16 January 2016

Lessons I learned from Taekwondo Part 5

5. Don't play the blaming game

There are times during the tournaments when the result is a draw.How do we determine the winner then? Back then,when I was still practising tkd, the more aggressive player will emerge as the winner. There will always be some happiness here and there, hearing comments like "so-so should be the winner" or "the referees are really unfair" etc.

Well the world is never fair. Or actually, fairness exists , just that due to our ignorance, everything seems unfair to us. But to be more accurate, humans have no rights to talk about fairness with God.

Fair or unfair aside, I thought we should always place our locus of control internally and stop playing the blaming game. In the example of the tkd tournament cited above, both players should be able to gain something if they seriously reflect on their performance.

For the winner, perhaps winning the medal is a close shave, a bonus, but more importantly the win should be a strong motivation factor for him to work even harder so that he is able to win a clear win in future, leading by a few points and not a draw,without any controversies.

For the player who lost, he gained a valuable experience too. And instead of wasting time blaming the referees, he should seriously work on improving his weaknesses, because if he's really that good, he should not only win with a draw.

People like to play the blaming game. When things do not work out, we're really eager to push the blame to someone else, whether in school, at work, or even in our own family. I'm sorry to say but I do love blaming my husband at times, for example if we forget some important things after we went out. I got frustrated at him for being forgetful but neglect the fact that I can do my part for reminding him too.

At work, when problems arise, we point our fingers everywhere but never at ourselves. "I did not meet the deadline because so and so......" or "I can't do this because I don't know how to...." etc. And the leader finally emerges when there is finally someone who is willing to bear the responsibility and work on a solution instead of going round in circles.

My pupils are always eager to know who will be their oral examiners, who set or who marked their papers. When they got back their exam scripts, they'll lament that they fared so badly because the paper was too difficult.When something happens in class, I don't remember having anyone apologise to me because they think it's their fault. They will always throw out a few names, but certainly not their own.

I try to make them understand that as long as they do their part well and are well prepared, it doesn't matter who is their examiner,they'll still perform well. Is the paper really too difficult or are they not up to standard, they have to reflect.Their classmates may be fooling around but it doesn't mean they have to join in the crowd, instead they should help by telling them to stop fooling around and wait quietly for the teacher. It really takes 2 hands to clap.

On a larger scale, we blame our education system for putting so much stress on our children. We blame the system for stripping our children of their creativity. True, there is much room for improvement. Sometimes, I think so hard for a solution but I really have no answer. Either I work my way up to the top and revamp the whole system, which I definitely lack capability and time or I can choose to do my part well, which is certainly easier and much more within my control.

As a mother and a teacher, I can do my part well to inculcate in my children and pupils the right values. My emphasis is never on results but effort. Their goals are not A* or A, they just need to aim to be better than who they are yesterday.

Stress is everywhere, it all depends on how we manage it and where do we place our priorities. Do we really want to join the rat race, we do have a choice. At the end of the day, the winner of the rat race is still a rat, it's pretty sad. So I may not be able to influence the world, but I can certainly influence my children, my pupils or just about anyone around me.

And then we blame our government and forgets to be thankful for what we have. We are leading such good lives that we stop being appreciative. Instead, we want more and more to fill up our bottomless pit. Don't tell me there are so many poor Singaporeans which the government aren't helping, don't complain about people snatching our jobs. Ask yourself if you have done anything else besides complaining. Have you done anything to help those people? Have you ever been grateful for the Singapore that we have today? I remind myself not to add on to the problems by complaining and creates negativity around me.

Be thankful. Don't start to appreciate people or things only when they're gone. Regret is really tough to live with.

Always reflect on yourself because self-reflection leads to self-awareness which leads to self-transformation.

Do have a quiet time with yourself.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Lessons I learned from Taekwondo Part 4

4. No fear in fear
I never miss trainings, rain or shine, healthy or sick (now that I'm a mummy, I know it's actually very irresponsible for me to do this as I'm spreading the virus around. Stay at home if you are sick!)
I enjoyed all my trainings until the moment I was sitting on the bench, waiting for my turn to fight. Fear crept in and I felt a sudden urge to turn and take leave. No, I do not want to fight anymore,I'm scared. I want to go home!

Well maybe the tkd experts who are reading this are laughing at me. Maybe they don't even know what fear is! I'm not afraid to admit that I'm scared. But the important thing is what happened thereafter, did I continue to fight or did I really run off?

The point I want to make is we do not have to be ashamed that we are in fear. The important thing is how we manage fear. Did we let fear cripple us? Or did we let it propel us to greater heights? Well, there were times I lost, I feared because my opponent looked aggressive. I feared because I have lost to my opponent the previous tournament. Those times,I have lost the battle even before I start.

Sources of Fear

Fear stems from 2 sources,lack of confidence and fear for the unknown.
I used to have fear in driving. The idea of me handling this one big machine on the road gives me butterflies in my stomach.Moreover, my driving skills would endanger other people's lifes. Even before I start,I would have nightmares of drivers honking me because I failed to park my car into the parking lot after numerous attempts. And what about the gantry? What if it just refuse to open and cars are lining up behind me??!!!So I did not touch the steering wheel for 10 + years after getting my licence.

To be able to ferry my mother and boys around is the main motivation factor for me to start driving. How do I conquer this fear? Since my fear exists because of a lack of confidence in my driving skills,I would need to brush it up with my hubby's help. When I have done my part,I leave my safety in God's Hands by saying a prayer everytime before I set off.This really does wonders!
What about fear for examinations? We should have no fear for it if we did our part by revising well,instead we would look forward to seeing how well we fare. I always tell my pupils to be 120% prepared so that even when their nervousness affects their performance,they will still be performing up to their usual 100% standard.

My elder boy fears the unknown monsters in the dark.Adult fears about demons and ghosts which do not exists.

How to conquer Fear
For us to conquer fear,we should first find their sources and work out the solutions accordingly. 

Let us learn from Mary, the mother of Jesus. How does she feel when she first knew that God had chosen her to be the mother of Jesus and that she would still be a virgin when she was pregnant? She feared!

Luke 1: 29
But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was

But did Mary run away? Did she take another day to consider? Did she ask "Why me?" Let us look at what she said.

Luke 1: 34
Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”

Mary asked "How" instead of asking "Why", she wanted to know more about the situation so that she can better cope with it. And eventually, she conquered fear with great faith in the Lord.

Luke 1: 38
Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Fear for Death
I assume most of us fear death. I have been fearing death since I was a kindergarten kid, ever since I attended my cousin's funeral who passed away because of her congenital heart condition at a tender young age.

Because of my fear for death,I wanted very much to find out where I will go after I died. Have you ever wonder about it as well? Perhaps it is time for you to find out more about it. 

We always think that we're protecting ourselves well when we buy numerous insurance plans. If God is willing, some people might not even have a chance of claiming their insurances.

But then what about our souls? Have we bought "insurance plans" for our souls? This is even more important because death happens with a 100% probability. In fact, life starts after death, eternal life
We are just sojourners on earth. 1 Pet 2:11

Or maybe you believe that we ceased to exist after death. But how can that be? There must be a reason for our beginnings. If our existence is accidental, then our whole life will be quite meaningless and nothing we do seems to matter. It is our responsibility to find out the answer. 

Death is a beginning, not the end. So, do make full use of 2016 to ponder about this matter.

I will end off with a quote from CS Lewis on atheism.

"Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen, for physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way, this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. 

But, if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It's like upsetting a milk jug and hoping that the way it splashes itself will give you a map of London. 

But if I can't trust my own thinking, of course I can't trust the arguments leading to Atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an Atheist, or anything else. 

Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God."

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Lessons I learned from Taekwondo Part 3

3. Winning is subjective

Does clinching a gold medal mean you have won? Not necessary. If there's a great difference in standards between the both of you, and you win marginally, then you have lost. If you fight in the arena as if you can't wait to get out, then you have lost. If you don't have the courage to attack even though you have so many opportunities , then you have lost. If you have a couldn't care less attitude during trainings, then you have lost. If you don't care about your teammates, then you have lost. If you think that you are the world's greatest because of the medals in your hands, then you have lost. If your coach doesn't even want to see you fight anymore, then you have lost. The list goes on.
The medal is meaningless.

Does going home empty handed mean you have lost? Not necessary. If your coach cheers for you, and even see you as a motivation to continue coaching, then you have won. If you are a novice player fighting a X times national champion and showing no signs of fear, then you have won. If you are fighting the bout with a serious injury yet you persevere till the end with your strong will, then you have won. If you stayed back after every trainings to train your kicks, and everybody can see your improvement, then you have won. If the well being of your opponent is your priority, then you have won. If you see this experience as a step nearer to your goal, then you have won. If you celebrate your teammates' and opponents' successes, then you have won.The list goes on. You brought home something more valuable then the medals.

I always look forward to the reflection session after each tournament, I love writing long reflections to my coaches and then look forward to their replies. To me, words of affirmation from my coach is much more important than the medals or trophies. But each player should also have some awareness of their own performance and not rely too heavily on other people's opinion. I am blessed with a great coach, so it's a different story.

In the arena of life, winning and success are both subjective. Nobody gives me an accurate gauge except for God. As a teacher, I work neither for my principal nor the ministry of education but for God. I aim to follow no one's footsteps but those of the one and only true leader, Jesus. I imagine God nodding and smiling at me with each tiny little step that I take using all my effort.

Galatians 1:10
10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.

No matter how great we think we are, we are nothing without Him. Let us use our talents wisely to serve Him.

Matthew 25:14-30

14 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. 15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. 16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. 17 And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. 18 But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.
20 “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ 21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ 22 He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ 23 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’
24 “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’
26 “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. 27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. 28 Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.
29 ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Monday, 4 January 2016

#Bento 88 - Black pepper grilled salmon pasta with cream miso

I love this cream miso combination, taste pretty special. Used udon instead of pasta because they are just so convenient and easy to cook, they never fail! Omitted cream as stated in the recipe, think just milk and miso will do the trick!

#Bento 89 - Grilled saba with seaweed egg roll

Today is the first day of school and of course I chose an easy bento to assemble. Took slightly more than half an hour to cut, cook and wash up. The seaweed egg roll looks a bit untidy because my non-stick wok sticks! How come?!!!!!

But the most devastating news is hubby lost my favorite Lunchbot lunchbox!! Really upset about it. Sob sob ......