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Sheeba was rushing home hurriedly after her tuition. Mother was waiting eagerly to receive her. On seeing her daughter at the end of the street, she mixed sugar in a cup of hot milk. Entering the house, Sheeba called, “Mummy! Mummy! Where are you?” Her mother answered, “I am coming my dear. What is the matter? You seem to be very excited.” Handing over the cup of milk, she asked, “What lessons did you study today?”
Taking the cup in her hands Sheeba placed it on the nearby table. Removing her school bag from her back and pushing it into the shelf, she said, “I will tell about that after sometime, but first listen to what my class teacher told me today” she exclaimed. “Out of forty students, she has selected seven students for a poster competition. I am one among them. I was very very happy when my name was announced. Mama! You must help me get the first prize.” Taking the cup back from the table she gulped it hastily.
Mrs. Solomon patted her daughter tenderly and said, “Very good! So, you are one among the selected seven who are going to compete for that prize. I am very proud of you my dear child. What topic have they given you?” Sheeba’s heart was bubbling with joy. She tapped her forehead and said, “Oh! I forgot to tell you that. They have given three themes and we have to choose one.” Taking a shabby, squeezed piece of paper from her uniform pocket she straightened it. It read as follows.
1. Pollution Prevention
2. Drug Abuse
Giving the paper to her mother, she said, “Tell me which one to select, what can I draw? Shall I do this or that?” Sheeba was sendig arrows of endless questions to which her mother did not respond. Instead she smiled thoughtfully at her daughter’s enthusiasm. “My dear, there are seven more days in hand. We can think about it on Saturday. Now it is time for your dinner” Saying this she walked towards the kitchen. Even after the family prayers, Sheeba was still lost in the thought of winning the prize for the poster competition.
As promised Mrs. Solomon went out shopping along with Sheeba. They bought twelve lovely poster colours, three big brushes and a bright blue chart paper form the shop. Carefully carrying all these things Sheeba and her mother returned home. Then the practice session began. Sheeba tried many attempts until she became confident of painting the poster with the hope of winning the prize. The competition day came. Mrs. Solomon prayed seeking the Almighty’s help to bless the efforts of her dear daughter to win the coveted prize. Mrs. Solomon encouraged her saying, “Don’t be anxious dear, do your best and God will do the rest. I am sure you will win the prize.” These words were like apples of gold in settings of silver (Proverbs 25:11). (If you are a parent, remember your words can make or break your child. Beware!) The competition was over and Sheeba was awarded the first prize. Her joy knew no bounds. Truly the words of her mother had worked wonders. Sister Mary Lobo, her class teacher hugged and kissed her while handing over the certificate along with a cash prize of Rs. 5000/-. The teacher said, “Gifted as you are, I pray to God to enable you to use all your talents to become what God wants you to be. May this New Year bring peace, joy and challenges for you. God bless you dear.” These words of appreciation made an everlasting impression in her heart. They were to mould Sheeba into her future form. Then the class teachers called out the other six students, hugged and kissed them too. She told them, “Never quit until you win the prize next time. Grab any opportunity that comes to your hand.” Their sad sullen faces suddenly became bright. Turning towards the class, she said, I want each one of you to exhibit your talents.” All the forty students approved nodding their heads. These thoughtful words made sister Mary Lobo’s class the best among all other section and she was selected as the “Best Teacher” in her school. Remember our words can also work wonders in us and in others. Try to make your words like apples of gold in settings of silver. People around us need our expression of genuine appreciation.
(Let us begin this New Year like Mrs. Solomon (a mother) and like sister Mary Lobo (a class teacher) Proverbs 12:25; 16:24; 15:23; 18:21; 10:10; 25:11). Let us make it a point to genuinely appreciate at least one person a day from this New Year.
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