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IN THE CANDID CORNER – Workman’s advice

Matthew Farley

IN THE CANDID CORNER – Workman’s advice

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When things go wrong, as they sometimes will, When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill . . . Rest if you must, but don’t you quit. – Author unknown
On June 22, I had the distinct pleasure of addressing the graduation ceremony of the Workman’s Primary School at the Valley Resource Centre. The theme that was chosen for the address was Following In God’s Footsteps As We Journey To Success.
Firstly, let me congratulate the principal and staff for the very good work they are doing.
I shared eight guidelines for following in God’s footsteps as they move on to secondary school. The first footprint in which the students were advised to plant their feet firmly was that of hard work. The biblical reference was made to remind them that by the sweat of a man’s brow he should eat bread.
According to the Basic English Version, “with the hard work of your hands you will get your bread”. As St Paul said in his letter to Timothy in The Bible, they were told to fight a good fight and finish the course. The first footstep or guideline on your journey to success is that you must work hard if you will succeed.
The next footstep that the 24 students were advised to follow was that of obedience. The simple instruction was that if you will succeed, you must obey in a number of ways.
First, obey the laws of nature. The basic law requires that you eat; if you don’t eat you will die. Not only must you obey the laws of nature, but you obey the laws of the country or you could be charged and if found guilty, prison will be your home. At school you must obey the school rules.
The second footstep on your way to success is to obey!
The students were told that they could not be successful unless they were responsible. People who do not understand how to be responsible will never succeed to their full ability. Jesus has no time for people who are not responsible. The message is that if you want to be successful you have to be responsible.
The students were told that kindness is the next footstep in which they must firmly plant their feet as they journey towards success. Sometimes in schools among very young children much unkindness is evident: unkindness in what is said to one another and in what we do to one another.
A classic example of this unkindness is the practice of bullying, about which many parents are concerned and which many students fear. People who are unkind throughout their lives die miserably, and die a painful and lonely death. If you are kind to others, success will follow you.
In Luke 6:31 we read: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
Your fourth footstep as you journey to success is kindness. Plant your feet firmly in the footprint of “kindness”. Not just for school, but for life.
Manage your time and your resources. A lot of poverty exists because people do not manage their resources. Your time is your most valuable resource.
If you use your time wisely, success is guaranteed.
Not only must you manage your time wisely, but any other resource with which God has blessed you. Your possessions, your money, save some. Do not spend all buying junk and fast foods that are harmful anyhow.
The sixth footprint in which you must plant your feet as you journey to success is your attitude. It is your attitude that will determine your altitude. It is the attitude you adopt as you approach all aspects of your life that will determine your level of success.
In other words, with the right attitude you can achieve anything. The right attitude is one of the important footsteps in which you must plant your feet firmly as you journey to success.
Have a never-say-die approach to all that you do. Success escapes many young people because they give up easily. When the going gets rough and things seem difficult, that is when you must stick to it rather than quit.
There is poem whose author is unknown which says: “When things go wrong, as they sometimes will, when the road you’re trudging seems all uphill . . . . When care is pressing you down a bit . . . rest if you must, but don’t you quit.”
Seek God’s guidance and set the right goals for yourself. Successful people know very well that to accomplish anything, they must seek God’s guidance and set the right goals. In Matthew 7:7 and 8: “God has promised that if you ask it shall be given; if you seek you will find; if you knock it will be opened to you.”
In fact, The Bible gives the assurance: “For everyone who asks receives, he who seeks finds and to him who knocks it will be opened.”
The eighth footstep in which you must firmly plant your foot is to seek God’s guidance and set the right goals on your journey to success.
As students across Barbados experience graduation, may they never leave these fundamental principles – not just for school, but for life.
Matthew D. Farley is a secondary school principal, chairman of the National Forum On Education, and a social commentator. Email [email protected]