Follow your heart to happiness
It is said that God prepared a gift called ‘happiness’ for every human being. But God did not want it to be too easy for people to receive this gift; otherwise, they would not value it. The little angels thought long and hard about where happiness could be hidden from people. God told them: ‘I can think of one place. I want to hide the gift inside in each human being. They will find it through hard work and realize that happiness is hiding inside of themselves.’ The angels agreed heartily, and following God’s orders, they quietly hid happiness inside of each child.
With my Zhongyi studying in Pao School for 5 years, I have discovered that the school’s whole-person educational philosophy allows my child to find the happiness God has hidden in him!
One of the things that has impressed me about Pao School is how the school encourages children to participate in extracurricular activities without imposing any strict requirements. For instance, Zhongyi is not an outstanding swimmer or singer, but he has joined the swimming and choir teams. At the interviews for those activities, the teachers asked Zhongyi: ‘Will you stick with it’? As long as a child at Pao School is serious about an extracurricular activity, enjoys it, and is willing to persevere, he or she can have an opportunity to participate.
Teachers at Pao School emphasise the importance of commitment, and this has left a deep impression on Zhongyi. When he first tried out for the swim team, he did not make the cut. He trained as a member of the second team, and later made it onto the YK Pao Elite Swimming team. At the end of last semester, Zhongyi represented Pao School in a number of swimming competitions, earning gold medals and receiving the most valuable player on the aged 15 and above team. My child worked hard to achieve these remarkable successes in swimming, and learned the true meaning of ‘no pain, no gain’. He trained tirelessly, waking at 5am daily, when most of his classmates were still asleep. Swimming has given him tremendous personal satisfaction, and it has also made him a better team player. He and the other Pao swimmers experience both failure and victory together. The shared experience forges a true camaraderie between them.
Singing in choir, Zhongyi has evolved from a music lover into a music ambassador. Indeed, he teaches mentally disabled children in Changning District how to sing. Zhongyi became inspired to do this after he began participating in extracurricular activities in a local school for the disabled. There, he realized that it was difficult for mentally impaired children to communicate. Singing can help break down the distance between these children and others.
Zhongyi has developed a wonderful friendship with an autistic child. As a result of this friendship, he has learned to be more sensitive to the feelings of others. His autistic friend is sometimes quite disappointed if Zhongyi does not have time to meet him. Zhongyi has learned how to explain things that may be disappointing to his friend in a way the boy can understand. Thanks to straightforward – if sometimes awkward – conversations, their friendship is deepening.
Joining choir has been an overwhelmingly positive experience for Zhongyi. Even when he is busy, he always makes time to sing for autistic children two to three times a month. During summer vacation this year, Zhongyi and some friends went to Guizhou to do some pro-bono teaching. He and his friends introduced choir class into the curriculum, and over just 10 days, the children made great progress. They sang their hearts out, discovering the joy music brings to the human spirit.
To explain the meaning of ‘education’ in the English language, some theorists find in its Latin roots two ideas: ‘out of’ and ‘bring forth’. Combining them, they say to educate means to ‘lead forth’ or ‘to extract out of’ the best in mankind. According to this explanation, all knowledge is inherent in children.
Pao School’s educational philosophy strives to discover a child’s latent virtues and bring them forth, leading the child to enrich his or her knowledge, freedom and beliefs. At Pao School, children do much more than study: They develop enduring interests outside of the classroom, and may even discover what they want to do in their future career. Ultimately, whole-person education teaches children how to find long-term happiness. By following one’s heart and living life to the fullest, one becomes a valuable member of society. For this precious contribution to the personal development of children and that of society as a whole, I thank Pao School from the bottom of my heart, and wish the school and all of its students the greatest success in their endeavours