Appreciating life – The little things mean a lot

Ajay Bhai Amrit during the prefect induction ceremony at the Fiji School for the Blind in Suva. Picture: SUPPLIED

Bula readers! This week I wanted to write about “appreciation” and how this may be a very under-used word in today’s busy social media, tech-savvy and information age.

When I think about appreciation my mind goes back to a couple of years ago, just before the COVID-19 pandemic, when I was asked to be the chief guest during a prefect induction ceremony at the Fiji School for the Blind in Suva.

I have been humbled and very appreciative to be requested to become the chief guest at many different types of functions, from large schools to small kindergarten facilities to religious functions etc, all of which I am very grateful and thankful.

Looking back at this event, it was not the largest gathering of people or even the best hotel or most expensive and extravagant venue that I appreciated being at, in actual fact it was being in a small non-air-conditioned hall with happy and energetic students which really won my heart.

I remember this day well, as the atmosphere and the love that filled the room was something very special. I am not sure if anyone else felt that way, but for me, I was placed in front of the most amazing children that God has placed on this earth.

Their laughter, happiness and spirit are a joy to behold and this is what lit up the hall and made this occasion so memorable for me.

The children were there for a very special reason that day, and that was to receive their prefect badges, which would enter them into the privileged position of being firstly responsible in their duties and secondly, becoming leaders in their school.

As I went to the lectern to make a small speech I had noted down on a piece of paper, I decided to discard the paper and speak from the heart.

This day was very special to me I told them, as at their same age and when I was in school my dream was to become a prefect, but it seemed whatever I did or however hard I tried, I just couldn’t reach this status.

I also told them, that this dream wasn’t to be for me, but today I stand in front of students who have achieved what I never achieve and that was the position of being a distinguished prefect.

In fact, I told them I appreciated them, very much for taking me back in time to remember my school days and also remember how simple life was back then.

All I needed was a loving heart from my parents and simple goals in life, some I achieved and some I didn’t and becoming a prefect was one of those goals that was beyond me.

That day the prefects I had the honour of badging were simple and loving students, but what they did for me was more than they could ever imagine.

They made me appreciate them and their achievements that day. They also made me appreciate life as a whole and how many people have come along and helped me on my own journey.

Also, we cannot forget the hardworking and companionate staff which is made up of administrators, teachers, admin staff and support staff, without these wonderful souls there wouldn’t be a school of this magnitude.

As chief guests we come and go, but it is these special individuals who are the backbone of the society, where full respect and appreciation should be bestowed upon them.

The majority of us pass through life not appreciating the people who have brought us along on this journey, from the midwife when we are born, the teachers who foster love to us through our formative years, our friends, our families and loved ones.

I remember all my schoolteachers’ names from when I began school at five years old all the way through my educational life. I remember my friends from such a young age who moulded me into the person I am today.

I remember all my families who have encouraged me and told me that I can achieve if I believe it is possible. Above all this, I remember and appreciate my parents, who worked hard to give us a stable and loving environment to grow from.

As a parent myself, I try to give that same environment to my children and teach them to appreciate every day as they journey through their life.

If there is one gift, I would like to pass on to them that would be to have friends and neutral.

If you are friends with someone, continue the friendship, if there is someone you may not feel so friendly with, have them as neutral, but never have hatred for anyone. As the famous saying goes, “having hate and anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die”.

Finally, my friends always remember, life is short, so have love in your heart and not hate, and also remember to appreciate people for even the little things they do in life. Adios and take care until next week.

• AJAY BHAI AMRIT is a founding member of The People’s Alliance party and is also a freelance writer. The views expressed in this article are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of this newspaper.

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