Mr Clive Chan, Headmaster

Mr Chan has extensive experience in teaching English to people of all ages and abilities. He returned to Hong Kong after spending years studying and working in Australia. He has taught English in different secondary schools and Business English at a university in Hong Kong.

This is Christmas: Not the presents, not the carols, but the humble heart that receives the gift of Christ.

-        Catholic Link

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.

-       C. S. Lewis

 

Dear parents,

Happy New Year!  I pray that the new year would bring you peace,  joy and hope after an extremely difficult year for almost all people as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Every year around Christmas and New Year, I would meditate on a word in relation to what is happening in the world, and this year the word is HUMILITY, and I would like to share some of my thoughts with you.

Humility is hardly a favourite word of modern people who have been taught since a young age to believe in their unlimited potential, to think critically and independently, to come forward in a fight or flight situation, and to assert rather than give up their rights.  Such mentality has unfortunately bred a generation of self-important people who feel entitled to their privileges, have vague ideas of democracy but reckon their views are always superior, and are more than ready to point the finger rather than admit their wrongs. More often than not, however, I find these ostensibly self-assured people suffer from anxiety and easily sink into depression when things aren’t going the way they desire.  On the other hand, humble people are generally composed and resilient, which prompts me to feel that we should make every effort to nurture humility in our kids.

Lest you should get me wrong, humility, as aptly stated by C. S. Lewis, is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.  From my observations, several qualities would emanate from humble people who think of themselves less.

First and foremost, humble people are wise and discerning.  Like the wise men who came from afar to worship Jesus, they could see beyond the surface to recognize Jesus as the person to whom they would kneel and present the most expensive gifts.  Failing to find Jesus in Herod’s palace, the wise men put their knowledge and wealth behind and saw the extraordinariness in the two-year-old boy living in a modest carpenter’s house.  Their humility helped them to perceive beyond common sense and to know that things aren’t always what they appear to be.  Such sensitivity is a hallmark of true wisdom.

Humble people are also mindful.  Paradoxically, mindful people aren’t self-absorbed at all.  They pay attention to every small detail around them, keenly listen and understand other people’s views and critically examine their own.  Most importantly, they have the ability to identify common aspirations rather than simply pinpoint outward differences, thereby being able to bring about the sorely needed peace and reconciliation among people.

As a result of mindfulness, humble people are generally more resilient.  Without the need to constantly fret about their performance to keep pleasing the audience to stay in the limelight, they can endure disappointments better.  Humble people are acutely aware of human limitations that any perfectly conceived plan could still backfire.  They know what they should be unwavering about is their thoughts and ideals but not the ways things are done.  Such fluidity or gracefulness is similar to what Bruce Lee said about water because water is strong and resilient yet gentle and smooth.

Therefore, contrary to our intuition, humble people aren’t weak at all but self-assured and persistent.  And in a world that is plagued by so many difficulties and uncertainties, we need to teach our kids to become humble active listeners, keen observers and hardy doers who may be better able to cope with the many unprecedented changes in the years to come.

May peace and joy be with you always!


Yours sincerely,


Clive Chan