In celebration of the International Year of the Family (IYF), NDP 2014, together with Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), has launched a Big-Hearted Family Awards contest to appreciate and recognise acts of service by those within our community!
“What is the International Year of the Family?” you may ask.
Well, IYF was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1994 to celebrate the importance of the family. IYF is officially celebrated once in ten years and 2014 (that’s this year!) is its twentieth anniversary. The core values underpinning IYF 2014 are love and respect, commitment and big-heartedness, which strengthen the foundation for a strong and closely-knit family.
So when I was asked to support this initiative, it sounded like a wonderful thing to be a part of. What I had to do was to nominate someone for the “Big-Hearted Family Award“. Basically, that entails submitting a story of a person who is big-hearted and made a difference to others. To encourage participation, both the nominators and nominees stand a chance to win NDP 2014 actual and preview tickets too. What a cool incentive – everyone should go join now before it closes on 16 June 2014.
I scrolled through the many stories on the site, and thought this was a lovely way of acknowledging the unsung heroes amongst us. These nominees might not be famous, or have significant means from which to make multi-million dollar donations such that schools and hospitals are named after them. But in their small way, in their everyday life, they have been consistently big-hearted. And daily make a difference to others.
Isn’t that what true kindness is? The humble spirit of giving out of the little that one has.
Indeed, the widow’s two pennies, quietly snuck into the offering bag, are of much greater worth in God’s sight, as compared to the showy offerings of the man who prays loudly in the street corner.
|Beautiful skies last week – a reminder of goodness.|
So, as I was mulling over who to nominate, a friend came to mind. Zhiwen is probably one of the most big-hearted persons I know. Always cheery, and looking out to help others. He certainly has a heart for the disadvantaged in society, and has chosen the path less travelled, as compared to his peers.
One gesture that I remember, was how he used to help ferry a toddler from Batam to Singapore, and then back again, so that the toddler could visit his dad.
Life is often complicated. This toddler lived in Batam, where his mum is, but his dad was in Singapore. Both parents couldn’t travel for various reasons, so Zhiwen decided to help. Once every few months, he would board the ferry to Batam, bring the little boy over (with letters certifying that he was authorised to do so of course) and after the boy visited his dad and family for a few days, would ferry him back again to Batam.
Zhiwen was not related to him in any way either. I guess those who were have enough difficulties trying to make ends meet that such an exercise was not possible for them.
It is such little things that are done by those with big-hearts that make a difference in our world today. There is so much that is wrong with our fallen world, which I guess translates into so much potential to make things a bit better, if only we open our hearts to doing so.
Most of the time, we are consumed by the rat race, which is after all, aptly named. Beyond stocking up what moth and dust will destroy more quickly than we imagine, I guess the greater challenge is to be willing to step back. To say, I do have enough, and to content ourselves with the so-so-much that we all actually have, instead of constantly devising how to amass more.
To look around instead, to sensitise ourselves to those who are truly in need, emotionally or physically, and to seek to brighten their lives a little, even if it’s just from giving them a little smile.
The very fact that we are reading this on a computer or mobile phone, shows that we have so much more than those in need, who might be struggling from broken families, or disabilities that keep them from holding down a job. The National Council of Social Services has a fundraising portal, where you can make a small contribution, to care for our community, and to lift up the downtrodden.
Make a difference today.