Good afternoon, dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
First of all, I wish to thank our Education Commission for organising today’s Mass and luncheon, and for of you for your presence, especially those who come from outside of KK. Indeed, such gathering is good because it gives you an opportunity to make new friends, to affirm each other, encourage each other, and strengthen each other’s commitment in education.
Two weeks ago when earthquakes shook Mt Kinabalu and the entire west coast of Sabah, many of us were not aware that on that fateful day, four courageous mountain guides tried to shield the climbers from the falling rocks and were crushed to death. Fourteen other climbers died too. It was indeed a tragic incident.
The death of the four mountain guides has generated a lot of positive comments. They could have run for their own safety as they knew the mountain very well. Instead, they placed those under their care first, even to the extent of risking their own lives. These mountain guides were not highly educated but their deaths have educated many people on what “dedication,” “commitment,” “responsibility,” and “sacrifice” mean. People remember and honour them not because of what they had said, but for what they had done for others. Indeed, as the saying goes, “Action speaks louder than words.”
What has this incident to do with you? I think there is a lot to learn from the mountain guides. All of you are teachers or former teachers. As teachers, your task is to educate those students who are under your care. As I have said during the luncheon last year, “what you teach” is as important as “how you teach.”
The mountain guides taught our society through their heroic and other-centred actions. As teachers, you too can teach your students values which can only be learnt through your actions. When they see you go beyond your duties to help them deal with their brokenness, I think they will remember you for the rest of their lives. There is another saying that goes: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Indeed, if your students feel being cared for, then a strong connection is made through which knowledge can be transferred smoothly.
Being followers of Christ, we are blessed to have Jesus as our best model. He died on the cross in order to shield us from the attacks of the evil one. He offered His life to atone for the sins of the world. Two thousand years later, the world continues to talk about His heroic and salvific actions. As His disciples, we too are called to imitate Him in our own lives. Let us pray to God for courage and wisdom to do so.
Before I end my speech, I am told that in this luncheon, we will witness the presentation of certificates and Noble Award to someone among you who has been recognised as the “teacher par excellence.” I wish to congratulate the individual concerned and thank him for giving so much in the field of education. May he be an exemplar teacher to you all.
God bless you.