CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 18 May 2019

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The persistence of a child

Grandaunt Kitty
 
Do you believe you could finish reading 51 books at the age of five and make a report for each story and complete this in about four months time? 
 
Believe it or not, this true story happened to young Hailey Koon who, after receiving her favourite blue-coloured exercise book from her grandaunt on 12 December 2018, set a goal to read 50 books before she turned six. 
 
She wrote down her intention on the first page of the book saying she would reach her goal before 10 May 2019. 
 
She immediately started reading two books and made an illustration as a report for each story which helped her to recall their main points. 
 
To cultivate the habit of effective reading, Hailey’s grandaunt took her to the public library to learn how to select simple and easy books, about eight to 10 pages long; to read Chinese and English books and make reports right after reading; and to bring books home of her choosing. 
 
Although everything was in place for this project, little Hailey’s passion seemed to wane after completing the 15th book. To encourage her, her grandaunt journeyed with Hailey by also reading 50 books and making reports. She also promised a special prize if Hailey could hit her target. 
 
Despite advising Hailey to keep work and play in balance, there was not much progress in her reading after February 1. So on March 18, Hailey’s helper was asked to assist, as both her parents were busy at work. 
 
On March 25, the helper reported that Hailey had made progress and WhatsApped her illustrated reports. By April 2, Hailey had finished 40 books. The Holy Spirit seemed to fill her heart. 
 
During this time, Hailey’s mom helped. What a good steady speed!
 
On April 10, Hailey’s spirit was high as she hit 45 books. Nine days later, on April 18 (Holy Thursday), Hailey not only completed 50 books, but had read a 51st book. 
 
Upon seeing her winning photos, her grandaunt thanked the Lord for making Hailey’s dream come true. What a nice Easter present for grandaunt! Hailey also noted that grandaunt had completed reading 50 books before April 18. 
 
Upon receiving her special prize for this reading project, Hailey was so happy that she drew the number 51 with the golden coin chocolates. She wanted to let the world know she could exceed our target. Little Hailey never realised her persistence could really pay off with the collaborative efforts of her family and the helper. 
 
Thank God for sending little Hailey to speak to me. 
 
First, during this four-month period, I did as little Hailey did by reading the same number of books and making the same number of reports. This echoes what Jesus says the gospel according to Luke (6:13), “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” 
 
When walking together, both Hailey and myself had the same, clear goal. 
 
Second, while I was at a loss to identify the best reading assistant for Hailey, the bible verse from Matthew 7:7—“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you”—flashed in my mind. I did what it said. I asked the loving helper for her assistance and opened the door for Hailey to continue of the reading project. 
 
Third, when I was doubtful and wondered if I should give up on the project after intermittent periods of no progress, a strong affirmation came to me: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. And do not lean on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). 
 
It proved to be true as Hailey’s persistence was back on fire after constant reminders and encouragement from her family members. This was really beyond my understanding. 
 
Finally, when I was struggling with doing and giving in balance for little Hailey, a quote from Mother Teresa’s struck my heart: 
 
“It is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the doing.
It is not how much we give, but how much love is put in the giving.”
 
Yes, when the task was filled with love, all my struggles melted away. 
I am most grateful to God for granting this wonderful and successful experience to little Hailey who completed her reading 22 days ahead of schedule. 
 
What a coincidence that the 50th book was the Chinese homophone of May 10, which is Hailey’s birthday. 
God has perfect timing, never early, never late. 
 
It takes a little patience and a lot of faith, but it is worth the wait. 
 
 
 


Thank you to the Risen Lord! 
Hallelujah! 
26 April 2019