Bring home something of Value

Chinese New Year message by Nalanda founder Bro. Tan

It is the time of the year when people are making plans to travel home for the Chinese New Year.  And very often, they buy something that is of value to bring home to their families and relatives.  Many years ago, this happened to a young executive working in the city.  One day she called home and asked her father, “Pa, do you need anything from the city?  What can I buy and bring home to the family for the New Year?”.  And the father told her, “No, no, we have everything at home.  But bring home something of VALUE.”  That day she was busy working and didn’t give much thought to what father told her.

But the next day she reflected and lucky for her, she had a very wise friend whom she consulted, “Strangely, my father asked me to bring home something of value but when I asked him what can I bring, he said we have everything already.  We have enough food, clothes and presents, we don’t need anything but bring home something of value”.

So the friend asked her about what are the other needs of the family and then wisely suggested to her, “You know, something of value doesn’t mean it costs a lot of money.  Something of value doesn’t mean it is pricey.  Something of value doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money to acquire it.  In fact, something of value may not even be purchased with money.  So that set her thinking on “What can I bring home that is of great value to my family and friends?”

Finally, after some profound thoughts, she decided that “something of value” is TIME that she would give to her family, time she’d spent with parents and siblings, the quality attention given to her loved ones.  She decided she is going to bring home kindness and generosity; not just material gifts, but the gift of respect, the gift of her attention, the gift of her sincerity.

Those are things of real VALUE to the family members.  And that year she spent the most joyful time celebrating New Year, having the most meaningful time doing meaningful activities, just because she had brought home something of true VALUE.

Many people would think that valuable things are good food and expensive gifts, but those things bring the family together only to enjoy sensual delights.  Over good food, over all the merriment, over all the singing, many people define that as having a good time and having a good life.

But all of those material things do not contribute to the deepening of family ties and the strengthening of friendship.  Sometimes, after having a good meal, people are still unhappy and dissatisfied.  Even after a good meal, people can still quarrel with each other. It doesn’t contribute to mutual understanding, nor to lasting friendship.

But if you bring home something of value, such as giving your family and friends the time, attention, respect, support, compassion, concern, and assistance; if you give them your help and sincerity, those are the qualities that are going to make friendship and family ties deeper and stronger.  So that was what that young executive decided to bring home: “something of great value”.  So her New Year was not just GOOD, her New Year became GREAT.

Many people just aim at having a good life, thinking that by having a big house, driving new cars and having lots of tasty food, having presents and clothes, that is a good life!  You may have a good material life but that doesn’t mean your life is GREAT.  So instead of having a good life, why not aim to have a GREAT life? And how do we have a great life?

It is by having good character, not good material things, but good VALUES in our character.  Instead of being a consumer of material things, instead of being a consumer of entertainments, try to be a CONTRIBUTOR to other people’s well-being; try to give them all the support, motivation and encouragement so that they become happy, joyful and successful.

Then you’re no longer just enjoying a good life with material things but you’re having a GREAT life because your contribution has made the life of other people more joyful and more successful.  So don’t just have a good life, when you can have a GREAT life.  Don’t be merely a consumer in life, you can also be a GREAT CONTRIBUTOR.

I hope this year, you can consider bringing some gifts back home, and also to bring something of VALUE home.  Give your family members, parents, grandparents, siblings, nephews and nieces, all your extended family members and even friends… give them ATTENTION. MINDFULLY listen to them with compassion.  Be concerned genuinely for their welfare; give them encouragement and motivation.  Be generous with your smiles and kindness, and then you have brought them a very wonderful time.

New Year spent meaningfully makes their lives GREATER, and this makes your life GREAT.  So bring home something of VALUE and may you have VALUABLE TIME spent meaningfully with your loved ones.  Happy New Year everyone.  May you be blessed with good health, peace, success and happiness!