Personalized Notes

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ

Prelude! Months ago, I came across an article about the power of personalized notes from a teacher on one of her students, saving a soul of wanting to end her life. This true story deeply touched my heart and strongly engraved in my memory. Why? I identified three reasons why these Personalized Notes matter to me. First and foremost, I am also an educator like Darass, the young teacher in this story. This story makes me realized that, in touch with a caring soul and act on it, one could be saving other peoples’ lives. Second, as an educator myself, I have endless opportunities to meet young people who hail from various walks of life with a broad range of academic performance. People from the academic world, sometimes,  extremely care only the academic performance of students and the performance of educators. They overlooked that students nor educators are robots. All of us have lives. We have ups and downs. When we’re in a good life, we love to share. But when we’re in the down life we (might) need help or at least kind ears to share the story without prejudice or a pat on the shoulder. Third and finally, I am a human too. Sometimes, I do feel that life is hard to bear but chose to keep it a secret and prison myself in a damp dungeon. However, at the same time, I also wish that a right person–someone with a genuine kind soul, would reach out and pull me out from the self-prison.

What is Personalized Notes? Personalized notes is a tool in the Interpersonal Communication that could help to facilitate one to materialize his/her self-transformation. Why these Personalized Notes special? These notes are unique to learners. According to Darass (in the story), ‘… how each of us needs to realize that every human being is unique.’ These notes contain heartfelt messages how much he/she is loved, missed and appreciated. Also, they could also contain heartfelt messages on the strengths and potentials for successes in life.

As an educator, I believe this tool is a treasure to inspire a learner to realize his/her potential. Sometimes, young learners need a little bit push from their educators, like “you can do this, I believe in you.”  Since educators are authority figures and role models in young learners, words from them–spoken or written, are significant to them. Every word utters from educators’ lips or pen or keyboard matters to these young learners.The same way, one or more words inspire them to make achievements, ugly chosen words could tarnish or kill their spirit.

What Personalized Notes can do to learners? Crafting personalized notes are meant to be inspirational and motivational strategies that promote positive self-esteem development in learners. These notes contain heartfelt messages that trigger and nurture deeper awareness of how important they are, their contributions’ matters, their strengths make a difference, as well as their future potentials and achievements. These handwritten messages are believed would be able to boost the self-esteem and fuel energy for persons to strive for their future success. Moreover, for those who are in a deep struggle with conflicts, these messages would be able to gently reach out to a ‘drowned person’ to swim up to the surface of hope.

 

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How do these Personalized Notes work? These heartfelt messages must be handwritten in StickOn Note for instance,  by the educator to give a powerful personalized effect. But most importantly, before that, the educator needs to personally get to know each of their students in a meaningful way.

When to hand in the Personalized Notes to your learners? Knowing the best times to give the notes are also essential to fully realize the power of Personalized Notes. The educator can write the notes to a student in crisis as what Darass has done. Darass also handed her personalized notes before her students taking their final exam. In addition to what Darass has practice, I would say, regular feedbacks on the students’ performance before they sit for their final exams, would also be one of the best times to pass the personalized notes.

In general, I believe that ‘the when question’ is referring to at any points that an educator can convince or persuade the learners to change or consolidate their decision-makings for positive outcomes in their lives. Departing from this statement, I believe academic performance is not the only thing that matters learners or students lives.

How I could make a change with Personalized Notes? I will craft personalized notes to my learners and those who I care and love, InsyaAllah. I am going to write them messages that trigger their imagination of their successful future and nurture their strengths to overcoming barriers in learning and struggling life. I would never know whom lives I would be able to save unless I commit myself to this simple gesture, writing a Personalized Notes to someone lives that matters.

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The Art of Happiness

Happiness is An Art (Al-Qarni, 2005). It is important that at any point in life one has to achieve happiness. In the state of happiness, one operates with a clear state of mind and it allows one to be productive.

 

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Why Al-Qarni identified Happiness is An Art? How one can learn to be happy? After reading Al-Qarni, I found three ways that one can learn to be happy. The same means can be exercised to preserve that state of happiness.

First, happiness is an art that needs to be learned. One has to develop the ability to endure and to cope with any situation is a the fundamental principle for this art of learning. The heart can’t be swayed nor be controlled by big calamities and challenges in life or by insignificant trifles. In simple words, one needs to self-train to be patient and forbearing. In long run, she/he would easier to bear and manage the hardships or calamities. In addition, Al-Qarni also emphasized that a purify heart facilitates the development of this ability and coping mechanism.  One needs to pursue this exercise in life until the ability to endure and the coping mechanism become her/his second nature.

Second, happiness is a state of mind. Bridle one thought and restrain it. This is also one of the fundamental principles for the art of learned happiness. Al-Qarni warned that if 0ne let his/her mind to wander as it wish, then the mind will run wild and control his/her. By the way Al-Qarni explained, I have this understanding that our brain–our mind, has its own life and its own wants. Thus, we should have control to our brain and don’t let our brain control us. If we failed to do so, as described by Al-Qarni, our brain will walk us to the past woes, remind of misfortunes, images of past difficulties, images of uncertainties of future that is so frightening etc. All of these thoughts could shaken our beings and flare our thoughts.

Third, happiness is the ability of a person to value life according to its merit and worth. Basicly Al-Qarni said that life is imperfection. Misfortunes, calamities, challenges, insignificant trifles are all natural life events equal to happiness, opportunities, achievements etc. One cannot remove oneself from all remnants of grief, as they are natural life events. One way to ‘turn-away’ is to learn value them for its merit and worth. Re-label and reframe them in positive outlooks in our life context helps use to value them for its merit and worth. Since we’re in the belief that happiness is acquired by the practice of learning, Al-Qarni said, happiness is acquired by assuming it. He suggested a simple method, practice happiness through your lips! I mean practice happiness by learning to smile. Make smiling your second nature. Constantly smiling. Find reasons to bring genuine smiles to your lips. Any reasons will do. Even though it’s hard (I know, I hardly can deny this), one has to force oneself to smile in every situation. While I’m writing this, I’m smiling. Somehow, with the smile in my lips, I found my heart and mind are uplifted. Surprisingly without any reason too. It works for me!

In conclusion, a state of happiness is an essential condition for one to have a clear mind and productive regardless of life situations. Don’t take heart with life situations, they are all natural events to reality. Three means to gain the Art of Happiness suggested by Al-Qarni (2005) that the state of happiness could be learned, one has to control and manage his/her mind and gain the ability to value life according to its merit and worth.


 

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Talking with the Sky

I couldn’t stay home that day. I had one look at the bluish sky with its cotton white clouds drifting away. From my study window and sliding door, I saw them. I knew it. Feeling unbearable, I can’t stay home. My heart was aching! Aching to devour the bluish skies out there … To feel the strong wind, to listen to the fluttering leaves as the gush of wind passing through them over and over them. To celebrate the freedom that I have in my soul. And wanting to be closer to nature. To be in nature. To touch the life. Alhamdulillah Yaa Allah. Yaa Rahmaan. Yaa Rahiim.

At one point while standing the strong wind, tears were so close to my eyes.  There was a growing feeling of how grateful I am.  To own two eyes that differentiate colors of nature. To possess two ears that allow me to hear the sounds of nature that I come to love.  To own a heart, that calmly beating the same pace as nature’s heart. To own a soul to feels the blessing. The nature seems to understand how  I felt. The strong wind subdued, leaving only the soft one touching my face with a silky touch but light as feathers. As if telling me, We appreciate you join us at this moment. Alhamdulillah Yaa Allah. Yaa Rahmaan. Yaa Rahiim. فَبِأَيِّ آلاءِ رَبِّكُمَا تُكَذِّبَانِ

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Return to the moment … there I was, with the camera at hand at the green garden. Standing the wind. With the two lenses. Undecided which one to give priority to. I truly had to make a decision. Life is all about making decisions. Don’t you agree?

Feasting my eyes on the greener carpet grass compares to early spring. The beautiful flowers and plants in front of me. Dancing with the wind that sometimes soft sometimes hard. Lost in thoughts. My brain was still thinking about how should I continue to write to express what I truly want to say on the journey …

Life is Unfair?

At one time, my chest suffocated

I felt life was unfair to me?

Look again at that life

Look again

Then, I didn’t get it; I looked again

That unfair life brought me to this journey

If let me alone, I will never choose this path

Then, when I looked again and again

Then, I listened to my heart again and again

Then, I listened to the echoes of voices in the past again and again

That unfair life added more breadth to my dull days

That life added new people

That life opened doors of delightful opportunities

That life brought me to endless new lessons to comprehend my life better

That life forced me to choose what I needed rather what I want in life

I feel Life is unfair to me?

Look again at that life

Look again

Through the wiser lens, I am not regretting this life now

My soul speaks by itself, Which then, the favors of my Lord will I deny?

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