A New Year, New Beginnings By Sylvia Chua

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. What do people really get for all their hard work? As the Church goes into Ordinary Time, it is fitting to revisit Sylvia Chua’s reflection on Ecclesiastes 3: 1-13.

A time to be born and a time to die.

A time to plant and a time to harvest.

A time to kill and a time to heal.

A time to tear down and a time to build up.

A time to cry and a time to laugh.

A time to grieve and a time to dance.

A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.

A time to embrace and a time to turn away.

A time to search and a time to quit searching.

A time to keep and a time to throw away.

A time to tear and a time to mend.

A time to be quiet and a time to speak.

A time to love and a time to hate.

A time for war and a time for peace.


What do people really get for all their hard work? I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. So I conclude there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labour, for these are gifts from God.

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-13

Perhaps no one profession relates to these verses in Ecclesiastes 3 as well as the teaching profession. These verses ring loud and true in each year that we work with students under our care. We gently ‘tear down’ the ego, and build up the character. We embrace and love the hurting child and we sometimes turn them away so they can learn to be independent. We know there are times to be quiet and times when we need to speak up.


We are merely instruments in God’s orchestra. Of course there are times when we despair at the seemingly unteachable child and bemoan the ‘burden’ we bear. Yet we are reminded that God makes all things beautiful in its own time. Our influence and impact on students is seldom seen while they are in school. Many blossom years after they leave us and often come back to remind us of the moments when we said or did something for them.

So at the beginning of this school year, let us commit to enjoying ourselves as we carry out our responsibilities and carry our crosses! We trust that God will send us the help we need to reach out to the children He has placed in our hands.

Ms Sylvia Chua
Adjunct Teacher
CHIJ St. Theresa’s Convent