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The best things in life are free

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The best things in life are free

WHILE adjudicating an English Public Speaking competition among secondary school students in my district recently, I was impressed by the participants when they delivered an impromptu speech on “The best things in life are free”.

They were given only four minutes to prepare. The time for delivery was not more than three minutes. One or two barely spoke while a few others could not manage more than two minutes. But the vast majority spoke for three minutes with confidence and conviction. I was impressed by their  maturity of thought and language proficiency.

The topic was dealt with in a variety of ways, depending on their interpretation of it. They spoke about the air we breathe, the sunlight we bask in, the free gifts we get when we make certain purchases during promotions and being free to make their own decisions. They talked about their family, relatives and friends who add value to their lives. Even the smile was mentioned as a wonderful gift which costs nothing but is able to brighten people around us. The better ones spoke about life experiences that make you a better person, and memories of loved ones, though gone but not forgotten. And they included humour, which helped douse, albeit for a while, the rather tense competition atmosphere. All of this comes free in our lives. I couldn’t help but agree with all of them.

Are we aware of these gifts? And do we appreciate them?

More often than not, we take our families for granted. We don’t see the need to thank our parents for their sacrifices and the good things they provided us with. We send SMS or WhatsApp birthday greetings rather than call because we are too busy. Try surprising your parents by going home for their birthday. What a difference that would make!

We don’t see the necessity of showing appreciation for our siblings. We don’t see the need to apologise for our shortcomings. We let our ego take the better of us. We hardly value friendships, and become fair weather friends. Friends are easily forgotten during their bad times.

Even the environment is not spared. Nature is tampered with to satisfy our greed and excessive needs.

At our workplace, we find it hard to smile although it costs nothing. We are too preoccupied with work. We are more concerned about position, product, quality, timelines, meetings, reports and performance. It is difficult to show appreciation for our colleagues and subordinates.

It was heart-warming to note that our present generation could speak so well on the given topic and so fondly about the positive things in our life. Never mind the fact that it may have been said in the context of a competition.

Well done, boys and girls. It was a great experience, joy and gift for me, and it came free!