On July 19, 2017, the West African Examination Council released the provisional results of the 2017 May/June West African Senior Schools Certificate Examinations. As usual, some students passed and others failed. Some also had their results withheld for alleged examination malpractices.
This is not the time to kick students who failed while they are down. It is time to lift them up. It is time to tell them they can do it. It is time to provide encouragement and support.
Failing an examination is not the end of the world. Failure is not always bad. Sometimes, we should look at failure as the spice that sweetens success. If you have not failed before, you do not fully appreciate success. Anyone who has not failed before, has probably not tried enough. If you settle only in your comfort zone and avoid challenges, you may not experience failure, but you may also not achieve your highest potentials. Failure can lead to self-assessment and a new and better direction.
Many successful people have failed at one time or another. Some failed their examinations. Others failed in their marriages, parenting, businesses, careers, or occupations. Whatever the area, the important thing is to pick yourself up, examine what went wrong, and try, try, try again. Do not let failure define you. You will succeed in the end if you do not give up. For example, Mr. Maxcy Filer, a California lawyer, failed the California Bar Examination 47 times, but passed on his 48th try. Do not give up. Google it or check it out at http://articles.latimes.com/1991-05-31/local/me-2739_1_test-bar-exam
All of us need or can use some encouragement at some point in our lives. This is particularly true with young people. They may be overwhelmed by the many issues that confront young people these days. They need to be encouraged that they can achieve success eventually if they avoid panic when they fail, stay calm, and work hard.
While he did not need any encouragement, Jesus benefitted from his mother Mary’s encouragement on one occasion. As recorded in Chapter 2 of the Gospel according to John, Jesus and his disciples were invited to a wedding ceremony at Cana in Galilee. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was also at the wedding. When the wine finished, Mary informed Jesus that there was no more wine. Even though Jesus was at the wedding to celebrate like the other invited guests, Mary saw an opportunity and encouraged Jesus to seize it. Jesus initially hesitated, not wanting to get involved at that time. He was not prepared for that public display of his miraculous powers. The mother persisted and told the servants to do whatever Jesus told them to do. Jesus told the servants to fill some jars with water, and after they did so, the water turned into wine, a much better wine than what was originally served to the guests.
Mary had faith in Jesus. That faith was based, in part, on her personal relationship with and knowledge of Jesus. Mary knew a lot about Jesus to know that he was a special person with great potentials. She knew that the angel Gabriel told her that she would conceive and have a child and the child’s name would be called Jesus. She knew that when Jesus was born, wise men came to worship and give him gifts of gold, incense, and myrrh. She knew that God spoke to her husband Joseph to take the child to Egypt because King Herod was seeking to kill him. She remembered that when Jesus was 12 years old, she and Joseph took him to the Feast of the Passover in Jerusalem and on their way back Jesus was not with them, so they went back searching for him and when they found him at the Temple and questioned him, Jesus asked why they were searching for him since they should have known that he would be at his Father’s house.
Mary’s personal knowledge of Jesus Christ was helpful to her. We, too, should develop a personal relationship with and knowledge of Jesus Christ so that we can increase our faith in him and seek him in both good and bad times. We, too, should know our children well enough to appreciate their talents, strengths, and weaknesses so that we can encourage them appropriately.
If you are a student, include prayer and Bible in your syllabus. If you are a business person, a worker, or professional, include prayer and Bible in your business plan or career plan, as the case may be. Knowledge of the Bible, correctly applied, increases faith. Therefore, pray, study the Bible, and get to know Jesus in order to develop a personal relationship with him. Then, when things do not seem to go right, go to him in prayer, wait on him, and do whatever he tells you to do. Do not rely on “quick fixes” of going to someone else to pray for you. Develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and let him direct your path. He can turn your failure into success.
Life is a journey with many stages. Each stage presents its own challenges and opportunities. You may pass one stage, and someone may fail that stage, but that person may overtake you later in life. Therefore, do not gloat and look down on others when you pass a particular stage. Glorify God with your successes, and encourage others to also succeed.
Failures are usually small bumps on the road to success. However, some failures bring disappointment, loss of confidence, and shame. That is why we do not see many people celebrating their failures or spreading information about them. We need to be sensitive to them and bring out the best in those who have failed. We can also advise them to go to Jesus to renew their knowledge, replenish their stamina, and restore their confidence such that they would be more determined and better equipped to succeed than before.
Whether we fail or succeed, all of us can benefit from some encouragement to take us to the next level. Many of us have the capacity to do more than we can imagine. Like Jesus at the wedding, all of us have some talents, but sometimes it takes others to discover them for us, or to encourage us to put what is already known to appropriate and timely use.
Therefore, a kind word, a pat on the shoulder, a little push, a constructive advice, a helping hand, a word of prayer, and a blessed assurance that all shall be well, will go a long way to boost morale and increase many people’s chances of success. Mary, the mother of Jesus, encouraged her son Jesus and it worked. We, too, should do the same for our children, families, friends, and others no matter how many times they fail.
Prayer is the key. May God grant us the grace to seek Him daily through our prayers.
Dr. Daniel Gyebi, Attorney-at-Law, Texas, U.S.A., and Founder, PrayerHouse Ministry, Kumasi, Ghana.
PrayerHouse Ministry is dedicated to providing a quiet facility for Christians to pray individually by themselves without any intermediary priest, pastor or any other person. This is a free service. No money is demanded or accepted. One facility is located at Kyerekrom / Fumesua, near Building and Road Research Institute Offices, one mile off the Kumasi-Accra Road and next to a house called Grace Castle. If you are interested, please contact Agnes at 027-7423815. Another is located at Kantinkyiren, at the junction of Kantinkyiren and Konkori, off the Kumasi-Bekwai Road, branching left at Trede junction. Contact Kwadwo at 020-8768461 / 0246-989413.