Character + Intelligence // 品德 + 智力
Christine Ma-Lau felt a stirring to turn to a career in education but she wanted to teach the next generation on good character as well as intelligence. So she looked to the best educator and leader – Jesus Christ – on how to start her learning center, JEMS.
Christine Ma-Lau心頭上有意去開展她的教育事業，但是她想教育下一代不只要具有好的智力,還要有好的品德。所以她以最好的教育家和領導者 – 基督耶穌 – 為榜樣去摸索怎樣開始她的學習中心 – JEMS。
What’s the concept behind JEMS (and its curriculum)? How did it start?
Educating children is so important but so much of the education provided today is on academic achievements and skills attainment. I really wanted to be able to provide education that is truly important – on character and values – to complement what is currently being offered. Martin Luther King Jr. once said “character plus intelligence – that is the goal of true education”. If we’re just educating children to be smart without teaching them right from wrong, how to make decisions, how to build relationships and contribute to the community, we could just be raising a selfish and arrogant generation.
So when thinking about who is/was the best educator and leader, I look to Jesus. Jesus is the best leader in the history of this world – he turned the world upside down in 3 years! I searched through Scripture and three things struck me about how he taught his disciples:
1）He told them their IDENTITY, told them who they were and how they should make decisions.
2）He helped them build RELATIONSHIPS with Himself and each other.
3）He brought them to serve the COMMUNITY and showed them how they should change the world.
Taking those three concepts, we formed a vision to see children know their identity, build strong relationships and be a positive contributor to their community – a Junior Excellent Member of Society (JEMS).
教育孩子是非常重要的，但是現今很多提供的教育只在乎于學術成果和技能水平。我很想有能力去提供非常重要的教育- 就是在於品德和價值觀的課程 – 去補充現代教育所提供的。馬丁路德金曾經說過：「品德和智力才是真正教育的目標。」如果我們只是教育小孩子要聰明而不教他們分辨是非、怎樣去作決定、怎樣去建立關係、怎樣為社會作出貢獻，我們只會培養出自私自大的一代人。
憑著這三個概念，我們建立了一個願景去教導孩子認知他們的身份、建立牢固的關係、成為一個在他們社區裏的正面貢獻者 – 一個年少的優秀公民。
How and when did you feel the personal calling to start JEMS?
I have always had a passion for educating children but I felt God lead me to start JEMS in 2008. I had taken 3 months off to really seek the Lord for the plans He had for me in my life. I believe that there are GOOD things and then there are GOD things and I really wanted to find out what God wanted for my life. I had told friends that I wouldn’t do anything until God told me what it was and a week into my prayer time, I started getting worried thinking “what if God doesn’t tell me for ages?” But about a week later, God started speaking to me through books, people and prayer times and stirred up in me my passion for education and in particular, for character education.
In what ways has JEMS/your career experienced challenges and blessings from God?
I think it’s the time of challenges that God’s blessings shine the brightest. God’s hand was always and continues to be on this mission but it’s the times when things got tough that God really revealed Himself to me. As an example, I found it very challenging to find a location for JEMS. I had looked at a number of venues and none of them seemed right – too small, too big, too far, too dark. Then one day, I opened my prayer journal and dared to ask God for big things. I wrote down 10 criteria for the place I was looking for detailing location, size, price, layout, etc. and everyone thought I’d get 8 out of the 10 criteria at the most but a couple weeks later, I walked into the place where JEMS now stands and it fit every single one of my criteria. Now that has to be an answer to prayer!
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career?
I’ve learned that you have to know the purpose in what you’re doing and be passionate in doing it. For me, being passionate means believing in what I do and loving every child who comes through our doors. I would have to be honest to say that there are good days and there are not-so-good days but every day, I need to focus on the fact that this is God’s project. On a good day, I thank God and on the not-so-good ones, I remind myself that God called me to this and His grace is sufficient for me.
Where do you hope to go with JEMS from here?
I hope to go wherever God takes me!
Image credit: flickr.com/oter