PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 May, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 05 May, 2008, 12:00am

Be patient and calm

When I was a child I dreamed of becoming a social worker. I always felt proud when I was able to help someone in need.

As I grow up I have discovered that helping people is not as easy as I once thought.

Most people who are really in need do not want to share their unhappy experiences. Successful social workers are patient and calm.

I remember seeing an old man who refused help from a social worker.

She spent a long time trying to communicate with him but he didn't seem interested and he stubbornly, if politely, rejected her assistance.

She persevered for a long time before he eventually agreed.

Whatever your dream, be sure to pursue it patiently and calmly. It may be more complicated than you think.

Tinky Kwan Shuk-mui, SKH Bishop Baker Secondary School

Secret angels

My school organised an activity called 'Secret Angel' recently.

The aim was to give students and staff a chance to show that they cared about others.

The activity was divided into two stages. The first, which was conducted in class, was held last week.

When we arrived in school in the morning, we looked in our drawers straight away to see if the angels had given us a letter or a gift.

More often than not they had and we all enjoyed receiving them.

It gave us a really good chance to learn to show our love and support to others.

The second stage is this week.

Our task is to return all the love and care that we received last week by giving letters and gifts to others. I'm sure that we will all benefit.

Wai King-lam, Shun Lee Catholic Secondary School

Is it good to be an only child?

In the past, families had lots of babies because children could help work in the fields, look after their parents in old age and provide financial security.

There were no effective birth control methods then and the infant mortality rate was much higher than it is today.

It's different now. Many parents prefer to have only one child because of their financial circumstances.

The idea of being an only child sounds great. They have privacy, space and the undivided attention and generosity of their parents.

However, in reality, the life of such children is not so perfect.

They tend to be spoilt and selfish. They find it hard to interact with others and don't develop an appreciation of values because they get everything they want.

Children who grow up without siblings can also feel very lonely because they can't share their happiness or sadness with their brothers and sisters. Their parents work long hours, so they only see them at weekends.

Besides, parents often have very high expectations and want their child to be top of the class, gain admission to university and work in a large, successful company.

An only child can feel very stressed and under tremendous pressure to succeed.

I think children are better off in families where they have brothers and sisters.

Katie Yang

Part-time jobs

There is a new trend among young people to take part-time jobs in Hong Kong.

Some educators believe these jobs have a negative effect on the teenagers.

Part-time jobs obviously affect academic performance. If students work, they will ignore their studies. Consequently, the relationship between the student and the school can deteriorate.

On the other hand, there are benefits of having a part-time job. Teenagers can learn communication skills and about society outside school, meet lots of new people and broaden their perspective on life.

Moreover, when teenagers work, they soon realise that earning money is not easy. They start to appreciate how hard their parents have to work and they treat the money they earn with respect.

Part-time jobs have both benefits and drawbacks for young people.

However, they can provide a good introduction to the world of work.

Roy Yu, Pentecostal School

The benefits of exams

Most students would love to have examinations abolished.

They point out that exams are a great source of mental pressure, require a lot of preparation, and cause agony for many students as they wait for the results.

However, exams are a wonderful tool for learning. They force students to pay attention, teach them to study efficiently at high speed and encourage accurate reading and comprehension of textbooks.

When exam results are announced, they let students know how well they are progressing in their studies, identify areas where more work is required and give feedback on teaching methods.

If you approach exams with a positive attitude, you will realise how much they can help.

Chiu, POCA Wong Siu Ching Secondary School

Avoid conflict

Many parents work round the clock. They don't come home until late at night when their children are asleep.

The two generations seldom communicate.

A lack of communication can lead to conflict. And if conflict becomes a pattern in the family relationship, tragedies can take place.

Parents and children should work to improve the way they communicate with each other.

There is no instant way to improve family life, but active communication definitely makes a difference.

Carmen Wong, Precious Blood Secondary School