When we started our junior youth group, we served our community in several ways, so we cleaned the beach, visited the orphanage, distributed food to the poor ...etc. But we did all these services only once or twice, they weren't sustainable service projects. One of the services that we started to do was collecting unused newspapers/magazines from our neighbors and taking them to the few recycling bins we found here in kuwait. This began gradually until it became something we did every month, and it developed to reach three governmental schools in Kuwait. A group of 10 young girls ( 14-17 years old) managed to start organized recycling programs in several schools. Of course, it took us several months of planning, making posters, preparing power points and talking to a lot of people about the environment. Something we learned from experience was that if we want our service projects to really have an affect on the community it should be systematic, sustainable, and it should expand and involve laerger numbers of people. We also faced a lot of problems but we had regular meetings to discuss those problems, share experiences, then reflect and consult. This method of approach has really helped us stay enthusiastic and encouraged all the way. In conclusion, I would like to say that if youth use all the energy and creativity within them in service to humanity, they would be able to MOVE THE WORLD.
We all know that youth today will be the leaders of tomorrow. So it's very important to educate them before they become youth (say age 15 and above). Junior Youth are between the ages 12-15. They're no longer kids but still not Youth. In this critical age they have spacial needs because they go through a lot of changes physically, mentally and psychologically, so they need special attention. Also in this age they have a lot of questions such as: Who am I? What am I doing in this world? and if they don't get the answers they're looking for or the needed attention; they will be dragged by the society, and all that energy they possess will be wasted in all the wrong things such as: drugs, smoking and bad behavior. You can't isolate your children from the society, so what can you do? The junior youth program has been learning a lot about developing juniot youth's abilities and talents. Also, it explore with them the concept of service, and help the junior youth use all the energy they have in something useful. In this particular age the Junior Youth get affected easily by the things surrounding them, so they become perfect targets for media because nobody pays attention to them. Therefore, trying to guide them before becoming youth is very important. When that age is over it's very hard to change them if they choose a path that doesn't benefit them or society. In this age they are always looking for an older figure to look up to, and the animator, who is a youth a bit older than them, can be that role model. So all that energy and unbelievable talent that not many care or know about will be acknowledged.
I mentioned before that I attend a junior youth group. I would like to talk about the changes that I saw in myself and in my friends after attending the group. First I'd like to start by telling you how we were before joining the group. Before, we would talk about topics that didn't really matter or have any imapct on the world. Now, most of our conversations are about world unity, what we can do to help people, wars and its effects, peace, service, education...etc. Before, we'd throw garbage on the ground and we wouldn't really care about the environment. Now, we go places to clean up the trash such as our and the beach. The most important change in my opinion is that we don't lie, curse or gossip as we used to. We know the affects it has on our souls, that it extiguishes the life of the soul . Now, we know the importance of morals and manners. When one of us does something wrong, we always remind each other of the things that we learned in the group, and try to correct our mistakes. We have also become more aware of our spiritual side. We read more prayers and do more services for the community that we live in. Most of us have really developed our talents in drawing, playing sports, playing guitar and singing. We have learned a lot of things and in the same time we have a lot of fun. I can't think of a better place I would like to spend my time at. This program has really changed our lives.
When I look at the world nowadays I see two sides: how it's progressing and developing with all the new inventions and technology and how it's being corrupted day by day. Our youth are being affected by that corruption and, instead of ending it, they are being absorbed by it
and spreading it. When I say corruption I mean the loss of morals and standards. Nowadays, you see children talk back when spoken to, curse, hit and shout. All of this at a very young age. So what will happen when they become youth? I can't even imagine what will happen when they're adults. I think a lot of the problems that we see today are because of these behaviors. So I think we should work on the children and youth before it gets too late.
Children and youth have a very important role to play in the future. They are the future. So what can we do to be good role models to our children and youth? Let's start with children. Most children always like to imitate their parents' behavior. "Practice of sports, nutritional habits and the values of children are often the reflection of their father and mother. Scientific studies demonstrate that children who have inactive parents have a greater risk to have also a sedentary lifestyle." (The The North American Magazine).
It's up to the parents to raise their children in an environment where morals and principles are important. The society they are living in also has a big influence on their children's behavior. Therefore, in our Baha'i community we have children classes. Children from young ages attend and learn good ethics and morals such as: honesty, faithfulness, truthfulness, courage, generosity, etc and learn how to apply it in their daliy lives.
If children attended such classes, it will help them become spiritually prepared to face the challenges of life and not be so easily influenced by the corruption we see nowadays. But, these lessons must be continually taught as the children grow and become youth so that they always focus on what is right. I am a youth and attend classes that assist me on trying to make the right choices. These classes have helped me a lot to see the world in a different way and has helped me realize that we as individuals can make a difference. Even if we affect one person we have made a difference. So let's work together to raise our children and youth according to good morals so that they can make the world a better place to live in.
Peace is a word is a five letter word
People all around the world are dreaming of this word
This simple word gives them hope
If they try, if they work the wars might end
Unity and love might bring some peace
If they work together as one country
Why can't people understand?
When will this discrimination end?
I want a reason I want it now
Why are people killing and dying, shooting and crying
Shouting and screaming, hitting and beating?
I want a reason I want it now
Why isn't peace coming to town?
There are a lot of problems facing the world nowadays like poverty, racism, broken families and many other problems that are well known .
What is the solution? When will peace come? These are questions I always think about. But I realized that thinking about it doesn't solve it. That's why I decided to make a difference in the world by starting a junior youth group so that we could discuss the problems in the world and think of ways to solve them. And one of those ways is by serving the community that we are living in. In my opinion, the most important solution is a spiritual one. And when I say spiritual I mean the development of virtues. Just Imagine the world if everybody was honest, brave, responsible, loving, forgiving, faithful, generous ....etc. I would love to live in that world but unfortunately there is no such world. Maybe not yet but there will be. A lot of people might disagree. They might say it's impossible for that to happen. Maybe one way to contribute in building this new world is by focusing on young people.
I mentioned before that I attend a junior youth group. I am sure you are wondering what that is? This program is called the Junior Youth Spritual Empowerment Program. It's is an educational, ethical, social program specialized for the junior youth. It was established by international educational institutions. When I say junior youth that means ages between 12-15. Youth in these ages go through a lot of changes mentally, physically and psychologically. They're no longer kids but not yet adults. They're are in a critical age where they have special needs. Let's not forget that there is a huge amount of pressure on them from their friends, the school, and the media. So they usually choose the wrong path but this program helps them to build a moral foundation so they can distinguish between right and wrong.
Every Junior youth is gifted and talented in some way. One of the purposes of this program is discovering these gifts and using them to serve the community they are living in. This program also develops the power of expression in youth. It help them think about the consequences of their actions. We achieve all of this by reading books that were specially written for this purpose. Every four weeks we go and do a service project including: cleaning the parks, beaches visiting sick people in the hospital, helping poor people and so on. We also do different activities in the group such as doing different kinds of art and craft, going on trips, playing sports, cooking.....etc. This helps them find any hidden talents they might have to work on developing them.
هناك برنامج يسمى ببرنامج التقوية الروحانية للشباب الناشئ، هذا البرنامج تربوي أخلاقي إجتماعي متخصص للشباب الناشئ، تم وضعه من قبل مؤسسات تعليمية وتربوية عالمية، وعندما نقول شباب ناشئ هذا يعني من سن 11-15 ، وقد تسأل لماذا هذه الفئة العمرية؟ لأن في هذا العمر يمر الشاب الناشئ بالعديد من التغيرات في حياته من جميع النواحي العقلية والنفسية وغيرها، واليوم نشاهد أخطار عديدة ومؤثرات خارجية تؤثر على الشباب بطرق سلبية مثل ( الإعلام، المجتمع، الاصدقاء ) فالشباب اليوم لديهم العديد من المواهب والقدرات التي علينا اكتشافها لكي يخدموا مجتمعهم وأنفسهم، ولهذا البرنامج أهداف كثيرة منها : تقوية وتعزيز قوة التعبير والكلمة عند الشباب، و زرع مفهوم الخدمة لدى الشباب، وتشجيعهم للقيام بأعمال الخدمة لمجتمعهم، وأيضا تشجيعهم على اكتشاف المواهب والقدرات المكنونة فيهم والعمل على تطويرها، و من الأهداف المهمة بناء قاعدة أخلاقية لدى الشباب لكي يميزوا بين الخطأ و الصواب، وأخيرا ادراك عواقب أفعالهم وأقوالهم، وهذا كان باختصار تعريف برنامج التقوية الروحانية للشباب الناشئ. والأن سأتحدث عن تجربتي الشخصية عن هذا البرنامج، عندما سمعت عن هذا البرنامج تكلمت عنه مع صديقاتي وقد أعجبهن البرنامج كثيرا فقررن الانضمام اليه ، اتفقنا أن نجتمع كل أسبوع مرة، وكانت هناك شابة تلقت التدريب المناسب لترافقنا وتساعدنا وهي تعتبر ( المحرك) . فعند اجتماعنا عرفنا أهداف المجموعة وهي : أولا الامتياز المادي والروحاني، وهذا يعني أن نكون ممتازات في صفاتنا وأخلاقنا وأيضا في عملنا عن طريق الاتقان والاخلاص فيه ، ولكن بما أننا في المدرسة يجب أن نكون متفوقات و ممتازات، ويمكن الوصول إلى هذا الهدف عن طريق قراءتنا لبعض الكتب التي تعمل على تطوير أسلوب الحوار والمشورة وتطوير القدرة على التعبير عن أنفسنا وأفكارنا . وهذه الكتب عبارة عن قصص نناقشها لاستخلاص مفاهيم معينة . أما الهدف الثاني فهو خدمة المجتمع ، فكل أربعة أسابيع نذهب لانجاز خدمة مثل : أعمال التنظيف والزراعة ومساعدة الأطفال والأيتام وزيارة المرضى وغيرها. أما الهدف الثالث فهو النشاطات الفنية والرياضية مثل : تعلم الفنون بأنواعها و ممارسة الرياضة وتعلم الحرف والذهاب إلى الرحلات و لعب ألعاب مختلفة