The Future = Our Youth

youth_social-action_creative_productiveIt’s sad to contemplate but too many people’s attitude toward youth is to keep them “seen but not heard”. Anyone who hasn’t tried to really listen  to a young person won’t be able to see any value in encouraging youth to take a prominent role in shaping the future.

In preparation for today’s post, I first considered news items that showed programs to help youth increase their social awareness and improve their ability to be productive citizens.

An article from the Tri-County Times  in Michigan, Enforcing good behavior of students at school, looked promising but seemed to me to sound too much like the sales training classes I used to attend…

Then, there was the article from the Mercury News , Project helps Los Gatos middle school students thrive. Promising information but only about one school in the United States…

I considered doing rather complete coverage of a program, The Virtues Project  (ideas I’m preparing to use in a Junior Youth group in the community I live in), but, blogs being what they are—entities in their own right that can often “decide” what they want and abruptly change the blogger’s mind—, I continued surfing and eventually came back to a site that I’d referenced in my previous post: The FreeChild Project.

I began exploring the many links provided on programs that not only let youth be seen but also Heard. One of them led me to a page that “…showcases a collection of organizations that will provide you with a solid introduction to the world of youth leadership and community involvement.”

Now I was on to something!!

I ended up on a page from Idealist.Org that showcased the following remarkable  kids. They each have founded an organization that provides a valuable social service:

Kristen Thomas, teenager, Alexandra “Alex” Scott, 4 years old, Annie Wignall, 11 years old, Carolyn Rubenstein, 13 years old, Ilana Rothbein, 17 years old, Cody Clark, 12 years old, Craig Kielburger, 12 years old, Emily Douglas, 9 years old, Melissa Poe, 9 years old, Mischa Zimmermann, 13 years old, Jon Wagner-Holtz, 11 years old, Janine Licare Andrews and Aislin Livingstone, 9 years old and 7 years old, Ryan Hrelijac, 6 years old, Joel Holland, 15 years old, Richard Ludlow, 17 years old, Matthew Cortland and Tina Liu, 18 and 17 years old, Jennifer Corriero and Michael Furdyk, 19 and 17 years old, Brynn MacDonald, Jason Crowe, Nadia Campbell, 18 years old, Jennifer Staple, 18 years old, Kimmie Weeks, Teenager, Ocean Robbins and Ryan Eliason, 16 and 19 years old, Lindsay and Brittany Logsdon

“Seen but not Heard?” Heavens forbid!

Spiritual Quote:

“The cause of universal education deserves the utmost support, for no nation can achieve success unless education is accorded all its citizens. Such an education should promote the consciousness of both the oneness of humanity and the integral connection between humankind and the world of nature. By nurturing a sense of world citizenship, education can prepare the youth of the world for the organic changes in the structure of society which the principle of oneness implies.
Bahá’í International Community, 1992 June 06, Earth Charter

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A Merry (?) Christmas

terrorist_doll

Many in the world are buying Christmas presents for their kids…

When I was small, I had a few guns to play with…

Now, kids can have full virtual environments in which to practice killing…

World-wide, people are killing each other and bloggers are reporting and commenting on it. This post’s intention is to wave a flag of warning about what we teach our children. Also, I want to introduce you to Global Voices. In their own words: “Global Voices aggregates, curates, and amplifies the global conversation online – shining light on places and people other media often ignore.”

Here’s a recent post from the site:

Palestine: Terrorist Dolls Not the Best Stocking Stuffer

Thursday, December 11th, 2008 @ 13:47 UTC

by Maya Norton

This post is also available in:

“What could be more enjoyable for your kids this year than a doll resembling an Al-Qaeda terrorist?” asks Palestinian-American blogger Nawal of Bloggin’ Banat.

“It comes fully accessorized too (which is awesome cause that’ll save you money during this financial crisis). It comes with hand grenades, a pistol, an assault rifle and the all too important rocket launcher (awesome, huh?). And just so you know, there’s a Nazi major figure also. You know, just to even out the indignation.”

Humorous and appalling… The doll is made by BrickArms of Redmond, Washington (USA).

The Spiritual Quote below is addressed to mothers but I want to say a word to fathers:

My dad abused me with his tongue but his  father physically beat him. I found this out when I was in my 30s and it helped me release the hate I had for my dad—helped begin a process I’m still engaged in—freeing myself from the influence my father had on me, well before I could use my mind to counter it—to struggle to stop repeating his less than humane mistakes.

May we all give our children the gifts of love, compassion, understanding, and tolerance . . .

Spiritual Quote :

“Let the mothers consider that whatever concerneth the education of children is of the first importance. Let them put forth every effort in this regard, for when the bough is green and tender it will grow in whatever way ye train it. Therefore is it incumbent upon the mothers to rear their little ones even as a gardener tendeth his young plants. Let them strive by day and by night to establish within their children faith and certitude, the fear of God, the love of the Beloved of the worlds, and all good qualities and traits. Whensoever a mother seeth that her child hath done well, let her praise and applaud him and cheer his heart; and if the slightest undesirable trait should manifest itself, let her counsel the child and punish him, and use means based on reason, even a slight verbal chastisement should this be necessary. It is not, however, permissible to strike a child, or vilify him, for the child’s character will be totally perverted if he be subjected to blows or verbal abuse.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 125

Please leave Your  thoughts and feelings in the Comments.
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We’re Killing Our Future . . .

image credit

Just a few quotes gleaned from a web search (all linked to their source sites):

“Nayef Abu Snaima says his 14-year-old cousin Jihad had been sitting on the edge of an olive grove talking animatedly to him about what he would do when he grew up when he was killed instantly by an Israeli shell.”

“After all, who among us is not moved by endless images of dead babies sheathed in blood, body parts hanging by a shred of gristle, with the blank stare of eternity glazing their eyes? What ‘civilized”‘ person secure in their happy world of languid summer days, mall festivals brimming with second-rate food and third rate crafts, concerts on the lawn with wine and traveling minstrels, could not want this distant tribal slaughter to stop, stop, stop this very instant?”

“…the critical element remains the very low value put upon Afghan civilian lives by U.S. military planners and the political elite, as clearly revealed by U.S. willingness to bomb heavily populated regions.”

“…the number of dead … caused by the U.N sanctions that started with Bush I, and continued under President Bill Clinton, whose Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, once described the effects of the sanctions on Iraq’s children as ‘worth it.'”

And, from a site that helps doctors make better decisions:

“All societies attach a different range of meanings to war than to natural disasters, and questions of societal recognition, reparation, and justice are generally central. Most modern conflict has been grounded in the use of terror to control and silence whole populations. Those abusing power typically refuse to acknowledge their dead victims, as if they had never existed and were mere wraiths in the memories of those left behind. This denial, and the impunity of those who maintain it, must be challenged if survivors are to make sense of their losses and the social fabric is to mend. For the names and fate of the dead to be properly lodged in the public record of their times also illuminates the costs that may flow from the philosophies and practices of the Western led world order, ones which health workers should be in a position to influence.”