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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The Losers of Every Battle . . .

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This post was written about the Georgian conflict but the message applies to the Gaza conflict as well…
> Use this link to see all our posts about Gaza <

Wars are fought for many reasons but they can’t protect the civilians in the cross-fire. The Georgian conflict is purely political—adult children fighting over land and prestige.

From the International Crisis Group: Human Cost of Georgian Conflict “The number of civilian casualties has yet to be independently established. Moscow claims 2,000 people were killed. US-based Human Rights Watch has said this cannot be independently verified.”

From the Los Angeles Times: Georgian refugees’ plight is grim “The Georgia-Russia conflict is estimated to have displaced as many as 100,000 people, many of whom are yet to receive any aid.”

From the Kansas City Star: Amid the chaos in Georgia, Missouri doctor perseveres “Trish Blair, the founder and president of the nonprofit ACTS International, has been helping the people of Georgia since 1992.
“The refugees will need medical care, she said in an e-mail.
“With a decision that has simultaneously horrified her friends and made them proud, the former trauma surgeon chose to stay.”

If you believe in a Life after this one on Earth, you must wonder how the people killed in war are received by those who passed on in comfortable, serene surroundings.

Some believe that death is birth into the Next Life—graduation from this school that tests and develops our virtues.

To those left behind, children with no mother, mothers with no children, the anguish is not easily abated by thoughts of the reward their dead have received—their escape from thismortal coil . . .

“Ye observe how the world is divided against itself, how many a land is red with blood and its very dust is caked with human gore. The fires of conflict have blazed so high that never in early times, not in the Middle Ages, not in recent centuries hath there ever been such a hideous war, a war that is even as millstones, taking for grain the skulls of men. Nay, even worse, for flourishing countries have been reduced to rubble, cities have been levelled with the ground, and many a once prosperous village hath been turned into ruin. Fathers have lost their sons, and sons their fathers. Mothers have wept away their hearts over dead children. Children have been orphaned, women left to wander, vagrants without a home. From every aspect, humankind hath sunken low. Loud are the piercing cries of fatherless children; loud the mothers’ anguished voices, reaching to the skies.
“And the breeding-ground of all these tragedies is prejudice: prejudice of race and nation, of religion, of political opinion; and the root cause of prejudice is blind imitation of the past — imitation in religion, in racial attitudes, in national bias, in politics. So long as this aping of the past persisteth, just so long will the foundations of the social order be blown to the four winds, just so long will humanity be continually exposed to direst peril.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 247

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Being a Man . . .

kids-stuff-30.jpg

My good friend, Brandi Magill, inspired me greatly with her blog post—such inspiration that I must post this poem !

If

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;

If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with triumph and disaster

And treat those two imposters just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,

And stoop and build ‘em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breath a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!

– Rudyard Kipling