Today, during the youth group we discussed an article about 'Appreciation and Encouragement'. This was taken from Akhand Jyoti, and we talked about the positive impact of appreciation and encouragement, as opposed to the negative impact of criticism and discouragement. The youth were very engaged and spoke of real life stories. They also promised to promote this.
The article was concluded beautifully with the following line;
"Praise is like honey, which fills the heart with sweetness. This sweetness should always be disseminated and people should be appreciated with an open heart".
With the first International Yoga Day being celebrated globally tomorrow, we showed the kids a brief video introducing Yoga & the events that led to 21st June being declared by the UN as IYD. The link to the video shown is;
We rehearsed the performances for Guru Purnima & Independance Day Celebrations, and also discussed the following quote during today's session;
"Focus more on your desire than on doubt, and the dream will take care of itself. You may be surprised at how easily this happens. Your doubts are not as powerful as your desires, unless you make them so".
During today’s Youth Group Session, we briefly spoke about ‘World Child Labour Day’, which was on 12th June. The youth were shown a couple of videos about Child Labour; how many children are affected globally, from what ages, the dangerous environments they have to work in, etc..... The feedback from the youth after watching the video was that the video was very touching and it made them feel grateful about what they have. We discussed how education is the key and how how every child in the world should have the right to be educated.
We spent the second half of today’s youth session rehearsing performances for Guru Purnima and Independence Day Celebrations. We had the music group rehearsing with table, keyboards and harmonium, we had the girls learning a dance, and the younger youth were making flags.
Today’s quote discussed was;
“You can’t always control circumstances. However, you can always control your attitude, approach, and response. Your options are to complain or to look ahead and figure out how to make the situation better”.
Today, the youth group topic was 'Buddha Jayanti'. We discussed the birth of Buddha and what 'Buddha' means (One who is awake). The younger youth created posters with quotes from Buddha, and the older youth rehearsed for the upcoming performance on Gayatri Jayanti.
Also, the following quote was read and discussed after prathna;
"Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy, and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties"
Following reciting mantras, yoga, and breathing exercises, we sang a short Dhun. After reading out SatSankalps, we read a short story and explained to children about sayings like 'walking under a ladder', and 'breaking a mirror bringing bad luck', so that we can explain Satsankalpa number 14; "We will opt for making use of a sensible judgement rather than blindly following the prevailing traditions & customs.
The older children had also taken it in turns to read a story called 'The farmer and a tiger, and following the story, we discussed the moral of the story. It was about how a caged tiger sweet talks and tricks a farmer into opening the cage so he can drink water, but really his intentions were to eat the farmer. A sage walking past overhears the farmer telling the tiger off for being dishonest and helps the farmer put the tiger back into the cage using his own trickery methods. We discussed the moral of the story.
Today was a Performing Arts session. In preparation for the upcoming Gayatri Jayanti celebrations on Sunday 31st May, today we started dance rehearsals, as well as starting work on a play, with the younger youth learning prathna's.
The quote that was discussed today was the following;
“If the parent is a drunkard, a gambler and a cheat, no amount of textbook ethics can cure the sons. I like children and the young innocence. I will not allow them to be blamed. The fault lies wholly on the shoulders of the elders, the parents, and the leaders who shape the norms which they imbibe”.
Today we did the usual prathana's, recitation of the Satsankalpa’s and discussed this week’s quote which was on ‘fear’ and overcoming it. The youth shared some good examples related to everyday life. One of the younger youth linked fear to footballers and how this would impact them in situations like taking penalties.
Today’s session was the monthly music/dance session, but this time we wanted to carry out a brainstorming session with them, so we firstly split the youths in two teams and asked them what they would like to do during these monthly sessions. We had some great ideas like joint singing/ dancing/ instrument performances including the whole class. We hope to adopt these ideas over this semester.
We concluded the session with a couple of short indoor games.
Today we recited various mantras and spent a few minutes afterwards practicing the correct pronunciation of the Mantras. Each youth took it in turn to read out a SatSankalpa and today we discussed SatSankalpa no. 13 in more detail....... “We will regularly contribute a part of our time, influence, knowledge, efforts, and resources for promoting goodness in the world”.
It was very interesting to hear the kind of comments received from the youth. One in particular worth noting from an older youth member said “by attending youth sessions each week, we are actually practicing everything mentioned in this SatSankalpa and she explained why by giving brief explanation. This clearly demonstrated the benefits of our weekly youth sessions!
We also watched two short video clips. The first one explained the importance of the Gayatri mantra, and the other illustrated how God is not visible but present everywhere. It was a bit difficult for the younger youth to absorb, but definitely food for thought.