|Sat May 25 @14:00 - 04:00PM|
A few days ago, I had the pleasure of addressing a group of teenagers as part of a global youth leadership intiative. Amongst the many issues discussed was their plans for the future. Surprisingly a large number had no clear idea on what exactly they would like to study/do in the near future or where they would like to see themselves in the next 5-10 years.
Those who knew what they wanted to study found it very difficult to substantiate their choices. Reasons for choosing their respective career paths ranged from, "My parents would like me to study medicine" & "Most of my friends are doing a (Commerce/Marketing/HR etc) degree" to "It's an easy way to make money". Most, if not all agreed that the only possible step to take after matriculation would be studying at a tertiary institution,and there is nothing wrong with this.
What is particularly worrying is the fact that the option of learning a trade,attending a technical college or pursuing a career that would rely on their innate creativity & talent had never been explained to them. Not a single attendee answered with "That's what I'd love to do/study". It is cause for extreme concern that very few children choose to do something they love; something they will look forward to doing; something they would do with passion,commitment & selfless dedication.
Many children have been moulded into believing that success = lots of money. They are prepared to study something they don't even like or may not be good at just so that they can arrive at this warped definition of success. Please let me clarify that there is nothing wrong with making lots of money, there is something wrong with believing that lots of money will bring you fulifllment,validation etc. Too many children are 'choosing' career paths which are in reality the choices of their parents & teachers. Too many children are being forced to live the dreams of others.
Is it fair for children to grow up with the knowledge that the adults of society will generally only respect those who are straight-A students? What option do we give the child who does not display proficiency in the subjects we believe are necessary for success later on? Are schools meant to just work through a syllabus or are they meant to nurture creativity,inspire dreams & equip our children with a defined sense of purpose of life?
May we celebrate the successes of the child who excels in Mathematics and may we also continuously look at ways to inspire the child who doesn't yet know what his/her talent is.
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by Abu Muhammad
The other evening I posed a question to my 12 yr old daughter. I asked her what she would do if she was in charge of her school and was tasked to make a change to pupils lives.
Her response was interesting to say the least.
She said she would firstly hand out the school rules to the kids (& formulate the rules if they didn't exist). She would make sure the kids were familiar with the rules together with the punishment for trangressions. She would then get the team of teachers to strictly enforce them. She went on to cite the case of her cousin who attends an "ex white" girls high school in Durban. There discpline is strict and the school runs smoothly.
Coming from my daughter, who like most teens are the "anti-rule" type, this was real food for thought.
Now this is not rocket science, but are we as schools making the pupils aware of the rules and are strict in enforcing them?
Finally, Nasrudeen traveled to the palace of the sheik to seek the wisdom of the royal gardener himself. But alas, Nasreddin had already tried all the methods the kind old man recommended to him for eradicating such troublesome weeds.
Silently they sat together for a long time. At last, the royal gardener looked at Nasreddin and said, "Well, then, the only thing I can suggest is that you learn to love them."
The garden of life is very similar. Life very rarely works out the way we want it to. We often find ourselves saying "the time/situation is not right" or "I didn't expect things to turn out like this" as a way to excuse ourselves from trying harder to achieve more. We eventually become content with allowing our potential to fade away into oblivion. We blame others,our past,our present situation,our finances etc. The fact of the matter though, is that leaders are who they are because they have mastered the simple art of using what they have, to get what they don't have.
The perfect situation/time/person/opportunity doesn't exist. You will never have all the talents you would like to have,nor all the wealth,nor all of anything for that matter but you will always be blessed with what you need in order to realise your true potential. Work with what you have & capitalise on your talents;nobody else will do it for you.