Thursday, September 3, 2009

Frisbee and the Nobility of Humanity

In trying to move deeper about the purpose of our junior youth group, the following quotation from Baha'u'llah became the point of discussion and a few activities:

"O SON OF SPIRIT! Noble have I created thee, yet thou dost abased thyself. Rise then unto that for which thou has been created!" - Baha'u'llah, The Arabic Hidden Words, #22

After saying a few prayers, i took out a frisbee and told them we were going to use it to help us memorize the quote after discussing its meaning and coming to understand how it relates to the purpose of our group and who we are. The frisbee was simply going to be used to throw from one person to the next, each person saying what had been said of the quote already and then adding the next word each time it was caught. The memorization comes from the repetition. Following this discussion, and seeing that it was time for the frisbee, one of the junior youth, who had just turned 12 that day, said the following:

"Oh, I see! We throw the frisbee and it goes down to the ground. Then we have to pick it up and throw it again so it flies!"

Such keen insight into the meaning of the quote that she was able to make the memorization game and frisbee into a metaphor for the very quote we were trying to understand!

This may serve as a reminder of not only a glimpse into the great potentiality of junior youth, but also that every activity, game, project, quote, subject of study, talent, skill, hope, goal, idea, etc. can be directed towards the purpose of junior youth groups. Namely, the releasing of the powers of these young people to help them navigate this crucial stage in their lives and to direct their energies towards the betterment of humanity. In doing so, they will recognize these forces and realities in even the seemingly meaningless.

"Whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth is a direct evidence of the revelation within it of the attributes and names of God, inasmuch as within every atom are enshrined the signs that bear eloquent testimony to the revelation of that Most Great Light." -Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 177

  • Now, dear friends, how can this particular insight shared by the junior youth be channeled toward the service of her neighborhood?
  • As unleashers of the inherent powers of junior youth, in what aspects of her life can we help her apply this insight during the years she traverses schooling and navigates this stage of her life?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Junior Youth Groups: Purpose, Coherence, and Action

The guidance given to the global Baha'i community by the Universal House of Justice - which is developed through the humbly shared learning gained from the innumerable experiences of individuals and clusters throughout the world striving to apply previous guidance from the House - has established for us a systematic process of social evolution capable of leading us into greater applications of the Baha'i teachings and our contribution to the unfoldment of an ever-advancing civilization.

With such increasingly meaningful and conscious contact with the Creative Word, your growing understandings of the Word and efforts to put It into practice in service to humanity, "you will be drawn further and further into the life of the society around you and will be challenged to extend the process of systematic learning in which you are engaged to encompass a growing range of human endeavours. In the approaches you take, the methods you adopt, and the instruments you employ, you will need to achieve the same degree of coherence that characterizes the pattern of growth presently under way" (Universal House of Justice, Ridvan Letter, 2008).

In this light of coherence and growth, the significance, potential, and influence of junior youth groups begins to glow. As the newest core activity, and possibly the most complex, it opens a beaming shaft in the clouds of contemporary social action, social and economic development, and the influence of public discourse. It is at this time in our learning about expansion and consolidation that we are just beginning to see glimpses of how the institute process is bringing us to a point of capacity and coherence to contribute towards the needs of communities - needs articulated by the communities themselves rather than our own vain imaginings. In the purpose of junior youth groups - "in assisting them to navigate a crucial stage in their lives and to empower them in directing their energies towards the service of the advancement of humanity" (Universal House of Justice, Ridvan Letter, 2008) - our growing range of human endeavors will
be particularly addressed by this new generation which has previously been withheld from revealing their own innate gems. We are at the beginning of an unprecedented shift of consciousness not only for the young people of the world, but in the character of the coherent efforts towards the betterment of humanity.

How does the concept of assisting junior youth to "navigate a crucial stage in their lives" shape your efforts in the junior youth groups we are animating?

What can we concretely practice in our approaches to animating that reflect this framework of learning, coherence, and our purpose as animators?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Evolving Vision!


This is the beginning of a blog with the purpose to provide an opportunity for junior youth group animators trained in Ruhi Book 5: Releasing the Powers of Junior Youth to share learning, collaborate, accompany, and progress in our understanding of how to create increasingly effective, inclusive, consistent, and sustainable junior youth groups.

The overarching view, as made clear to us by the Universal House of Justice, is that animators "assist youth to navigate through a crucial stage of their lives and to become empowered to direct their energies toward the advancement of civilization" (Universal House of Justice, Ridvan Letter 2008). It is our hope that this blog may serve as a place of learning how to continually strive towards understanding what this means and to adapt our efforts accordingly.

Not only because this core activity is newer are there challenges that animators face, nor just because of the unprecedented worldview through which animators are called to view 11-14 year olds by the Book 5 materials, nor due to the tremendous changes in the physical, cognitive, and overall capacity of junior youth. But also because junior youth groups are an early glimpse into ways of influencing of the discourse of society, of catalyzing social change and justice, and transforming social and economic development.

So please share your stories, ideas, and learnings, read others’, make suggestions about how this blog can be improved, and follow the ongoing learning happening at the Magdalene Carney Bahá’í Institute!