As the Ismaili Muslim community in the United States prepares for a special event, the national community has mobilized rapidly and strongly. In the past 48 hours alone, various teams handling different aspects of the event have pulled together, started meetings and webinars and sessions for members of the community. They have put together schedules and timings and roles and responsibilities. It is absolutely amazing to see the huge amounts of effort that everyone is putting in to make this event a complete success.
Before things get crazier than they already are, I have been taking time to reflect on the upcoming occasion. Seeing the way in which my community comes together to work with each other and the excitement with which members of the community give up sleep, time and energy to help one another is inspiring, to say the least. It also makes me think about the power that a community like this can have on its youth. A 7 year old boy approached me after a session I conducted last night to talk about how he was going to volunteer for this upcoming event and was excited to be a part of it. I can only imagine how many other youth are caught up in the excitement and the opportunities they have to participate.
If a religious community can have this power to empower its youth to express themselves and serve one another, I wonder what could happen if a school community came together in a similar way. Whether for a large event or just on an every day basis, I wonder how students’ perspectives would change and how much more engaged they might be in their school community. When it comes to bringing this excitement and engagement into a school, a few thoughts come to mind:
- All people in the community need to come together
- Everyone should be given a chance to participate in some way or another
- Any communication within the community should begin with excitement and gratitude
- Adults should act as role models, not only during the time of an event but at all times, to provide youth with a different kind of education, one that impacts how they live their lives
- The thoughts and ideas of youth should be taken as seriously as those of adults
- Families should be involved in encouraging and empowering their children
- Teachers should share their enthusiasm constantly in their classrooms
These are just thoughts that have come up over the past two days. I’m excited to see where the next few weeks take my community and how other communities, whether religious or social or academic, bring together the members and empower our youth, the future of our world, to live up to their potential.