Youth Day

Added: Sunday, 9 August 2009

watch original V-Blog in Persian

August 12 marks International Youth Day and I have a great little story to inspire us. It's the story of my friend's son. My friend and her husband were called to their son's school one day. They were both a little worried and surprised. After all, their kid is the quintessence of gentle. What kind of trouble could he possibly be in? They arrived in school and the teacher began explaining what had happened in gym.

The kids were told to line up in the yard. Each was given a ball and they were then asked to run to the other side of the yard and drop their ball on the line. Ready, steady, GO! The kids began running as fast as their little feet could carry them, but this little boy was faster than the rest.

At this point in the story my friends exchanged a confused looked and wondered where the problem was? He's gifted! God bless! But the teacher continued.

Even though this little boy was faster than the rest, he would slow down, look back and deliberately delay his arrival at the line, so that he could reach it along with everyone else. He would literally sabotage his own advantage in order to make his friends not feel so bad. The teacher then took a deep breath and begged my friends to please teach their son to harness his gift and to use it to his best ability! The others were holding him back!

And now I ask you, dear readers. Which was this youth's gift? Was it his talent for running? Or did this teacher, with all his good will, miss the boy's real gift? The gift of putting others before himself?

If humanity has both the capacity for selfishness and selflessness, if we have both natures in us – which do we nurture and develop? What aspects of our character are drawn out in our current societal institutions and is it doing us any good? Is the world becoming a better place? What could it look like if we harnessed our ability to cooperate?

If Youth Day is about drawing inspiration and vision from our youth – then please, let's draw what we can from the story of this little boy (who's name will probably not remain in history) and his awesome parents, who – thank God – know to celebrate their son's gift for cooperation.

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