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Old 02-14-2016, 07:14 PM   #1
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Phases of youth involvement with the Baha'i community

I have decided to restructure the six paragraphs pertaining to youth from the December 29 message from the Universal House of Justice into a chronological list of phases of youth involvement within the Baha'i community and core activities. My goal is to provide Baha'i youth and Baha'i agencies with a study guide that enables them to compare the ideal model of youth involvement with their own experiences within their respective communities.

Brackets ([example]) indicate where words were altered or eliminated in order to adapt the sentence structure for the list-form presentation. An ellipses (...) marks where a sentence originally continued in the official letter, but has been shortened for brevity. All other words are taken directly from the December 29th message by the Universal House of Justice. Readers are encouraged to use this as a study guide to the letter and to read the original letter during their own deepening of the new Five Year Plan.

The list:



An adaptation of the 29 December Message section, Releasing the potential of the youth, into a chronological list of phases whereby a youth becomes involved in the Cause of God

1. Young people become aware of the contribution they can make to the improvement of their society.

2. As consciousness is raised, [youth] increasingly identify with the aims of the Bahá’í community…

3. [The youth] express eagerness to lend their energies to the work under way.

4. Conversations along these lines kindle interest in how the physical and spiritual powers available to them at this time of life can be channelled towards providing for the needs of others, particularly for younger generations.

5. Special gatherings for youth [bring] an intensity to this ongoing conversation…

6. [E]xploration of spiritual [themes, such as the] importance of “doing”, of arising to serve and to accompany fellow souls, [are] harmonized with the notion of “being”, of increasing one’s understanding of the divine teachings and mirroring forth spiritual qualities in one’s life.

7. [H]aving been introduced to the vision of the Faith for humanity and the exalted character of its mission, the youth naturally feel a desire to be of service, a desire to which training institutes swiftly respond.

8. [Youth support each other,] coming together in groups to engage in further study and discuss their service, to reinforce one another’s efforts and build resolve, looking to ever extend the circle of friendship more widely.

9. The encouragement [offered by] a network of peers provides young people with a much-needed alternative to those siren voices that beckon towards the snares of consumerism and compulsive distractions, as well as a counter to the calls to demonize others.

10. [T]he junior youth programme reveals its particular value at this time. It offers the youth an ideal arena in which to assist those younger than themselves to withstand the corrosive forces that especially target them.

11. As youth advance along the path of service, their endeavours are integrated seamlessly into the activities of the cluster, and as a consequence, the entire community thrives as a cohesive whole.

12. [Baha’is reach] out to the families of young people [as] a natural way of strengthening community building.

13. Institutions and [agencies increase] their own capacity in order to find ways of systematically realizing the potential of the youth.

14. With a greater awareness of this age group’s circumstances and dynamics, [agencies and institutions] are able to plan accordingly…

15. The infusion of energy from a vibrant band of youth allows the tempo of the work within the cluster to be accelerated.

16. [As youth] advance further into their twenties, their horizons broaden. Other dimensions of a coherent life, equally demanding and highly meritorious, begin to make stronger claims on their attention.

17. For many [youth], an immediate priority will be further education, academic or vocational, according to the possibilities before them, and new spaces for interaction with society open up.

18. [Y[oung women and men become acutely conscious of the exhortations of the Supreme Pen to “enter into wedlock” that they may “bring forth one who will make mention of Me amid My servants” and to “engage in crafts and professions”.

19. Having taken up an occupation, youth naturally try to contribute to their field, or even to advance it in light of the insights they gain from their continued study of the Revelation, and they strive to be examples of integrity and excellence in their work.

20. This generation of youth will form families that secure the foundations of flourishing communities.

21. [T]heir growing love for Bahá’u’lláh and their personal commitment to the standard to which He summons them will [lead to] their children [imbibing] the love of God, “commingled with their mother’s milk”, and always seek the shelter of His divine law.

22. [T]he responsibility of a Bahá’í community towards young people does not end when they first start serving. The significant decisions they make about the direction of their adult lives will determine whether service to the Cause of God was only a brief and memorable chapter of their younger years, or a fixed centre of their earthly existence, a lens through which all actions come into focus.
 
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