YOUNG MINDS 13
On Green Fingers and Pink Hearts
The glorious vacation time is here! Particularly if glorious means face-melting temperatures and the threat of another long academic year lurking on the other side of the summer. But we’ll deal with potential threats later and possible alternates to have fun this vacation now! Many of you would have a long list of activities planned while some others would simply be looking forward to watch the fan spin its motor off all day.
While there are a lot of enjoyable things to do over the vacations, the least considered candidates often would be activities that contribute in some way to the community we live in. Not more than a few students would have planned to be a part of a pro-environment group or a bird-watching group. Why is that so? Simply because playing video-games on the cool floor trumps picking plastic off the hot sands in the beach any day!
Getting involved in activities that give back to society in some proactive way does wonders for your mental health! Wondering how? For starters, such activities are quite a change from the kind of things many people (adults included, of course) usually engage in. Imagine that you decide to teach the letters of the alphabet to a boy selling sundal on the beach. The novelty of such an experience contributes to expanding your comfort zone. You may learn to speak in a way so that not just your English-speaking, school-going friends understand you.
Dialogue with different members of the society will contribute to your understanding of their rather different life situations. With time, you will see that not only will your adaptation to new situations and ideas be a lot easier, but your very perception of people and life will widen, making your mind more open and accommodating of difference in thoughts, opinions and ways of living.
Suppose you want to get involved in a pro-environment movement. You will get to meet experts from various related fields such as trekkers, scientists, photographers, doctors, educationalists, and what else have you! You will see that your list of interests grows with the number of new things you decide to try, not to mention your repertoire of knowledge and information pertaining to different issues. You ability to connect what you learn at school to community issues you care about will also develop.
Surely you have heard many professionals who work for the betterment of their community say that the work they do gives their life so much meaning. Such a sentiment stems from the fact that when we reach beyond our private cocoon to other people we feel a strong sense of connection and belonging to a larger human network. We find that we are able to understand others’ emotional and social circumstances better. Such an involvement can inspire us to learn more, give more and do more, which can be a much stronger driving force in our life and careers than simply being ambitious to be the best in something. Imagine the level of service an engineer can offer if he woke up every morning with the drive to create technology that advances living sophistication to all in his country rather than simply wanting to bag an interview in a big magazine!
If you have ever raised your eyebrows sceptically when an inspired soul said “Nothing is impossible”, you will see that they slowly come back down once you realise that every problem has a solution if you want to solve it passionately enough.
Take ownership of the planet you live on and responsibility for the people you live with. Read to an illiterate, go walking with an elderly person, plant a few trees, and leave out water for the thirsty birds to sip on. The list of small, random acts of kindness is long and its power, immeasurable. Happy holidays!
SANGEETHA MADHU & JYOTHI RAVICHANDRAN,
THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS- SCHOOL EDITION