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Monday, January 16, 2006

Starting Point

By Umm Farouq Cook

Every generation sparks new hope. The freshness and vitality that
belong to the period of life commonly called ‘adolescence’ is a human
phenomena. New ideas, zeal for change, hope for a brighter future – all
this and more. This most precious phase of life should therefore be used
to the maximum. Each epoch has its troubles, corruption and problems to
overcome. But isn’t it strange how every generation thinks their
problems are more significant and more complex than the previous generation?
Well, here we are today, and we have our own challenges to face. The
youth are at the starting point – like so many runners lined up waiting
for the signal to begin.
This is the time to start! There is no time like the present. The
point is, how to begin? Sometimes people spend their whole lives at the
starting point and never make the initial surge into action. They stand
around, scratch their heads in confusion, blame others for inactivity
and then, do nothing. People live and die and have achieved nothing
worthwhile in their lives. Don’t be like that! Look around you. You will see
the many abilities you have, the opportunities, and the resources
(apparent and sometimes hidden).Be determined to do something worthwhile in
your life. Don’t be downhearted when you see the problems of life
because really, such problems have existed since the beginning of time. They
may take on different forms, but basically they are the same problems.
Life appears overwhelming at times and sometimes in a fit of
confusion a person might say to themselves, ‘It’s too much!’ ‘What good can I
do?’ ‘I’ll never be able to change the problems of the world!’ Well,
the response to the above questions should be, ‘Yes, perhaps it appears
to be too much.’ ‘There is something good you can do.’ ‘Of course,
you’ll never be able to solve the problems of the world.’

But this is the starting point. Use all that vitality to put yourself
in order. But don’t misunderstand because ‘putting yourself in order’
is a lifelong struggle. Make it a daily habit to analyze yourself, your
words, actions and your goals and make sure you are heading down the
straight path. That means, performing your prayers on time, reading
Qur’an everyday, being good to your family, neighbors and friends, and being
a problem solver not a trouble maker.
When all that is in order, you are ready to begin. Make a list of
your interests and another list of what you think you are good at and
still another list of what you would like to be good at, then design your
activities.
From the list that contains your interests you can do activities that
are pleasant and satisfying for you – things that you like. The list
that contains the things you are good at has the things that you can
share with others. Find ways to share the knowledge, skills and information
you have. And finally, the things you would like to be good at are the
areas where you can take classes or meet with people who can help you
to upgrade your own personal skills. You can make these lists with some
of your friends. Any activity that is done in a group is more rewarding
and such things help people get to know each other better. You may find
there are things you all have in common – things you did not know
before!

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