Some of the most formative years of a person’s life are between the ages of 12 to 25 years. Negative peer pressure, exam pressure, emotional turmoil from life-changing events, among many other challenges, makes this a particularly difficult period. It is also during this time that lasting impressions and belief systems are formed. We shape our world views, our approaches to problems, our personal likes and dislikes through our experiences during these years.
It is therefore critical at this stage in development that youth receive the right tools and guidance for their present and future. Part of our work in spiritual transformative education is to equip youth with the life skills they will need for a bright, well-balanced life. Whilst schools and colleges provide a certain kind of knowledge and understanding, there are many life skills that are not adequately addressed in the Indian education system.
Some of these include:
• Interpersonal and people skills
• Time management
• Decision making
• Public speaking
• Increased creativity
• Self confidence
• Indian value system
Our children and youth programs address their unspoken and unmet needs through a combination of modern training methods and lessons from ancient Indian thought.
Some of the modern methods we use, particularly in communication and self-empowerment, include tools such as the ‘sandwich technique’, ‘supportive technique’, ‘compassionate technique’ and ‘sensitive technique’.
Underpinning all of these techniques are self-explorations and self-initiated growth based in Indian spirituality and thought. Using the method of the ‘Nava Rasas’ for example, children are taught to cultivate the appropriate ‘energy centre’ for their well-being, so that they are emotionally, physically and spiritually balanced and healthy.
'When I take workshops for children, I teach them mind mapping, which is a scientific method of organising ideas. All the ideas that you learn from a lecture, a book, or an article can be represented as a diagram of interconnected concepts. Similarly, you can construct a mind map first, and then develop it into a talk, a paper, or a book. Encourage your children to acquire mind mapping skills from a young age, and by the time they are adults, they will be able to work wonders in comprehension and composition, irrespective of the field of their studies.'
- Swami Sukhabodhananda