Inspiring Teenagers - How Do You Do It?!
The time has come. In my old city, it was something I only speculated about with my wise mentors and friends... I looked at it as something that would occur in the future, after graduation or something. But no, it seems that is not what Allah has planned for me.
The time has come for me to take on the mantle of leadership: My role is that of dealing with the young Muslimahs here in this new city of mine.
It's something I look upon with a mixture of anticipation and dread, of hope and of fear. It's a chance for me to start doing something for this Ummah, however small a thing it may be.
But... what if I fail? What if I make terrible mistakes, horrible blunders - in short, what if I screw up?!
Yes, yes, I know what I'm supposed to do... close my eyes, take a deep breath, and put my trust in Allah. Yet those doubts and fears remain... it's only human, I guess.
Anyway... aside from all the insecurities, I have a bigger question: How am I going to do it?! How do you inspire teenagers? How do you inspire them to dedicate themselves to their religion, to concentrate their efforts on learning about Islam, understanding it, applying it, and then doing whatever they can to help the Muslim Ummah (which needs all the help it can get)?
There's another problem, too. Even though I'm a teenager, I'm on a completely different wavelength than them, and I can't relate to them. The things they're interested in are totally different from my own hobbies and fields of interests.
It's basically boys, gossip, and movies vs. religion, politics, and randomness.
See the difference?
The first time I met the teen girls at the Masjid, I was immediately uncomfortable. First, by the fact that they were teen girls. Sounds weird, I know, seeing as how I'm a teen girl myself. But at home, in my old city, I had only a few friends my age, and I feel infinitely more comfortable around adults, because I practically grew up with them and they're who I grew up hanging out with anyway.
The conversation was awkward, too. Music, movies, boys, and gossiping about girls at school... that's all they talked about. Nothing else. So there I was, sitting against the wall all alone, wishing desperately that I was back home with my beloved mentors discussing something serious.
So that's the big problem... we're totally different from each other. They're typical teenage girls; whereas it seems that I am very atypical indeed. I've no idea how to make them interested in the stuff I am interested in; how to... well, recruit them, as it were.
Then there's also the issue of commitment: from past experiences, I know very well how people will say something, promise to do something - and then not do it at all, their excuses being "I was busy". And the thing is, they are busy... they go to public school, they've got their own friends and lives outside of the masjid and madrasah... whereas I don't, and therefore have plenty of time to dream about fixing up the Ummah, starting with the city I'm in right now.
Really, what am I to do? I know what I want to do, I know how to do what I want to do... but I'll require people to help me out, and that's the problem: how to get those people to help out.
When I posted this on Eteraz.org, the responses I got basically said two things: make things fun, and then just wait for them to grow up enough to care.
I get the first point - and it's what we were going to do, anyway - but the second thing frustrates me... I hate waiting, and besides, who's to say that they'll care even when they grow up? Isn't the time to teach them about the important stuff NOW, not later? What if they get distracted later, or forget about Islam until it fades away to something cultural for them? I have seen it happen before, and it's something that scares me to death.
And, of course, how do we know we're even going to live long enough to grow up?
Perhaps the answer IS to just work slowly for now and focus on how fun Islam can be, and then sit and wait...but I find the prospect of having to wait for them to grow up frustrating. I need to be able to do something NOW. I honestly feel like I'm going to go crazy if I can't do anything intellectually stimulating anytime soon...
I need your advice, people!
Your little sister in Islam,
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Inspiring Teenagers - How Do You Do It?!
Posted by AnonyMouse at 1:18 PM