Hello again. I don’t know about you but it’s very hard for me to get my head around the fact that we’re at the end of another year and I’m writing to wish readers happy end of year seasons greetings! They say that time flies quickly when you’re busy and also having fun. That certainly fits for me this year. The holiday season began for us in Arabia this year during the month of November with the Eid Holiday week that involves family celebrations at the end of the Holy Month of Ramadan. Sadly, in the last week of Ramadan, the peoples of the United Arab Emirates lost the Father of their country, His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nihyaan, and 40 days of mourning began an extra period of personal, family and national contemplation about change and anticipation. Thus, as we approach the end of the year and family holiday time, the importance of personal reflection seems especially important.
UAEU Friends for Life Enjoying a Holiday Dhow Cruise
As child and youth care workers, I wonder if this might be a good time to invite young people to reflect with us about the theme of old and new? There are so many different ways in which our old life “perhaps before this month or even 2004 “presented many challenges that are different from what we face now. Some may be feeling they have successfully overcome challenges and are looking hopefully towards 2005 for a time of greater peace and personal or family stability. Still others may be facing greater uncertainty and more unknowns than ever before. What is there about our old self or ways of being that might be reaffirmed at this the end of another year? Similarly, what is new about our circumstances, relationships and personal view of the world that we might celebrate through renewed commitments for 2005?
Camping in the Desert! Note the Air Conditioned Tents!
I want to celebrate many new relationships with young people established during the past 4-6 weeks as I have listened to UAEU students share challenges, doubts, fears and enthusiasm about student life and its opportunities for their futures. Day trips with 33 international young people to Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Al Ain and Dubai presented many opportunities for laughter, learning and enjoyment that “while tiring “were nevertheless powerful reminders of the importance of purposeful activity as a medium for communication and relationship-building. Meetings with students in their personal living environments “exploring challenges facing them at university and in their daily lives “highlighted yet again the importance of face-to-face dialogue and listening. Young people need to feel that people around them are willing to listen and it is always distressing whenever I hear that adults have been too busy or unwilling to listen. It may be in the nature of our listening that makes a young person feel they have been heard. For young people to believe that youth care workers actually care about them, they need to feel we have not only listened, but have heard them and actually explore with them what action might be taken with them to assist transformation of old ways into new opportunities. How’s about us all trying to work on that a little harder in the weeks ahead, building bridges for tomorrow?
Building Bridges for 2005
May Peace be with you and yours during these family times of remembrance and celebration. And don’t forget to share your smile!