There is a pre-requisite in our journey to learn from life, and that is to have awareness. What I mean is that we need to be aware of the things that are happening around us, and the things that are happening within us.
In this day and age, with the emergence of the internet and smartphones, life is always moving on fast forward. In the past, people used to ponder and experiment when they could not understand how things worked, but these days all one requires is internet access and Google to find an answer.
The current generation has cut down the time needed to reach an answer to mere seconds. However, by having information fed to us at speed, are we forsaking a journey of learning at a more careful pace that is such an essential process in life?
Taking time to learn
In DIODE leadership camps, we focus on teaching young people from ages 8 to 19 a simple model called AVP where “A” stands for awareness, “V” for vision and “P” for plan.
In this model, we help youths understand themselves better. We start off with simple personality tests that help them be aware of who they are and how they’re naturally wired.
By presenting scenarios in a group setting, these young participants will observe and understand how others are wired as well.
The activities at DIODE camps focus on creating an awareness within. The external awareness comes when the campers accomplish challenging assignments together, such as through day projects, which require thinking and teamwork, and are planned throughout the camp.
The bottom line for the project is to achieve one important thing, which is to “Make A Difference”, or as we fondly call it, MAD.
We believe that when youths begin to find out how they can make a difference in their community, they will begin to ask questions and develop a sense of curiosity about how society serves them and vice versa.
By doing that, they will then get the opportunity to embark on a journey of learning and discovery!
Those who really want to learn should never stop asking questions. They might be the very people who will one day find answers to the questions that have yet to be solved.
As a facilitator of youth programmes, my position on learning is that failure is okay. Just take a good look in history, and you will discover great men and women who have failed countless times, yet they are the ones who have learnt the most throughout their lives.
Do not fear failing, for all you need to do is to pick yourself up and try again. As long as you do not stay beaten, as long as you do not give up, life will always present itself with an opportunity to learn. At the end of the day, that truly is the beauty of life.
Alvin Dan is one of the youth programme executives at Leaderonomics. His personal passion lies in community development. Using his skills in behavioural psychology, he plans to continue developing his expertise in counselling in order to assist others. To engage with Alvin, email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also drop us a line or two in the comment box below. For more Starting Young articles, click here.
Published in English daily The Star, Malaysia, 11 April 2015