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This week I had an email from a reader in Pakistan, asking me to reflect on these four subjects:

1)  What have we learned from the COVID-19 ??

2)  Our youths are sleeping until noon/afternoon and are active on social media (cell phone) during the whole night. Any specific topic or mini-compilation will be a great help as our Baha’i activities are suffering much due to this bad pattern of sleeping.

3)  Any article or mini compilations on meaningful ways of using social media.

4)  A compilation on media is a need of the hour.

Our children and few other Baha’i youths are doing active online courses (such as Transformative Leadership for Youth, The Baha’i Faith and the Arts, etc) with the Wilmette Institute in the USA.

I replied:

You ask some very important questions, and my heart goes out to you and to the youth of Pakistan.

Unfortunately I haven’t had any experience working with youth so I’m not the best person to ask.  Also, after reading their reality, each community needs to have a tailor-made program which will work for their population.  There are vast differences around the world, and within a country, from cluster to cluster.  So anything I could contribute would be from my perspective as someone living in an inactive cluster in rural Canada and not necessarily relevant to your corner of Pakistan.

Some thoughts did come to my mind after praying about how to help.

  1. I strongly believe that this is an issue of vital importance to the NSA, Baha’i Council, Auxiliary Board and Institute Board. Have you consulted with these institutions?
  1. These are topics which could be discussed with the animators, who could then introduce them into the junior youth empowerment program.
  1. If your Bahá’í youth are sleeping until noon/afternoon and are active on social media the whole night, their peers are probably doing the same. The problem may not be their sleeping pattern, but capitalizing on it to reach out to engage their cohorts in:
    • Meaningful conversations
    • Animator Training
    • Youth Conferences
    • Service to their Communities
    • Teaching Children’s Classes
    • Holding Devotional Gatherings
    • Completing the Sequence of Ruhi Classes
  1. Many ideas and suggestions can be found in the current guidance of the House of Justice, particularly the following letters.

Since then, there have been messages to Canada and the USA on the topic of healing racism.  There may have also been similar letters to your part of the world.

Perhaps a youth gathering could be organized on a platform such as Zoom, where youth and/or youth animators can gather together to study these messages and make plans.

  1. Perhaps youth could be encouraged to attend Bahá’í Summer Schools. If none have been organized in Pakistan, this is a good year to participate anywhere in the world they may want to go.   Perhaps a team of youth could research the dates, topics and registration details for summer schools around the world and encourage the youth to participate.
  1. Here are some articles discussing what Bahá’ís around the world are learning from the pandemic:

· Pilgrimage Travel Advisory Coronavirus (COVID-19):  https://pilgrimage.bwc.org/traveladvisory/

· Baha’i Education Efforts Move Online in a Hurry:  https://www.bahai.us/bahai-education-efforts-move-online-in-a-hurry/

· Spiritual Conversation: Spiritual Resilience in the Time of COVID-19:  https://www.bahaiblog.net/2020/06/spiritual-conversation-resilience-in-the-time-of-covid-19-video/

· From Baha’i to Zoroastrians, Jews to Jains: Keeping the Faith Amid COVID-19:  https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/cnainsider/covid19-singapore-religious-faith-ramadan-12764482

·  Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson – COVID-19 Special with Dr. Robert Kim-Farley:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBqHbFTb0Vo

· Hope and Support in Italy During a Global Health Crisis:  https://news.bahai.org/story/1401/

· Reflections on the Coronavirus and the Oneness of Humanity:  https://bahaiteachings.org/reflections-on-coronavirus-and-oneness-humanity/

· Rising to the Occasion in a Global Crisis:  https://news.bahai.org/story/1404/

·  Covid-19 and the Digital Era – Esther Kaufman:  http://blog.umd.edu/bahaichair/2020/06/15/covid-19-and-the-digital-era-esther-kaufman/

· Why are Blacks Dying at Higher Rates from COVID-19?  https://blog.umd.edu/bahaichair/2020/07/20/why-are-blacks-dying-at-higher-rates-from-covid-19-professor-rashawn-ray/

· Keeping Baha’i Prisoners, Iran Threatens the Entire Country’s Health:  https://religionnews.com/2020/04/16/keeping-bahai-prisoners-iran-threatens-the-entire-countrys-health/

· Heroes of the COVID-19 Era:  https://blogs.adobe.com/adobelife/2020/06/23/heroes-of-the-covid-19-era/

  1. Perhaps the following articles would spark some ideas of activities the youth could do. (I apologize for the Western focus but it was what I could find in my Google search.   You might do better from your part of the world.  The search terms I used were “Bahá’í Youth Covid”):
    • Elevate(a platform of resources that support a growing movement to develop spiritual consciousness and the capacity to serve society):  https://www.elevateworld.org/
  1. Perhaps youth animators could use some of these articles to find ideas to stimulate discussions in their junior youth programs:

· 10 Ways Young People are Leading the Way Against COVID-19:  https://womendeliver.org/2020/10-ways-young-people-are-leading-the-way-against-covid-19/

· Is COVID-19 Social Media’s Levelling Up Moment?  https://www.forbes.com/sites/ryanholmes/2020/04/24/is-covid-19-social-medias-levelling-up-moment/#29d55ba6c606

· Is the Media Creating Division on COVID-19 Health Practices?  https://news.gallup.com/poll/312749/media-creating-division-covid-health-practices.aspx

· Using More Social Media During COVID-19? You’re Not Alone. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/using-more-social-media-during-covid-19-youre-alone-ryan-holmes/

My most fervent hope for humanity during this pandemic, is that all mankind recognize the oneness of humanity; that this pandemic shows us our oneness and that we finally treat one another at home and around the world, as one.  This picture, taken during the early days, gave me great hope:

What jumped out for you as you read today’s article?

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What other ideas would you suggest to this reader?  Post your comments below.

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