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TEENS AND 21ST CENTURY CHALLENGES

Again, in our continuous quest for mentoring, we were on Monday, October 7 at yet another youth event – 2019 TEENS CONFERENCE organised by ‘Minds-In-The-Making’ (MIM), a youth NGO, at Kano’s Afficent Event Centre. The founder of the NGO, Khadija Muhammad Monguno (khadijamm24@gmail.com) a Level 300 student of Bayero University, Kano, reports on the conference under the theme: “TEENS AND THE CHALLENGES OF THE 21ST CENTURY.”

Since when I was a teenager in SS2, I knew we teenagers needed help. I found our condition very worrisome. I realised I was not in a position to save us because I was in the same mess too and needed help myself. I felt despondent and asked myself ‘Who am I to start advising and lecturing people on how to cope with teen-hood when I am exposed to the perils of the moral vices surrounding us and was yet to overcome it too? And somewhere in my head, a voice kept telling me “You are too young! You are too young!”

I, therefore, became a sort of soaking sponge among my peers, as I was willing to listen to all sorts of absurd things, but without judging any of them. I even found a way of justifying what they (my peers) sometimes did because I wanted to understand the level of moral decadence prevalent among teens and help them find solutions. I reached out to the elders by informing them about our problems, and where to focus their energies and resources in trying to help us.

Along the line, someone said something to me that changed my mindset: “Khadija, you have to be the agent of the change you want to see in the society. You, of course, can never be perfect, but you have the option of being perfectly flawed or flawed.”

I then came to a realisation that I do not have to overcome all the challenges I am myself facing before I could touch lives. Fast forward to 2019, I founded MIM to help children, teenagers and young adults deal with the challenges they face. MIM is grounded in our Islamic ethos but without ignoring the necessities of modern life. We provide a friendly approach to knowledge acquisition and a better understanding of Islamic cultural and moral values.

MIM hopes to reshape the young generations to combat the multiple challenges they face in life and make them appreciate the significance of the art of-self-mastery; reason for this epochal 2019 Teen Conference to dig at the roots for a brighter future. The 21st century poses dangers to teens – the intense desire for popularity, self-image, socialisation and crave for worldliness. These overwhelming temptations disconnect and untie the knots between young and old generations.

Beyond our imagination, the event was a resounding success with several mind-blowing speeches and over five hundred teens from various schools in attendance. Speakers included Maryam Lemu, Adam Lamido Sanusi, Maryam Bukar (Alhan Islam), Zakariyyah Salisu Buhari, Husaina Yakubu Yahaya, Nana Sule and Bala Muhammad. The takeaways from the event included:

Maryam Lemu: “We will always be exactly like we are unless we take a step to change our situation. We have to focus on the inside to succeed, and we achieve that by not allowing negative thoughts to weigh us down. We need to have positive mindsets and the desire to be better. If we want to be successful in life, we have to take chances. Teenagers have a purpose in life – they are not only meant to exist but to live meaningfully.”

Adam Sanusi: “Our society will not change if we don’t. Those who have the opportunity to make a change should put effort to make the world a better place. We all go through some changes which may be physical or mental, but we rationalise our weaknesses by making excuses. And the biggest problem of lying is when we start to believe it ourselves.”

Maryam Bukar: “What is my purpose in life? Most teenagers have no inkling what the answers are. Parents, society and religion have to guide and guard vulnerable youths in their impressionable early years. Communication with parents is imperative. A parent must make it a duty to know what their child is up to 80% per cent of the time, if not 100%. Society does not help teenagers because the society does not understand teenagers.”

Zakariyyah Buhari: “A believer should be able to get along with people very easily because Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace) has taught us The-How-To of everything – how to live with parents, with friends, in society, in the world. The ultimate teaching for all is that ‘Be Truthful.’”

Husaina Yahaya: “The confidence of youths, especially teenagers, must be built delicately and carefully. Teenagers must be taught and guided on emotional intelligence – how they can control anger, how they can survive the attitude of negative people. They should be helped to imbibe the art of expressing oneself through writing and speech.

Nana Sule: “Silence is dangerous. Teenagers should be encouraged to ‘come out with it’. Society must open up and speak out for victims of abuses, especially teenagers and young adults, rather than making excuses for abusers in our societies. Teenagers should have someone to trust can speak to. Society must ensure that.”

Bala Muhammad: “Being good is cool, as teenagers always want to appear ‘cool’ among peers. So just be good, as Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace) had said Goodness will be very heavy on the scales of the Day of Judgement. Goodness (as in Kindness) goes in circles and ultimately returns to the initiator. Be ready to give up something you want for someone who needs it better. And THAT is COOL!”

Khadija Monguno: “In my Vote of Thanks I nearly broke down emotionally, overwhelmed as I was by the unexpected success. Seeing Maryam Lemu speaking at my event alone made my day. Monday 7th October 2019 will forever be etched in my life.”

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