With a prayer to my Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda and an ardent desire to empower our teens, I have started on this journey of a facilitator for a CHYK class for teens between the ages of 13 and 16. The prescribed text is called “Game of Life” written by Swami Tejomayanda.
Six curious teens stared at me as I started the class. They had been sent in by parents pitching it as a “leadership” class or “personality” class..Steering clear of the religious piece which is often a clear NO to many of our kids today.. Why temple? Why pray ? what God etc..
We started off with the class finishing the sentence “Life is…..”
Answers varied from a tree which grows and blooms with nurture, to fun, a dream.. to being just a set of random events.
Then I asked if Life could be compared to a Game. Yes, they said. ups and downs, unexpected twists and turns, no control over what will be presented, different levels that have more powers as they grow, more difficulty as we reach further in the game. Then we came to the crux of our topic.
“Do we have a choice?” in a game. Yes, we can choose the action in a given scene
How about in real life? Sometimes NO, they said.
We looked at our video, an early scene from Harry Potter where he is soon to be placed in a house by the Sorting Hat.
Why did the hat put him in Gryffindor? Because Harry said so
Why do you think Harry said so.. because of friends, didn’t like previous history of Slytherin, because he hated some kids in Slytherin , brave kids went to Gryffindor etc.
So do we also make a choice based on some influencing factors?
We looked at a close to life example:
–An unclean messy room that mom orders need to be tidied..
From bargaining, to hating it and doing it to going to sleep and hoping she would just do it itself..all were possibilities
If a friend suddenly walked in, an important person, would the messy room affect their impression abt you?
Now , all had an ability to clean the room, but what we chose to do, defined what we lived in.
Again with Dumbledore’s wise quote we agreed, it is not our abilities but our choices that define us.
Then we went a step further, and looked at an example where someone had been treated unfairly in a competition. Reactions were now stronger.
Then we started thinking about the repercussions of our choices.
Next we looked at a scene from Wonder where Jack talks about his friend behind his back and says things he doesn’t believe in
Why do you think he says that? Is it important to be cool? Was he afraid?
What effect did it have on his friend? Did it affect him too?
Could he have chosen to say “sure he looks terrible but he is great kid, lots of fun and helps me pass my tests?”
Post this we said, yes he had a choice but he probably wasn’t aware or thinking too much before saying it . Hence we need to be aware that we have a choice and make sure that we understand we have to accept responsibility for our choices.
Finally we noted that it was a hard choice. In the unclean room example, I asked them if there was a robot to clean the room, would they do it then, they all said yes! So when the choice is easy, we make the right choice easily; but when it is harder we must remember to choose wisely
We must all choose between what is easy and what is right!
We wound up our class promising to be aware that we indeed have a choice, we must think and choose wisely and choose what is right even if it harder, we bear the consequences of our own choices
About CHYK classes
I wrote this blog to provide a peep in to what to expect at a CHYK class. This was a starter session. The study scheme at weekly discussion groups are based on a systematic syllabus designed keeping youth psychology in mind. This syllabus was originally created by Swami Chinmayananda, and later modified and implemented more widely by Swami Tejomayananda .These discussions are maintained on the basis of certain text-books. The group takes up each topic in the book, and discusses it freely, thus churning their own understandings, in ways limited by nothing.