“I always felt it’s understood that we love our parents and they love us. But I learnt mere understanding is not important, one needs to express it to strengthen the relationship” shared by a young Indore girl.
The Annual Youth Conference 2008, at Asia Plateau, a training centre for Initiative of Change, had impacted lives of a group of youth from Indore. A dream woven, that this conference take place for the young students at their hometown, took shape into reality on 28th September 2008. Youth Co-ordinators from across the country willingly supported this initiative. Indore Youth Conference – Let’s Make a Difference indeed touched the lives of 300 young students.
After a formal inaugural session, the youth team welcomed the participants in a unique Maori welcome song. The Maori dance and song, thrilled the audiences which set their mood for the rest of the day. A video documentary on Asia Plateau was screened to introduce the youth to the philosophy of Initiatives of Change.
The conference had commenced. All youth were in their frame of mind to absorb something that would make a difference to their lives. In the first session, the philosophy of Initiatives of Change was introduced to the participants. The concept of the four absolutes – Purity, Honesty, Unselfishness and Love, was put forth before them. Personal experience-sharing enriched this session with a practical perspective. One sharing was about how a traffic police officer was astonished when the offender was ready to pay fine on receipt, rather than bribe him for a lesser amount. The traffic police officer was embarrassed. He couldn’t meet the offender’s eyes and he pardoned the fine. This example about the power of Honesty amazed the young crowd.
The strength of this session was its interactive and informal approach in explaining the basic foundations of a quality human life. Every person in the audience was glued to wonderful turn and twists of real experiences that sprung up in the session. “This was indeed a rich ethical experience” shared one of the students. Around the closing of this session the participants were allowed some time to reflect on their inner thoughts. This introduced the concept of Quiet Time to the participants. A quality time was spent by everyone with their own self. For the first time young students introspected their actions in life. This session also encouraged writing down of inner thoughts. A diary was provided to all the participants to pen down their reflections.
After some thought for food, it was time for some food for thought. In the lunch break the co-ordinators initiated a healthy informal interaction with the participants. After reflecting on the basics of quality life it was time to introspect on one’s inner self. In this session ‘Me, Myself and Outside’ – ego, relationships, impurity and negativity were metaphorized though a glass vase containing colourful flowers. The beauty and colour of the flowers was what each individual thought he/she is and deceptively presented herself/ himself. When these flowers were removed, what was left in the vase were muddy water, stones, cigarettes, tattered cloth and dry twigs. A comparison was made between the individual who masked the goodness but was impure inside, and the vase. This exercise was received with more meaning with the sharing of personal incidents. Participants were touched when the speaker compared himself with the glass vase, and shared how he bettered himself by each time filling his life with goodness and the purity of the four absolutes. The participants were now able to connect this philosophy to their lives.
A true story of a young boy who was addicted to pornography was shared with the audience. The audiences were shocked to know that his father was also a victim of pornography addiction. After being introduced to the four absolutes, the son confronted to his father and requested him to get him out of this addiction. These self realizations helped both the father and son, fight out their negative elements and freed them of their addictions. This encouraged a strong bonding between them.
After reflecting on one’s personal life, relationships, ego, it was time to give a thought on how one could continue to follow the right conduct throughout his life. Questions, emotions, realizations shared by the Indore participants were brought before the larger group as the youth team addressed this. Most of the queries revolved around how one could follow these absolutes in today’s world and still achieve success, fame and money in life? This amused the youth team. As a natural human tendency, the youth questioned the path of ethical conduct in achieving the material wants. But no one actually was willing to take that path and face challenges that came in one’s way.
A group of management students raised a similar query, how do they tackle the corporate world with the path of morality. Co-ordinators form the youth team, shared their experiences, struggle and success in being deeply rooted in the four absolutes while they survived the corporate world. This gave the audiences new insights and a practical approach to the four standards of life.
A close to life example was of a youth team co-ordinator, who opted out of a comfortable corporate package to live his dream of becoming an IAS officer and serve his country. This sparked a feeling of patriotism and set an example of unselfishness, with a message to serve the masses and the nation. The emotions were uncontrollable, participants had begun to share their stories and unburden their hearts. The rest made great listeners and learners of others’ self realizations. The key of introspection and the spark of the four absolutes was ignited in the Indore youth. It had touched the hearts of the participants and brought them closer to basics of life.