Monday, 8 October 2012

The Biggest Challenge

originally written 12 August 2012

I've just ended one of the most fulfilling jobs I think I'll ever have the pleasure of working. I worked as a Senior Mentor for an organisation called The Challenge Network who operate the National Citizens Service and are backed by the government.

It's an awesome job. When I first heard about it last year when I was in Singapore I was just excited by the prospect of getting paid to become G.I. Jane and to be honest that's hows I described it to my mates when they asked what I was doing in my summer of graduation.

My greatest fear going into this job was that me and young people just wouldn't mix. I have so many cousins who are younger than me and they are immensely frustrating. So many personal possessions broken, so many telling offs acquired because of my younger cousins. I know you feel my pain.

Going into this job I just thought, 'Oh Lord, I cannot be arsed for the frustrating pettiness of young people. I do not have time for their over inflated self-confidence and belief that they are God's gift to man.' But now I have come to the end of two sets of 3 weeks, with 2 sets of young people. I have mentored 21 young people in total. I can truly say, as my mother did in church today, that young people truly ARE God's gift to man. They have such bright futures and such brilliant minds. Underestimated minds. Underrated hearts. I have seen 21 young people defy all the descriptions that our media will confer on them. Whipping out banter with adults with the right balance of humour and respect.

There is not much I can say, because it's difficult to articulate the pride I feel having taken part in the The Challenge Network. Just remember next time you see a young person and you feel they've become an annoying waste of space, they are just YOUNG people, seeking direction, trust, and affection. Some of them didn't get any of that before they met us and you'll be surprised the difference those three ingredients can make.

Challenge Yourself, to respect Young People, and see how this world is turn upside down for good!

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