YOUNG WORLD

New beginnings

USHA JESUDASAN

New beginnings

The end of one year and the beginning of another is an auspicious time for many people. It's a time for reflection and introspection. It helps put the year that's gone by in perspective. It helps us to count our blessings and grieve over our disasters. It gives us an opportunity to chart out new hopes and visions for the year ahead.

Our individual experiences of the past year, and our own traditions and values will prod us into making meaningful decisions that will help us journey through the year ahead, perhaps a little more wisely.

Often in our desire to move towards a new vision, we neglect the past which is our heritage and in whose values we are rooted and find meaning.

Today one is uncertain of where one stands on any given issue, what one ought to do that is ethically right, and what one ought to do that is the best in a particular situation. Thus, more than ever before, we need values that will guide and steer us and anchor us firmly in what we believe to be right and good, not just for ourselves but for those around us too.

Our challenge each year is to find a balance between the two and walk on that path. We need to spend some time quietly reflecting on the essential values of the past...values of openness, love, wholeness, truth, unity, peace, and forgiveness.

And how we can live with these in the future. How do we maintain the old and prepare the way for something new? What guidelines do we use in determining which values bring fulfilment and meaning to our lives?

A good way would be to think about those values, which have been tried and tested and known to be true through personal experience.

When we think about and question and re-evaluate our values, we end up having a hierarchy of values. We need to answer questions like, "What's important to me now, at this point of my life?" There will be a difference between a student's values and a working person's values regarding the use of time, money, resources and relationships. Retirement and old age bring with it changes too. Each of us needs to ask ourselves what we would preserve as our core values and what new paths we need to take this year to live fulfilling, meaningful lives. We also need to ask these questions collectively... as families and communities. It's good to think about these things seriously and talk about them with our families and friends. For, when we share our thoughts and hopes we connect with each other.

Children are able to see parents not as machines, which provide, or as cold unfeeling beings who are out to spoil their children's fun but as individuals with needs, feelings and hopes too.

Parents in turn will see that their children also have serious concerns about the future and that they are individuals in their own right, with tender feelings.

Such sharing and the awakening of new awareness of each other can lead to better understanding and more meaningful relationships.

Only when we do this can we move forward in hope.

The poet Ben Okri says, We live in enchanted times. With our spirits right.

We can enchant the future. May the New Year be truly enchanting for all of us.

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