Happiness is a Choice

February 2019

Managing teenage-hood, balancing school work, peer pressure, self-esteem issues, bullying, and lack of parental support are just some of the issues that a teenager must face and go through in life. Our Lesson Two at NIC Ngong was focusing on the self- esteem issues girls often struggle with so routinely.

The new girls who just joined Form 1 reported that they are affected by self-esteem issues on a regular basis. Unfortunately, most of them have ‘negative’ self-esteem. They have joined high school after 8 years of being in Primary School, most of them were attending schools where they were day scholars, so they went home at the end of the day. Being in boarding school is one of the challenges these girls must handle now. They are suddenly thrown into a situation where they must cater for themselves, take care of their personal items otherwise they may well-be stolen, wake up very early in the morning for preps, and get used to a diet that is not the least bit exciting. They must shower with cold water and contend with very cold weather at the school. They feel the need to fit in with the girls who are in the upper classes, but this mostly leaves them feeling frustrated because Form 1’s are usually looked down upon by the older girls.

Our mentorship class ensures that we cater to the needs of these girls. We may not have all the solutions to the issues they are going through, but we can give them mechanisms and tools to help them cope.

The girls were excited to learn that happiness is a choice. No one can rely on someone to make them happy, so one must find ways to do that for themselves. Smiling when one would rather frown, sticking around positive people, helping others, reading motivational books, praying when one feels down are some of the ways to cope.

We teach our girls to have a positive attitude towards life, to think of the things that are working in their lives and to give thanks for those things. Reminding them that they are privileged to be in school while some girls cannot afford a secondary education, to have parents who have sacrificed to put them through school though they are struggling financially, to have the gift of life, itself, to enjoy good health- all of these are gifts, we spoke of, for which the girls are exceptionally fortunate to have received. Once the privileges were broken down for the girls to realize, we saw a bulb light up in their heads. They began to realize that things could be far worse and began to be thankful for all they have already been given.

The class from that point on was very interactive. The girls suddenly brightened up and even those who had been sitting silently suddenly sat up and began to participate. We asked the girls to meditate on these words as we parted:

 

Watch your thoughts, they become words.

Watch your words, they become actions.
Watch your actions, they become habits.

Watch your habits, they become your character.
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

 

Our Valvisions Pokot Scholars are doing fine. They are still teaching in their various schools as they wait for the schools to close, so they can go on to college. This week they get to relax for a few days as most of the schools are on mid-term break.

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