At present, all the high school students have finished their exams. There would be a gap of few months before they begin university. Many would pursue some hobbies or courses in this time but many more will just hang around with friends.
Teenage is the stage of life between childhood and adulthood. In a way the body is prepared physically and mentally to grow as an adult human being. To obtain this goal, nature has provided this age with abundant energy. Most of the times, this energy is underutilized. This leads to teenagers behaving aggressively, or indulging in petty crimes, drugs or sex.
Being engaged in some physical work till they tire out is the best option for teenagers to use their energy creatively.
Lack of sufficient physical activity has many disadvantages for everybody, more so for teenagers. Because of this, they do not feel very fresh physically as well as mentally. They do not feel very cheerful due to this dullness. Physical exertion activates the body as well as lungs and other body parts, supplying more oxygen to the body and removing toxins. Something which does not happen if one does not do any physical exertion. When one sweats after doing some physical activity, the body feels light and energetic.
Good amount of physical activity helps build one’s appetite. This in turn improves the food intake of a person providing necessary calories and nutrients. Many teenagers do not have the ravenous appetite which is natural for this age due to not doing any physical work.
An average teenager does not feel exhausted by evening because he does not spend his energy. Therefore they tend to stay up till late night watching movies or internet or worse still, killing time in pubs.
Because of sleeping late, they get up late in the mornings, thus having an entirely lopsided routine. They also lack the stamina for doing hard physical work, if they do not do regular physical work.
Group games and physical exercises are very useful for teenagers as they provide much physical activity. They help in improving one’s stamina also. But one does not get the thrill of accomplishment which is provided by some manual work. When one plans some work, executes it and finishes it successfully, he gets immense satisfaction. Apart from satisfaction, this is appreciated by others. This is important for any individual, but more for a teenager. On the brink of adulthood, their confidence and ego gets boosted by the appreciation they get by others. More the work done, more is the appreciation. This inspires them to do more hard work.
When a youngster does some manual work by himself, he understands the hard work and pain involved in it. This helps him to be sensitive towards the physical work done by others whether it is domestic help or his/her mother. At this stage of life if they learn to appreciate the small chores done by others, they would automatically be considerate and helpful towards their spouses, a quality which ensures domestic bliss and peace in life of adults.
A teenager can do anything to be done in and around the house. It can be cleaning of the house or garden, masonry, painting of house, gardening, making wooden items, e.t.c.
If one looks around, every house or building constructed, every mean of physical comfort has been possible only due to the physical labour put in by a man or men,
Therefore teenagers should be encouraged to do manual work in their leisure time, apart from the sports or games they play.
‘Umuganda”, organized in Rwanda is ideal for this purpose as it encourages physical work and inculcates sense of cooperation and team work among people while providing the thrill of doing some work. There can be, “Umuganda”, for teenagers every day.
Dr. Rachna Pande