CTTB 2008 Cherishing Youth Day
"The elders are peacefully settled and the young are cherished." This is a utopian vision of the Chinese. It is also a trend that the Venerable Master strove to promote at the City and its branch monasteries.
Cherishing Youth Day in the spring and Honoring Elders Day in the fall have become annual traditions at the City. Moreover, Cherishing Youth Day has become an excellent opportunity for students at Instilling Goodness Elementary and Developing Virtue Secondary Schools to demonstrate their talents.
When the City first began to organize Cherishing Youth Day, the City's own secondary and elementary students did all the performances while other local students and parents were invited to the festivities and a vegetarian meal. The scope of this celebration has expanded over the years. By the year 2000, more than 500 students and guests from six schools in Mendocino County attended Cherishing Youth Day. Students from visiting schools also performed, and mutual learning resulted. By the year 2001, 800 students and nearly 200 guests attended the event.
The theme for this year’s Cherishing Youth Day (2008) is “Cherishing Nature & Protecting the Earth,” which encouraged the new generation to care about the environment and to work together to protect the Earth. Performances included drama, singing, Chinese dance, Chinese Opera, Taiko drum, lion/dragon dance and more. All of the cultural performances from the East were achieved by students and were comparable to professional standards. The performances really opened the eyes of the guests. At the same time, it broke through the stereotype that, “Lion dances can only be seen in Chinatown” and brought this part of Chinese culture to the United States.
Michael Delbar, member of the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, spoke of the value of Cherishing Youth Day. He said when he was a child, similar celebrations and activities were held in his own community. However, this tradition gradually disappeared. Of course, Cherishing Youth Day isn't limited to performances and fun. The Venerable Master established Cherishing Youth Day to remind us to show our concern for the younger generation and to serve as role models for them. That way, our young friends will develop excellent characters and know the responsibilities that they shall carry in the future.
One guest who participated in the City's Cherishing Youth Day told the youngsters, "You children are our greatest treasure. We live in a society where there's hatred, violence, and racism. Young people, it's really up to you to change this!"