“I’M NOT DISCOURAGED – THE EXPLOSION MOVED ME TO HELP MORE”
Young SAT-7 KIDS Presenter Markus Kashouh reflects on how the Beirut Port explosion has affected him and his friends, how his faith helped him through, and how he hopes to help SAT-7 KIDS viewers build this same resilience through his new program By The Way.
“When the explosion happened, my family and I were not affected physically, nor was our house damaged. But emotionally – the idea that we have no security, or we are not safe in our country, has unavoidably affected us.
I can only imagine how the children who were physically impacted by the explosion must have felt and continue to feel. Questions like, ‘What if something else happens?’ anxiety, and questions over how faith comes into play in all this were all running through my mind immediately after the explosion. I asked my friends about their experiences during the explosion, too. They all expressed how frightening it was for them, while at the same time thanking God that they were unharmed.
What helped us all to get through the aftermath was knowing that God is with us. Although we were shaken, the faith God put in our hearts, and the hope that things will get better, gave us strength to continue and to go out and help others.
A group of us went out on the streets to help clear them and to give out food. Even if the people we helped do not know God or have that faith themselves, by showing up for them we can at least give them hope in humanity – and hope that the younger generations are here and helping to restore the country. By being an example of what Christ would do, we give others hope. I’m not discouraged by what happened. It just moves me to help more.
Experiences of incidents like the explosion; of the economic crisis; of the pandemic, can cause kids to turn inward and physically isolate themselves. Young people turn to social media for distraction and to get away from reality. This can be positive if they are exposed to healthy content that gives them hope and encouragement, and that motivates them to be active members of society.
However, there is a lot of content online that can do quite the opposite. Influencers often portray impossibly perfect lives, which can make young, impressionable minds feel that they have to strive for this unattainable perfection. Children then feel insecure – that they are not good enough, or popular enough – if their posts do not receive as many likes in comparison. There are also many websites that give false information, such as instructions for DIY projects that do not work or that can cause physical or psychological harm.
In the end, the overwhelming plethora of online information can affect children’s self-esteem, with the result of them feeling demotivated and uninspired. They may then be labelled as ‘lazy’ by parents or teachers, which further weakens their self-esteem and confidence.
These issues have all inspired my new program By the Way. As a peer to the viewers, I feel a level of understanding and feel called to help teenagers, preteens, and younger kids who are just starting to become exposed to the Internet. Through comedy and skits we will shine a light on each one of these issues, debunking the myths and false information that can impact children’s wellbeing. My aim is to help kids think critically before trusting a piece of information.
We will then offer positive messages that help children grow in faith and resilience, by sharing Bible verses and Bible stories that can be connected to current events impacting young people. In addition, the skits will model healthy ways to deal with anxiety, stress, and conflict. We will encourage children to speak their minds, to share their needs and wants, and to express their desires. We want kids to learn to communicate what they are thinking, and to know that they have a right to a say in what to do with their life, what career to choose, and when they will get married.
These are tough times for many in my generation. But my aim and prayer is that by arming them with critical thinking, and with the same resilient faith that got me through after the explosion in my city, SAT-7 KIDS can offer the support they need.
*SAT-7 will be sharing more on resilience in the coming days.
BIO | Markus Kashouh – SAT-7 KIDS Presenter
Markus Kashouh is from Beirut, Lebanon. He is the son of Dr Hikmat Kashouh, Pastor of Resurrection Church Beirut which broadcasts a live Sunday service on SAT-7 ARABIC. Markus was born in Lebanon and lived his first four years in Birmingham, England. He is now 16 years old and attends the Christian Teaching Institute (CTI) in Sin el Fil, Lebanon. His passions are filmmaking, acting, music and languages, and serving the local church community through volunteer work. He has his own YouTube channel: “Markus Blue”, and has been collaborating with SAT-7 KIDS on several programs for children and preteens since 2018.